Following on from the Rough Guide to the Bid and Proposal Profession, I have spent some time considering the problem of the lack of a generic noun for our profession.
Looking at other professions, there appears to be a number of ways the noun is built up. The most common is to revise the ending of either the topic or the verb:
The endings include -eer, -er, -yer, -or, -ian, -ant, -ist and -ive. There are also a few professions where the noun and verb are the same, such as, nurse, doctor and model. Finally, some people refer to being ‘in’ a profession, where it is more generic such as sales or business, which avoids using a gender-specific ending.
I started by creating a generic definition of what we do that works for contract, funding request, awards and investment opportunities.
“Prepare propositions that meet a defined set of requirements for a specific opportunity to convince the recipient to accept, adopt or implement the offer.”
With my head metaphorically stuck in dictionary research, I stumbled over two little-used verbs:
Propound, “to put forward or offer for consideration, acceptance, or adoption; set forth; propose.”
Propone, “to suggest for consideration; propose.”
I prefer the former, as it is more positive about the outcome of the offer. Both verbs do not have multiple meanings and hence avoid confusion. These translate easily, as many languages use similar words; this will help with global acceptance.
So, I propound that the bid and proposal profession be known as Propoundment. Coincidentally and fortuitously, it is similar to procurement, which for contracts is the other side of the same coin.
Evolution is a better way to achieve acceptance of a new noun, rather than revolution. Therefore, I do not suggest a radical renaming of job roles. Again using procurement as an example, there are a variety of terms used, such as Buyer and Purchasing Manager. However, in some corporation the most senior roles are referred to as Head of Procurement.
Accordingly, my suggestion is that we use Bidmaster as the generic term for someone in the Propoundment Profession and retain some existing roles, such as Bid Manager and Bid Writer. However, we could introduce the terms Head of Propoundment and Propoundment Consultant.
The challenge is marketing a little-known word, but as it’s a burgeoning profession and one that is difficult to promote, it is appropriate. Prepoundment Googles well, so it should be easy to assimilate.
Perhaps a good start would be for APMP to revise the meaning of the initials to include Propoundment as one of its Ps. Maybe the Association for Propoundment Management and Production.