Director Bids & Proposals

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Director Bids & Proposals 2

Position description

ICF is a growing, USD 1.5 billion strategic advisory and digital services provider (NASDAQ: ICFI). Founded in 1969, ICF is a purpose-driven company with a strong culture and underlying values that prize collaboration, open communication, diversity and inclusion, opportunity for growth, equality, and mutual respect. Guided by our deeply held culture and values, plus corporate and global citizenship, we share a passion for building a more prosperous and resilient world for all. Working at ICF means applying a passion for meaningful work with intellectual rigor to solve the leading issues of our day; we are in the business of Making Big Things Possible.

Guided by our deeply held values and enduring commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusive, and Belonging (DEIB), plus corporate and global citizenship, we share a passion for building a more prosperous and resilient world for all. 

Help accelerate our positive impact by joining our ICF’s Europe & Asia (E&A) Business Development (BD) Team as a Director of Bids and Proposals.

We are looking for a highly collaborative leader to steer our bid & proposal (B&P) efforts and manage our B&P team based in Brussels, Belgium, specifically aligning with our ICF NEXT public communications business. ICF Next is a leading integrated communication agency in Europe, specializing in large-scale communication activities across the European Union.

Focusing on bids to the European Commission (EC) and other European institutions, our B&P team plays a key role in the overall life cycle of business development (from opportunity identification and qualification, through pursuit and capture, through B&P, to the award decision). The team is responsible for managing many of the highest-priority efforts across our E&A BD portfolio, ensuring that opportunities are effectively prioritized and resourced appropriately as well as that lessons are learned and implemented in future bidding activities as part of a continuous improvement plan.

Whilst this position reports to E&A’s Vice President of Business Development, you will oversee and lead a team responsible for business development activities in EU public communications. Together, you’ll craft persuasive, top-tier, and compliant proposals aimed at securing successful bids across a wide spectrum of tenders within the EU strategic communications and marketing outreach domain. As a people manager, you will also help grow the careers of your B&P staff, sharing best practices and lessons learned with ICF’s global Community of Practice of B&P professionals.

You will also play a key role in the overall life cycle of E&A BD (from marketing and brand awareness, to lead identification and qualification, through pursuit and capture, through B&P, to the award decision).

This role will be based in Brussels, Belgium, but you may have to travel from time to time between our offices, including locations in the UK and USA.

What you’ll be doing:

  • Organise and chair pipeline review meetings with Division Leads, growth leaders, and other senior staff members to ensure early opportunity identification of must-win/must-have EC opportunities;
  • Collaborate with BD leaders, bid managers, group leadership, and other staff to ensure appropriate resources are available & allocated to priority opportunities;
  • Oversee the successful development of compliant, compelling, highly competitive & ultimately winning proposals through effective collaboration & leadership across bid project teams;
  • Review critical proposals;
  • When required, lead and manage strategic bids and proposals;
  • Drive the development, maintenance, and implementation of standard bid management processes, templates, artifacts, and tools, coordinating and sharing best practices with other B&P teams across ICF, as well as analysing and drawing lessons learned from wins and losses;
  • Manage, train & mentor a team of bid managers and bid coordinators, as well as full-time and on-call writers, editors, and graphic artists;
  • Ensure standard processes are executed across all bids.

Basic requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree;
  • Minimum 15+ years of proven successful experience managing proposal teams and leading them efficiently in a dynamic, multi-task, fast-paced (yet structured) environment, ideally from a strategic communications and marketing domain;
  • Significant experience with all aspects of EC bid preparation, development, and production;
  • Thorough understanding of how EC bids are evaluated, with a proven track record of leading the development of successful, winning proposals for EU institutions (e.g., significant, sustained contract win rates of 90%+ success on re-competes; 40+% on new bids or takeaways);
  • Strong proficiency in the Microsoft Office Suite (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint);
  • Proficiency in the use of SharePoint and Microsoft Teams, collaboration tools such as Mural, internal BD knowledge management systems/databases, and pipeline and customer relationship management (CRM) systems;
  • Excellent verbal, interpersonal, and written communication skills: you must be fluent in written and spoken English; fluency in French would be a bonus;
  • Experience developing and delivering training on proposal processes and procedures.

Preferred skills:  

  • Ability to manage geographically disparate teams, including both full-time and on-call staff;
  • Ability to manage and work with all levels of internal staff, including not only direct reports but also technical subject matter/capability experts and staff from “corporate” (e.g., HR, Talent Acquisition, Operations, Contracts, Legal, Pricing, Marketing, Growth, etc.);
  • Ability to lead successful bids that integrate policy/programme acumen with technology, stratcomm, etc.;
  • Excellent negotiation skills, highly developed persuasiveness skills, and a positive, collaborative attitude, even when under pressure: ability to appropriately challenge the status quo and “hold one’s own” in internal BD discussions to ensure the best solution is developed in response to client requirements and the agreed bid strategy;
  • Strong organisational skills, initiative, and commitment to high-quality work: commitment to process & efficiency (but adaptable to change via flexible, agile application of an “80/20” rule to adjust actions in response to changing priorities, etc.);
  • Strong analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making capabilities: ability to apply logic and reasoning to solve complex problems, identify potential issues, make sound recommendations for resolution, and drive implementation of final decisions (with an awareness of the impact of those decisions on other stakeholders);
  • Sound business ethics, including the protection of personal, proprietary, and confidential information.

Working at ICF:

ICF is a global advisory and technology services provider, but we’re not your typical consultants. We combine unmatched expertise with cutting-edge technology to help clients solve their most complex challenges, navigate change, and shape the future.

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