Articles United Kingdom
19 April 2023 3 mins read

Goal-setting with OKRs for bid functions

It’s that time of year again for many teams – goal-setting time. Generally a little painful and we end up recycling old objectives that we will ignore for another year. Surely there must be a better way…

Illustration of hitting a target

A better way…

In bidding we know it’s crucial for organisations to have a clear understanding of their objectives and the key results they aim to achieve to stay focused. One method we use that actually works, is to set and track such goals is through the use of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). These help to align company-wide objectives with the specific needs of bid functions, creating a cohesive strategy that (hopefully!) drives success.

They also make it easier to come up with team objectives that are relevant and useful.

What’s an OKR?

OKRs are a goal-setting framework that encourages teams to define clear objectives and measurable key results.

The objectives are the qualitative, aspirational goals that the team wants to achieve – this is the fluffier vision of ‘what good looks like’ in business terms. The key results are quantifiable metrics that demonstrate progress toward the objective. Sounds a lot like SMART goals, you may say – yes, but OKRs explicitly link the things you will measure to the objective rather than it being just the (a bit vague) Relevant bit within SMART.

OKRs explicitly designed to align the goals of individuals, teams, and the organisation as a whole, facilitating transparency and collaboration. By setting OKRs, bid teams can stay focused on high-level priorities and work together to achieve their goals.

The importance of OKRs in the bidding world

Bid teams operate in a fast-paced environment, where numerous opportunities and priorities have to be juggled simultaneously. Aligning the bid function’s objectives with the company’s overall sales goals ensures that efforts are focused on the right activities and increasing the likelihood of success. How often does the tactical need to get a bid out the door stop us from working on the strategic improvement work?

OKRs also help bid teams identify potential areas of improvement and track their progress over time in a more focused way than random goals. This data-driven approach allows functions to adapt their strategies as needed and continuously learn from their experiences.

OKR examples

Company objective: Increase margins across the company

Bid function objective: Increase the win rate of higher value bids (so you get more bang for your buck)

Key Results:

    • Increase the win rate of bids with a contract value over $1 million by 15% within the next 6 months [see how this is quantified and focused, and has a timeline?].
    • Develop and implement a standardised bid qualification process to prioritise bids with the highest potential win probability, value and strategic alignment.
    • Conduct a quarterly review of the win-loss analysis, identifying trends and areas for improvement to refine bid strategies.


Company objective: reduce costs

Bid function objective: Improve the efficiency of the bid management process

Key Results:

    • Reduce the average effort taken to submit a bid by 20% within the next 6 months.
    • Unify onto one centralised bid management software suite to streamline document sharing, collaboration, and communication within the team and reduce the current software costs.
    • Train all bid team members in best practices, ensuring a 90% completion rate of the training within the next quarter.


Company objective: grow a service line

Bid function objective: Strengthen relationships with key clients

Key Results:

    • Increase the number of client touchpoints (meetings, calls, or emails) by 25% within the next 6 months.
    • Develop and execute a tailored account management plan for the top 10 clients to deepen relationships and identify new opportunities focused on the target service line.
    • Achieve a 95% client satisfaction rate, as measured through feedback surveys within the next 6 months.

Try OKRs.