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As businesses revisit their sales goals, look ahead, and define the shape of this new business reality, leaders are looking to technology to help their virtual teams deliver tangible results. Leaders who adopt time-saving capture and proposal management-specific tools will find their process more productive, easier to monitor and save time. Here’s why.
Email vs Centralized Document Sharing
Effective team communication is critical to efficient proposal management; it aligns strategy, drives tasks, and synchronizes deadlines. With the growth of the distributed workforce, and with remote work on the rise, teams have turned to technology to empower team communication and maintain their business rhythm. Unfortunately, they are quickly discovering that one-way communication exchange tools do not deliver the productive team dialogue necessary for winning proposal management.
A productive team collaboration is distinct from one-way communication exchanges, such as with email and document management, in that it promotes a conversation with a center, rather than from all sides. Consider reviews, for example; email out four review copies, and you’ll probably receive three copies back. One reviewer will have comments on a previous version they dug out of email or document management. The other two reviewers will have conflicting points of view you need to now arbitrate. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking and your team is waiting to work.
So, how does a productive online team review save you time?
Review the Right Document Version. You save time and confusion because only the current document version is available for review.
Quickly Come to Consensus. You save time by skipping the arbitration step - reviewers discuss their different points of view and come to consensus on comments during the review.
Skip the Merge Step. You save time by skipping the document merge step – comments live with the document version, not the document text, so your team dives right back into writing.
Manual vs Auto Coordination
Your proposal process was designed to help you win by avoiding the missteps that can easily derail the written portion of the sales process. Pre-defining your process’s sequence of events up-front helps your team successfully navigate their tasks and deadlines. Unfortunately, managing those process events can often take more time than developing the actual proposal.
Automated process workflow doesn’t mean the proposal writes itself. Automating portions of your process, however, will save you time. Take set-up time, for example: the bid decision has been made and it’s time to organize the team. If you’re using email, you attach the RFP and proposal assets and hit send, hoping everyone reads it and shows up for the kick-off call. Or you could set-up an online environment, which usually takes a call to IT, and some manual effort. Either way, the clock is ticking and you’re never really sure if your team is on board.
So, how does automating process workflow save you time?
Click to Kick-Off. You save time by launching any number of pre-configured online work environments that automatically set-up things like permissions and folder structure, and alert your team with the click of a button.
Tasks Not Email. You save time by automatically centralizing and assigning individuals to specific tasks and deadlines for easier, anytime, anywhere access, and automatically remind them of looming deadlines.
Stop Chasing Status. You save time by automatically having greater visibility into who is working and when they are done so you can react faster to deadline and resource fluctuations.
BONUS: When you automate your process with proposal-specific tools, you notify your team about deadline changes (think amendments) with an update to the central calendar that pushes updates to everyone’s Microsoft Outlook Calendar.
Generic vs Proposal-Specific
Crafting a winning proposal is an expensive and time-consuming process. There are experts to schedule and tasks to assign. There is content to write and tasks to monitor. There are reviews to coordinate, version control to worry about, and an almost relentless commitment to compliance, strategy, and deadlines required. Some of these proposal challenges are addressed with non-proposal-specific document management platforms and form-driven content library tools.
When it comes to winning proposal management, however, to shepherding your response to complex requirements through the writing, reviewing, and revising process, you know there is more to proposal management than just document management and content libraries.
Finding the right proposal management tool means finding the one that best facilitates your teams' needs. It should focus the people on the work, not on the process, make the process easier to manage, and secure work with anytime, anywhere access.
Providing your team with the right proposal management tool will deliver tangible results today and position your business for greater growth tomorrow.