Proposal management is the best practice process of leading a team through the written portion of the sales cycle. Unfortunately, the people who comprise this team already have full-time jobs. They are experts and writers, innovators and problem-solvers, drawn from across the organization, working together for a period of time. For the organization hoping to produce a compliant, quality proposal to close the sale, this presents a business challenge; how does everyone work together toward the common goal despite a geographically diverse team’s shifting priorities?
Whatever your proposal management process, an productive team requires effective team collaboration to be successful; it aligns capture strategy with writing execution to reduce revisions, it drives review consensus to advance quality, it empowers innovation and problem-solving, and it ensures everyone, no matter where or when they work, is on the same page.
In the second part of this four-part Blog series we continue to explore proposal management with a focus on cultivating collaboration to reduce time and increase proposal quality.
What is Effective Proposal Team Collaboration?
An effective proposal team collaboration is distinct from one-way communication exchanges, such as with email, in that it promotes a conversation with a center, rather than from all sides. Proposal team collaboration typically begins where the business development and proposal management team meet in the sales cycle; qualifying an opportunity. We described this Intersection in the first Blog of this series.
Where the rubber hits the road, however, is when the team starts writing. We like to think of this step as the Interplay: where each contributor has an effect on the other, greater than the sum of their parts. Together, their understanding of the customer, the opportunity, and the solution come to light in the written phase of the sales cycle, the proposal.
How to Achieve Collaborative Interplay
Here we’ll break down the effective proposal team collaborations necessary throughout the proposal writing process to avoid the miscommunication that disrupts the schedule and the conflicting points of view that derail reviews. There are three key collaborations that drive productive Interplay. The key is to give each collaboration the tools they need to be successful.
Proposal Manager and Proposal Team
A productive team Interplay begins with the proposal manager. The team may rely on business development for strategy, but they look to the proposal manager for leadership and advice on how to write the proposal.
No one wants to search email for the current version of the proposal outline, strategy details, and their assignments and tasks. Centralized access eliminates the search, and delays, that come with email. Information is current and people are more likely to collaborate when they understand how each task depends on another. How delays impact milestones, despite shifting priorities.
No one wants to start from a blank page. Providing browse and search access to submitted proposals, as well as appropriate boilerplate and templates, helps teams pull together a first draft more quickly, and focus on what they do best; collaborate, innovate, and write.
Proposal writing is difficult. Helpful tools and thoughtful communication will empower your team and ultimately lead to more quality proposals.
Contributors (Writers and Subject Matter Experts)
Experience shows that the more efficient the proposal process, the more time saved to focus on writing. The same is true for peer-to-peer Interplay; the more effective the team’s collaboration the more time saved to focus on the quality that makes your proposal stand-out.
Reusable content may help the team get to a first draft faster. When it’s not tailored to the specific customer, however, you send a dangerous message; your project is not important enough for us to write a proposal that is specific to your needs. So, let’s pick up where the reusable content left off; you have some of the answers to the questions and now you need to tap into the team to fill the gaps, correct the inaccuracies, meet compliance, tailor, and prepare for review.
By centralizing proposal development, experts discuss details together online and capture the results for reuse. Best of all, using these tools you can reach everyone in your organization exactly when you need them, leveraging their expertise more efficiently for the task at hand.
By harnessing the team’s Interplay collaboration, you’ll make proposal development faster and easier and set the groundwork for faster, more productive reviews.
Read on for the third Blog of this four-part series focused on cultivating proposal review collaboration to reduce time and increase proposal quality: Team Inspection.
Miss the first Blog, Proposal Management Intersection: Business Development & Proposal Team?
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