The lack of clearly defined leadership of a bid is one of the major reasons bids are lost. Lack of leadership leads to lack of direction, and lack of support for people working on bids (some of whom are doing it in addition to their day jobs).
Best-in-class bidding organisations attribute much of their success to clearly defined bid leadership, so why do others fail to follow their example? Often because of confusion between what the sales lead should do, and what the bid manager should do.
In my opinion, the sales lead should be focused on customer led activity before and during the bid (where possible), and contribute significantly to the bid strategy. In my experience, sales people often make poor bid leaders, and bad bid managers.
If we don’t expect sales people to implement business they’ve won, why expect them to manage the bid? Clear bid leadership and bid management produces better outcomes.
The other factor that is linked to bid leadership is support. Working on bids can be very stressful, with long hours and aggressive deadlines, and often relies on the goodwill of people with day jobs.
It can also be very unrewarding, in that most organisations lose more bids than they win, resulting in all that discretionary effort producing nothing. Make sure that everyone who works on bids is supported, and recognised for their efforts.