When it comes to proposal management, many contractors start with existing or free software since it provides a low barrier of entry. Any time leveraging a no-cost solution frees up budget dollars, you’re going to face objections to proposal management software.
Remember your goal: to make submitting high-quality, stand-out proposals faster and easier, despite shifting priorities and competing deadlines. When you’re socializing proposal management software, the key is to be prepared with the benefits your decision-makers, stakeholders, and colleagues care about.
Here are the three most common objections decision-makers have when considering an investment in proposal management software.
We Don’t Have the Budget
The cost of another software platform seems like it can always be avoided. Can’t we use something we already have? Your goal is to demonstrate how proposal management software is unique, helping you submit high-quality, stand-out proposals faster and easier.
Unique Team: The majority of your proposal team has a full-time job. They are individuals, drawn from across the organization, working together for a period of time. Your goal is to demonstrate the team coordination challenge; making proposal assets easy to find and access so teams aren’t spending time searching email for their assignments, deadlines, and strategy.
Unique Process: Your proposal process was established to keep the team up-to-date with what they need to do and when it’s due. When your team is out of sync, hairline cracks begin to appear in your process. Under pressure, these cracks grow, creating gaps between what is needed and what is provided. Your goal is to demonstrate the process challenge; how shifting priorities and conflicting deadlines disrupt the writing phase of the sales process.
Unique Insights: Proposal managers are responsible for leading the team through the process. When they lack visibility into what their team is doing, bottlenecks become delays that only a last minute sprint will solve. Your goal is to demonstrate the visibility challenge; how can I step in, clarify assignments, redistribute workload, and keep bottlenecks from becoming delays without knowing what the team is working on and when they’re done?
At a certain point, the lack of a dedicated software platform becomes an opportunity cost for your business. When it comes to budget, help your decision-makers focus on what the business is already spending on proposal creation. How much time and money is already being spent on getting the team on the same page and working together in a coordinated fashion toward the common goal?
What makes proposal management software cost-effective and worth the investment are the integrated tools necessary for taking control of the process, synchronizing the team, and empowering quality for the win. The first proposal bid you win past your standard rate of production will be more than enough for the software to pay for itself.
What’s Wrong with the Way We’re Doing it Now?
Why can’t we just do it the way we’re doing it now? Resistance to change comes in many forms. Your goal is to demonstrate how that change will make everyone’s lives easier while producing more winning proposals faster.
Inefficiency: When your team is spending time searching for the information they need to do their job, they have less time to execute on their assignments. When your team is out of sync, they become frustrated and turn to other tasks, threatening your deadlines. When the proposal manager can’t see these bottlenecks, they can’t step-in and redistribute the workload before they become delays. Proposal management software makes your team, and process, more efficient by focusing your team on execution, not process.
Communication: Productive team communication is distinct from one-way communication, such as email, in that it promotes a conversation from the center, rather than from all sides. To write to strategy, the team needs the details that come from the intersection of the sales and proposal team. To validate the solution, the team needs a centralized, easy-to-follow discussion. To work together, the team needs clear and timely task hand-offs and notifications. To advance quality, the team needs fast, productive reviews. Proposal management software makes communicating among the team more efficient, so they have what they need when they need it.
Security: When time is limited and a team bypasses their organization’s strict security protocols, they put the business at risk. Security teams know there is no way to put the content genie back in the bottle, but using email or free file-sharing tools may be a team’s only option for collaboration. Proposal management software secures sensitive, confidential, and competitive information and makes it available for secure collaboration.
At a certain point, proposal management software becomes the pathway for scaling and growing your business. So, when it comes to maintaining the status-quo, help your decision-makers focus on the future. How will we get there if the way we’re doing it now is inefficient?
What makes proposal management software beneficial are the productivity driving tools necessary that eliminate inefficiencies, miscommunication, and security gaps.
Will it Support Our Process?
Introducing new software can prove difficult, especially when everyone on the team is busy juggling their full-time client commitments with their part-time proposal responsibilities. Why do we need to learn new software? Will it even support the way we do proposals? Your goal is to demonstrate how the right proposal management software will recognize what makes your business, process and proposals unique, and support it with ease.
Your Process: The proposal management software you choose should support your proposal process, not require change. In fact, it should support any flavor of that proposal process you need, be it a lengthy process for large, complex proposals or a small, tight-turnaround proposal. It should provide you with process performance information for analysis that drives improvements. And it should support today’s process while remaining agile enough to support future process.
Scale for Growth: It’s hard to convince a decision-maker to invest in a platform that only does one thing; proposal management. So the proposal management platform you choose should scale, in bid size as well as function. As the bid size and complexity grows, so too will your proposal management process. As your business grows, so too will the need for centralized sharing and collaboration. Choose a proposal management software platform that gives your business room to grow and take on other tasks that require collaboration.
At a certain point, your business will weigh the pros and cons of proposal management software. So, here’s the bottom line: proposal management software will empower your proposal process, helping your team exponentially deliver the more high-quality, stand-out proposals your business needs to thrive and grow.