Here at Claritas, we like to shine our spotlight on the amazing staff we have, exploring their roles, their previous experience and who they are as a person – including their likes and dislikes on everything from food to travel!
Our latest spotlight is on one of the newest members of the Claritas team, Senior Bid Manager, Kieth Thorp.
Kieth, talks to us here about his role at Claritas, what he loves about his job and what he does when he’s not ‘bidding’.
Tell us about your role at Claritas
I joined Claritas only 8 weeks ago to support with the management of sale tenders, bids and proposal management required to secure new business and help support opportunities for growth with our existing clients.
What prior experience do you have?
I have worked directly in Bid and Proposal Management for over 9 years with TSYS. During that time, our bid team was recognised as one of the strongest bid/proposal teams in Europe within the payments technology sector which was a real highlight.
Before my bid management days, I worked for many years in training (client facing and internal) at TSYS and also within the banking sector for Barclays (training manager, corporate business manager and local business manager roles), and RBS – now NatWest – in various customer support roles.
What would a normal day consist of?
No two days are the same and a bid consumes your life from the moment it comes in to the moment you submit your tender. To keep a bid on track, you need a good team around you, so my first action is to assemble the right team for each opportunity. This takes a lot of planning, working with Claritas experts around the business, handling challenges and encouraging discussion all with the best interest of the customers’ needs at the heart of it. Some days can be back-to-back meetings/calls trying to define solutions, implementation plans, compliance statements or presenting to the client etc… and some days I have to focus on the content and design of the proposal collateral (documents, slide decks, excel questionnaires).
What is the thing you love most about your job?
It may sound strange but when you have a bid, there is a real intensity and pressure to make sure we complete everything on time and to a high professional standard and I really enjoy that – I thrive on the challenge that brings! Each bid is unique and needs different solutions and skills to complete it, so with the job I get to meet lots of brilliant and exciting people from who I learn a lot.
Do you have any advice to give to others looking at a similar career?
Good communication and organisation are critical – keep your team informed of progress, give praise where needed and don’t be afraid to challenge the team to encourage the best results.
Emotional intelligence and empathy are really important – you need the support of the business experts who are supporting you on top of their day jobs, so you have to understand the pressures they are under when you are asking them to go above and beyond for you.
Also, you need to have a certain character and thick skin to do this job, you’re faced with a lot of challenges which can come from anywhere (your bid team, management, the client, suppliers etc…) so be ready to listen to their concerns and ideas, and don’t take things personally – people get caught up in the moment and the pressure of the ever-looming deadline.
What do you enjoy doing when not at work?
I’m a single parent so my time with my daughter is the most precious thing in the world to me and I enjoy just spending time with her – can be heading out for a meal, hitting the beach, the demand for a relentless taxi service to various clubs, school runs or simply just being at home reading a book together. When child free, I really enjoy playing golf and doing DIY and will turn my hand to anything – even when my family (all builders) say not to! My house is still standing (just) so I must be doing something right, haha.
Thanks for talking to us, Kieth. It’s been great getting to know more about your role here at Claritas and we now know where to come if we need some DIY doing.