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Team Spotlight:

Jenna Wilson
Bid Manager

Our Team Spotlight is on the remarkable Jenna Wilson. She's our Bid Manager. The master of tender processes, the queen of organisation, and our go-to expert for creating exceptional responses to complex client inquiries. Jenna's attention to detail and commitment to excellence make her an invaluable asset to our team.

Hello Jenna!

With a diverse background spanning HR, recruitment, and sales, Jenna brings a unique perspective to her role as Bid Manager at Wattle.

She joined the company in April 2022 and quickly transitioned into managing tender process bids for membership digital transformation projects. Jenna's keen attention to detail, organisational skills, and ability to understand client needs make her instrumental in securing new opportunities and expanding Wattle's membership organisation client base. Her dedication to building long-term relationships and delivering top-quality solutions ensures that Wattle continues to exceed client expectations.

Jenna Wilson, Bid Manager at Wattle
  • Tell us about yourself and your role?

I joined Wattle in April 2022, initially as an Account Development Manager, working closely with our Delivery Teams to identify opportunities to provide additional value to our clients through our products and services. As we ramped up our marketing efforts in late 2022, and started to receive a lot of enquiries about new projects from prospective clients, I naturally transitioned to supporting our Chief Commercial Officer during large-scale tender processes. I started 2023 with a new job title - Bid Manager.

Nowadays, you'll find me mainly with my head in ITTs, RFPs, and massive requirements spreadsheets. My role is very much what it says on the tin; I am responsible for the end-to-end management of bids on Wattle's side. This mostly involves putting my attention to detail and organisation skills to the test to ensure the right people and information are in the right places to produce top-quality responses to often very technical and complex questions.

  • What's your background and experience? 

After graduating with a Business Degree from the University of Bath, I started my career in Human Resources for a packaging manufacturer of all places! I spent 18 months going from factory to factory in Bristol, Herefordshire, and Northumberland learning all about policy, employment law, and disciplinaries.

At the end of my 18-month graduate scheme, I firmly decided that HR in a manufacturing environment wasn't the career for me! While exploring alternative career paths, like many of my commercial comrades, I somewhat 'fell into' a sales role. I spent the next two years back in Bristol recruiting people for a 12-week coding boot camp, most of which was during a global pandemic. I then transitioned into a fully commercial role, selling card payment terminals to businesses over the phone. This was a seriously fast-paced environment, closing multiple sales every day without maintaining any relationship beyond the point of contract signing.

After 12 months of being in a telesales environment, I was yearning for a different challenge – one where I could build long-term relationships with prospects and clients. My role at Wattle is a vastly different commercial environment to what I was used to! It certainly ticks the 'challenge' box and is highly rewarding.

  • What do you love most about your role at Wattle?

I know it's cliché, but there is so much I love about not just my role but also working at Wattle in general. The team is stellar!

What I love most is the satisfaction I feel when I see our client's projects come to life. During the tender process, we do our best to paint a picture of what our Membership Experience Platform, MemEx, could look like and the value they are likely to leverage from it, but it's impossible to truly visualise before it's been built. Because we always use real-life client examples during demonstrations, I get the satisfaction of seeing a platform that I was involved in selling live and working and can share examples of its positive impact on their organisation and member base.

  • How has your personal life intersected with your professional life?

Before joining Wattle, I had no idea just how many membership associations there are across the globe. No matter your profession, there is an association available to support you in your career and connect you with like-minded individuals. This year, I decided to join the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP). Now, I have access to many membership services and benefits that I talk about every day as part of my role at Wattle. I regularly attend webinars to expand my knowledge about Bid Management best practice and am building up some CPD points!

  • What do you see as the top challenges in the membership sector? 

In my role, I speak to membership organisations of all shapes and sizes across a broad range of sectors, and the key challenge reported repeatedly is a need for more integration between systems. This then acts as a catalyst for creating more challenges. For example, many organisations resort to capturing data and reporting on data in Excel spreadsheets, which creates data silos. The ability to centralise all operational data in a single platform to create a 'single source of truth' is now a key priority for membership organisations.

  • In your role, how can you help meet these challenges? 

Throughout the tender process, I make a concerted effort to understand the prospective client membership organisation and the key challenges they are facing. This helps me to understand their drivers for exploring new digital solutions, or a new digital partner, and what some of their 'must haves' will be. I won't profess to help address their challenges personally, but the information and guidance that I provide during the tender process helps them select the solution and partner who are most suited to resolving their key challenges.

  • What's on the horizon from a MemEx perspective that will help our membership clients up their game?

Every new client we bring on board needs new features or functionality that we haven't developed before, and we have some exciting examples on the horizon!

Later this year, we will launch a new feature within the MemEx Member Portal that enables members to connect, network, and message each other directly within the platform. This is a game-changing feature that goes far beyond the 'transactional' functionality that traditional portal solutions offer. It will facilitate meaningful member-to-member interactions and help drive deeper member engagement.

Whenever we develop new functionality, it becomes available in our baseline product and can be rolled out to existing and new clients.

  • And finally, when you're not working at Wattle, what do you get up to in your spare time?

My fiancé and I bought our first home back in September, so I don't have much of what you'd call 'spare time' these days. When I'm not working at Wattle, I usually work on the house. I am determined to transform our drab grey garden into a luscious green haven in time for this summer! 😊


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