If you're in the business of submitting proposals, you know the importance of finding the best proposal management software that enables you to effectively manage the process. Without it, it will easily become unwieldy and get off track, leading your team to scramble to submit the proposal on the deadline. Often, companies use a variety of technology to communicate about proposals, manage tasks and collaborate on writing, reviewing, and revising. This disparate (and not always secure) communication between email, excel, unsanctioned free file sharing tools and email (again) is time consuming and frustrating for your team. Don't let your team or your proposal suffer. We've outlined why solutions built for content management fall short when it comes to coordinating your team, their tasks and deadlines, through the writing, reviewing and revising process.
The Promise Made by Generic Content Management Software
Generic content management software seems to fit certain needs for the proposal process — like building a proposal content library of reusable content — but since that software was built with many industries and needs in mind, the lack of specificity in the capabilities becomes a problem when companies apply it to their proposal process. They still find themselves shifting between multiple technologies to get the job done and worrying pieces will fall through the cracks.
The lack of function-specific capabilities hinders teams from the productivity they need and the streamlined communication they crave. Consider color team reviews — it's no longer sustainable to bring an entire team together for color team reviews when people live and work across the country. People can call in, but if they haven't been working on a proposal throughout their busy week recently, they might not be up to date. They'll spend their time searching through their email for the most recent version of the proposal only to get on the call and realize they were reviewing and commenting on an old version.
Where Generic Software Falls Short
While generic content management software has the ability to maintain version control, proposal management software takes streamlining your workflow to the next level and enables greater collaboration amongst team members.
The best proposal management software is built specifically with the proposal process in mind, by experts who know what is needed in order to build a winning proposal with ease. These capabilities are just some of the reasons proposal management software works best for busy companies submitting regular proposals:
A big headache that comes with generic content management software is the content taxonomy and repository search tools. All proposal writers know there is nothing worse than starting from a blank page, especially when you've recently worked on a proposal that fits a similar need. You should be able to simply search for that document and pull it up with ease, but often documents get lost or all look the same within other content management platforms. With Privia, each document is searchable down to the metadata tag, so nothing will get lost and you can pull up each document securely and efficiently.You can search by keyword or concept, filter by title or name, and create a taxonomy that works for your needs. Then copy and paste from the preview pane into your new document with ease.
Other content management software is frustrating because the commenting is chaos and everyone can change anything at any given moment. You might access your document only to find it completely different,although you don't know what's been done to it - or by who - until you look at historical versions.
The solution? Use curated commenting. There are backend controls that limit who gets to edit, what is allowed to go into the document and what isn't. This means that the owner of the document can access suggested changes, see who made them and decide whether or not to put that change into the document. This is crucial in proposal writing — while one writer might think something should be cut and decide to edit it out, there might've been a reason that information was included — such as compliance — and now that the sentence is gone, the entire proposal is noncompliant. You can't risk this level of uncertainty in your documents or waste time combing through every word making sure what was there yesterday is there today. There simply isn't the time for that.
This level of risk isn't always accounted for in other content management software because the need to be precise isn't the same across all industries.
While these controls are critical, Privia also enables real-time, secure collaboration. This is important in the digital age when it is no longer necessary or affordable to bring a whole team together for color review team meetings, but it is also very inefficient to edit and collaborate independently or piece by piece. With Privia, comments stay with the document so you can always go back to reference them. Privia's workspace brings your teams together to collaborate in real time, so your team access the current version, converse on what is working in the proposal, what needs to be changed and how it will get done.
As described by one customer:
"The commenting feature with its links to the document is the most elegant functionality of this type I have ever used or even seen. My users think it's a miracle."
While most content management systems can be leveraged to support a proposal process, it is specific to the content knowledge base question and answer paradigm. This makes it inflexible - which doesn't lend itself well to an established proposal team process.
With Privia, workflow automation is configured to support your specific proposal process. You establish your process milestones and assign the tasks, while Privia takes care of the regular notifications and alerts that keep your team in sync. You can even adjust the workflow mid-proposal when an amendment changes the schedule.
As described by one customer:
"Privia's 'behind the scenes' process designer capabilities allow administrators to build workflows complete with decision points, rollback points, and the ability to assign users to tasks."
With Privia, your reporting capabilities expand significantly. While most other content management systems have some form of reporting function, they require special coding to pull data points into a spreadsheet format. In addition, there is no intrinsic analysis or dashboard view for management.
In Privia, you can access your reporting dashboard during the proposal process to check on your workflow. You get full visibility into what's coming up and what's overdue. A proposal manager can use this one-stop-shop to keep everything up to date and moving along, redistributing tasks when necessary. A proposal manager can see who is writing and reviewing and when they're done to move the proposal along. They can also use the reporting tools in Privia retroactively, looking back to see where time was spent. This insight changes the way you run your proposals, allowing you the data and the analysis necessary to be more strategic with resources and planning in the future. Contributors can better balance their time between their full-time jobs and their proposal responsibilities. It has the control and flexibility to secure and ensure confidential or sensitive information without sacrificing access.
An executive can check in to see how the proposal is going to get an accurate, high-level pulse check on the project that includes budgets and deadline. Sales can see other opportunities are in the pipeline and see when they need to step in to improve the customer relationship. Ultimately, the reporting tool offers you the intelligence to help you manage your day and the proposals you have in the pipe more effectively.
The bottom line — as described by one customer:
"There are other tools that can do parts and pieces of what Privia does, but you will be hard pressed to find a solution that will cover both the depth and breadth Privia covers."
Your team needs the best proposal management software. Generic content management software falls short of filling the voids in technology that will truly streamline your process and make your proposals stronger. You'll be able to produce winning proposals at a greater clip and organize your projects more efficiently.