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Guiding a proposal from bid to win can often feel like playing a game of poker. How do you put the odds in your team’s favor? How you play your hand is how today’s proposals are won or lost.
Stack the Deck
In the game of poker, stacking the deck, or using an overhand shuffle to locate and then place your card in the deck, is against the rules. In the proposal game, however, stacking the deck is your goal. For example, your opportunity assets, such as customer information and intelligence, have been located by your sales team. But have they been placed where your proposal team can easily access them?
Your opportunity assets are critical to writing a winning proposal; they justify your bid decision, define your win strategy, and support your writing tactics. Using technology to quickly deliver these details to your writers stacks the deck in your team's favor. The sales team skips the manual data entry and automatically shares the details the team needs to write to your win strategy.
Ace in the Hole
The RFP has dropped, and winning proposal teams have two time-saving aces in the hole; one will get you quickly to your first draft, while the other will help you hone and strengthen your proposal for the win. Your content library, complete with reusable answers and comprehensive overviews is your first ace in the hold. Combined with a dynamic search for filtering, sorting, and finding the right content, it's an obvious time-saver. What happens when the content library is lacking? That's your second ace in the hole.
Where the content library falls short, online team collaboration wins the day. By promoting a conversation from the center, rather than from all sides, like email, online team collaboration invites the team to work together, discuss, and come to consensus faster, leaving more time on the clock for tailoring the proposal to your specific prospect.
Joker is Wild
Any poker player will tell you that 50% of the game is mental. Proposals are no different. Take amendments, for example. A last minute date change or requirement clarification can easily throw the team off course, requiring massive calendar coordination and perhaps additional resources. This is where your joker, your wildcard, comes into play. When you have the power to update your team as things change, you remain agile yet responsive to the schedule.
While other teams are tracking their proposal status manually, you have a real-time task status; you know who is working, when they are done, and if there is an issue. You can see how the amendment will impact the schedule and can update your team from a centralized calendar that is dynamically linked to their Outlook Calendar. While the competition is still chasing down task status, making phone calls and sending emails, you and your team are calmly proposing on.
Come Up Trumps
Establishing a standard process and gaining adoption for it is challenging, to say the least. When your team clearly understands how your process’s sequence of events will play out, they are more likely to step up, move quickly, and hit deadlines. Automating portions of your process will save you time and have you coming up trumps every time, especially when things don’t go as planned.
To start with, you have several process workflows to choose from, depending on the type of bid. With the click of a button, you launch your process workflow; automatically establishing your online work environment, inserting relevant content, setting access permissions and notifying your team the proposal is a go.
Throughout your process, your automated workflow coordinates the flow of assigned tasks, keeping your team in sync and on track. Your workflow can automatically assign individuals to specific tasks, remind your team about a looming deadline, and forward a task for review from one person to the next. And because proposals don’t often go exactly as planned (another amendment?), you can always adjust your process workflow. Now, combine workflow with reporting, and you automatically know when a task is complete, when a milestone is at-risk, how your process performed, and how to better allocate resources for the next proposal.
Imply the Odds
As businesses revisit their sales goals, look ahead, and define the shape of this new business reality, they are also implying the odds, or positioning based on how they speculate their competition will play their hands. When the chips are down, teams who adopt time-saving capture and proposal management tools will raise the ante and better play the hand they're dealt.