Collaborative ROI: Tips for Business Development and Sales

You’ve identified the client challenges and the goals, the win themes and the discriminators, the competition and the experience. You’ve scoped a winning solution and assembled the right team. From a business development perspective, your capture strategy is a slam dunk.

The problem is customers don’t read capture strategies. Customers read proposals. Your proposal team may take over, but if you’re hoping to “hand off” and walk away and expect a quality proposal, you’re not positioning your organization for the win.

Here are four easy areas where you can help your proposal team, including your partners, write a winning proposal aligned with your capture strategy.

Save Time

You’ve been chasing this opportunity for a while now. You know it’s coming and you have been busy making friends with decision makers and gathering behind-the-scenes intelligence. Now that the RFP is out, don’t let manual, duplicate data entry slow down your pursuit.

Pipeline: Instead of downloading and manually entering RFP materials and information, import them. Interfaces with BETA.SAM.GOV (formerly FedBizOpps/, and Deltek GovWin IQ let you automatically import and centralize RFP materials and information with the click of a button. Plus, interfaces with leading sales tools like Salesforce and SugarCRM facilitate the automatic sync of one-directional and bi-directional data between your sales, business development, capture and proposal teams.

Reports: Now that everything is centralized, instead of pulling together ad hoc monthly sales reports, use standard reports, or quickly configure customized reports, that display, filter, and summarize opportunity, as well as proposal, information. Try pipeline, opportunity status, and win/loss – and export them to Excel for a great graphic. Online visual dashboards are also helpful for an at-a-glance look at the status of the overall pipeline or activities associated with a specific opportunity, such as who is responsible, progress, and days overdue.

You save time. Pursuit funding executives have the visibility they crave. The proposal manager is in the loop and ready to jump-start the next leg of your pursuit.

Save Effort

Making a good bid decision is the quickest way to raise your company’s win rate. Whether this decision is the result of an open-ended question and answer session or a structured business development scorecard, you invest a lot of time and energy in sharing those details during the bid discussion. That information is pure gold for the proposal team tasked with bringing your strategy to the written page and closing the sales cycle with a win. Don’t let email slow you down.

Online Workspaces: With the opportunity centralized online, those pursuit-driving details you shared at the bid meeting are automatically captured and shared with your proposal team, whether they are down the hall or across the country on a client site. Together you can now discuss the details, quickly answer questions, correct misunderstandings, and clarify assumptions once, for the entire team, and get back to the business of selling.

Workflow and Notifications: Now that you are all working online, you and your proposal manager can use the automation features of Workflow and Notifications to keep your process, and your team, on track. Set up your process and see where you are in it at any time. Then use the Workflow to notify your team of their required activities and tasks, and see how they are doing. All with a few easy clicks.

Meanwhile, you can use those reports to automatically monitor who is working, when they are done, or if they have a question that might cause a writing bottleneck, or worse, a schedule delay.

You save effort. Executives see the proposal tasks they’ve funded are progressing on schedule. The proposal manager is automatically keeping the team in synch while working on those past performances and references.

Save Energy

Proposals are persuasive documents; structured logical written arguments that lay out everything in favor of your solution to convince the customer to take a chance on your organization. Now that you’ve bridged the sales-to-proposal team gap, your proposal team has all the juicy details they need to write to your capture strategy. Don’t let conflicting review comments confuse the writers and delay submission.

Online Editing and Curated Commenting: Your review team is your gate keeper; they provide feedback on where the team may have blinded themselves to certain compliant issues and solution or strategy weaknesses. Instead of emailing out multiple copies, and receiving multiple copies back, complete with conflicting opinions on how to improve and advance the proposal, invite your review team to review, edit and comment online. Together they can discuss their difference of opinion in a controlled format (never losing sight of document configuration management and version control) and come to consensus on revisions. Reviewers can even see previous review copies online, including the comments, to keep them on message.

Meanwhile, automated Workflows communicate a set time limit on when feedback is due to guide the review team through their responsibilities.

You save energy. Executives value faster, more productive review cycles. Proposal managers skip the manual, document merge step. Writers jump right back into clear, quality-driving revisions.

Save Money

If you’re working in government contracting business development or sales, you are no doubt on-the-go, on the road, visiting a client, at a conference. So finding time to collaborate on a proposal can be tough, especially with everything else on your plate. How do you guide that next proposal to close the sales cycle and win? As we all know, time is money.

Using collaborative, online technology you can avoid the travel and expense, not to mention the distraction and wasted effort, that comes with many in-person meetings. With the right tools you can maximize the work you do online, saving those precious travel dollars for customer interaction. By avoiding one business trip, most companies can pay for a user’s collaborative capability for a full year or more.

Summary: Save Time, Effort, Energy and Money to Win and Grow!

Companies who deliver collaborative technology to their employees will harness the collaborative energy and “mind share” of their proposal team and today’s digital natives with significant Return on Investment (ROI).

Organizations that do not encourage this modern approach will inevitably fall behind.

Download 5 Ways to Bridge the Sales-Proposal Gap