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It’s no secret the majority of businesses, and people, avoid change. You can’t blame them, however, since most of their experiences with change management were likely difficult, poorly thought out and filled with unexpected results. So, the idea of changing proposal management software and having to learn a new platform can seem incredibly daunting. But it doesn’t have to.
The truth is, the process can be smooth and the results can be exciting. There are ways to boost adoption and ensure your team feels empowered by the new tools at their disposal — instead of overwhelmed. Rather than having reluctant converts, you can create power-users that easily adapt and master the new proposal management software. How? It’s all about setting your team up for success.
Here are some effective tips for how you can increase organizational adoption and master proposal management software change management.
Begin with the onboarding process. It's essential the proposal management software team understands the environment its users will be working in and help them develop their workflow in context. Further, keep in mind online storage and proposal management are not the same thing. Proposal management implementation requires the development of workflow with a team that understands proposal workflow.
Train the trainer. From the start you should be building experts within the team. This creates an environment in which learning the software and its benefits comes from the staff rather than the software provider. This builds champions faster, while increasing engagement and building independence from external staff.
Not everyone needs to be trained the same. Every company has different roles and those roles should undergo different levels of training. Appropriate training is efficient and more readily available. A generic user who is commenting on proposals doesn't need to know how the administrative functions work. Also, keep in mind that people learn differently and having a few different methods of offering training will play into individual learning strengths. So don't be afraid to utilize in-person training, virtual training and videos to provide an optimal learning platform for everyone.
Recurring training should be available. New people will be coming in (eg. new employees or subcontractors) so you should have a method to provide recurring training. Address learning for new personnel that has already occured without derailing your process. Stay up to speed and avoid the bottleneck.
Every business has its own unique challenges, history, experiences and expectations. So, it’s important you know: where your company is in its journey, how quickly the new software needs to be implemented and how much time your team has to devote to adopting the software. Armed with this information, you’re primed to choose the best approach for rolling-out your new proposal management software. To clarify, one approach is not specifically better than the other. It all depends on which is best for your situation. This is where understanding your company’s needs and your team’s capacity is crucial. The two types of approaches are: the Big Bang approach and the Phased approach. Both approaches have different pros and cons, but choosing the best approach for your team will make all the difference in the world.
With the Big Bang approach your team is trained on every bell and whistle the proposal management software has to offer. This approach front-loads the learning process and speeds up the organization’s ability to roll out the new software company-wide. The Phased approach, on the other hand, is about learning and implementing the software in key phases and spreading the process out over a longer period of time. With this approach, you can identify the different roles users play in the proposal management process and structure training into associated phases. For example, phase one could be training the proposal management administrators on the basics. Phase two could be getting the software rolled out to the writers, while phase three gets it out to the reviewers.
There are pros and cons to each approach. Understanding how to best leverage the benefits of one approach over the other is based off understanding your company’s needs.
The Big Bang approach pro: If the culture is prepared for it — and you have an executive champion — the Big Bang approach will get you up and operating quickly.
The Big Bang approach con: If the team is too busy to absorb the software training that quickly — or if you have a dispersed staff and you can’t get them all trained at once — the big bang approach can cause stress and unnecessary issues down the line.
The Phased approach pro: It allows users to absorb the information at the rate they’re capable of taking it in.
The Phased approach con: The lengthier process means you’re delaying roll-out and functionality that could be having an impact on your efficiency.
If you don’t already have a clearly defined and mapped out proposal management process, it’s time to put one together. Companies that map their process, as opposed to letting the pieces fall into place on their own, reap greater benefits during training. With a clearly mapped process, trainers, and the software provider, can evaluate the current workflow and highlight features that will improve the overall process.
Generalities can be essential to mapping. When thinking about mapping out your process, grab a copy of your last proposal calendar schedule and look at the steps involved. Are you going to continue with these steps? Are you going to improve them? Companies who have a mapped out process in place, even a homegrown process, have greater success implementing their new software.
Prior to purchase, you should have a good idea of what your technical architecture requires. There are many factors associated: data storage, security, access and IT policies. It's important to work with your proposal management software company and provide the necessary information upfront. This can help generate a desired environment.
Make sure the vendor you choose has services available. Let’s say you don’t want to manage the IT aspect of the software, do you know if the vendor can do that for you? If you’re growing and you need help writing and managing a proposal, does the vendor have services you can dip into to help you grow and improve? Make sure to find a software vendor who’s going to give you the kind of support you need when you’re mid-proposal. This is the least ideal time to have your proposal management software leave you in the dark. Find a vendor that assists your company consistently through every stage of the process.
Find a vendor available On-Premise, in the Cloud or the Government Cloud to deliver maximum flexibility.
When it comes to change management, failing to implement the appropriate steps can quickly escalate the process into an overwhelming mess. Make sure that you're choosing a vendor that'll be available to assist your company throughout the process. Grant your company access to software that helps create quality proposals in a single platform, while facilitating collaboration and communication so your team can stay on deadline. Integrate a new proposal management software today and begin to reap the rewards.