Relying on email to manage proposal creation efforts can be frustrating and ineffective. Proposal managers are often stuck hoping team members read the correct email and are working on their tasks, unsure of the exact status of tasks as the deadline approaches.
Instead of relying on email conversations and expensive in-person meetings for proposal creation and review, proposal managers can improve the process for themselves and their teams using proposal management software.
What is Proposal Management Software?
Proposal management software is a content collaboration tool created specifically for professionals who develop and submit business proposals. Because it's designed to facilitate the specific process, proposal management software streamlines the transition between sales and proposal management and gets the team started on the effort earlier.
Proposal management tools allow proposal managers to centralize essential documents, assign tasks and deadlines and share a centralized schedule that embeds milestones in the team's calendar. These tools save the proposal manager time by automatically managing version control and automatically triggering team alerts and notifications that help keep writers and reviewers in sync and on track.
Simultaneously, these tools deliver the real-time activity status the proposal managers need to know regarding who is writing and reviewing and when they are done as well as where bottlenecks are developing so potential hold-ups can be addressed before they become delays.
And, when the proposal is submitted and filed, these tools deliver the team and process performance activity details to drive solid lessons-learned improvements.
How Proposal Management Software Improves the Proposal Creation Process
Streamline the proposal effort from the start
If professionals are not using a dedicated tool to oversee their proposal management efforts, they are probably relying on email for their communications.
When sales and business development finds an opportunity they're interested in pursuing on a source site, they have to download the details to their hard drive and email it to their team in preparation for a bid meeting to determine if they want to invest the expertise and effort it will take to create a winning proposal. They may have to hand type lots of data into their system, which is both frustrating and slow.
Right from the start they can face roadblocks if the file size they need to send exceeds their email tool's limits. While email is convenient, there is no reliable way to track who has actually read the email. When it comes to pre-bid discussion, important competitive intelligence and strategy insights can easily get lost in a swirl of emails, causing bid decision confusion and delays.
With proposal management tools, the point person simply imports the target opportunity details and attachments into the system, eliminating manual effort. The opportunity information is centralized, and automatic notifications invite the team to view them, eliminating information getting lost in emails. Together, the team comes together around the opportunity information, discusses the requirements and their approach and quickly comes to consensus on bid/no bid. Everyone is now on the same page, moving together in sync.
Once a team decides to fund a proposal, they next have to prepare the groundwork: the RFP needs to be broken down into the specific requirements, templates need to be created for writers and subject matter experts to write in, and the proposal manager will need to assign tasks and develop the schedule.
Without a dedicated proposal management tool, all those resources will be sent out via email along with the specific assignments and deadlines, or worse yet, unauthorized collaboration applications! This again requires the proposal manager to rely on organized email inboxes for the project to move forward.
A centralized tool allows all these resources to be found in a single platform, anytime, anywhere, making it easier to collaborate and monitor activity.
Increase visibility for proposal managers
Email rarely provides ample visibility into who is working on what, a key benefit of proposal management tools. In fact, these tools include flexible proposal management workflow and reporting that can show you who is working on what and when they are done, automatically notifying the next writer or reviewer when it's their turn and notifying you when they are done.
This saves the proposal manager time, especially when it comes time to track down a status via email or a potential review cycle bottleneck with a bunch of phone calls. Proposal management tools help proposal managers keep a finger on the pulse of what's happening, so they can address bottlenecks before they become delays.
Regardless of where your team members are located, a proposal management software enables them to work together anytime, anywhere.
The proposal review process traditionally involves bringing reviewers to a single physical review location so they can sit in a room and review the documents together. When travel costs are too expensive, that same review process gets relegated to email. The result? Reviewers submit differing opinions on how to advance the proposal, and the proposal manager must spend precious time sorting and sifting through four or five versions of comments and edits before they can pass the documents back to the team for revision.
The proposal manager then has to comb through the suggested edits and repackage them into a single document for the writers to receive and act upon.
A proposal management software allows reviewers to collaborate on the same document from anywhere, and some proposal management tools, like Privia, even allow that collaboration and commenting to occur in real time.
This increased collaboration allows writers to immediately start making revisions when the review cycle is done, turning the write, review, revise process into a well-practiced relay. Content can be automatically handed off to the next collaborator at each step, with no worries that the wrong version of the document was emailed along.
Proposal management software facilitates teamwork and keeps the proposal process moving toward a successful conclusion. Proposal management software outperforms generic content collaboration platforms and content management tools by allowing the proposal manager to have greater insight into the status of proposal efforts and streamlining team collaboration with features targeted towards proposal creators.