Responding to an RFP is a tall order. If you’re a one-person team, you’re only one human. One human that is entirely responsible for a critical selling document that impacts your organization’s revenue potential. (Gulp.)
From small businesses to massive enterprise corporations, it’s common for one-person teams to manage the entire proposal management process. This proposal manager might even have other job responsibilities on top of responding to RFPs. They count on support from collaborators, usually the sales team and subject matter experts (SMEs).
If that’s you, we’re here to help you bring order to the chaos. Starting with this proposal management plan…powered by collaboration and automation.
Step 1: Create a viable proposal management plan
RFPs are a great opportunity—and maybe your CEO has the impulse to throw a hat in the ring every time. The thing is, your hat might be a sombrero when your prospect is looking for a sensible knitted winter hat.
Moral of the story? Sometimes your product or service just isn’t the right fit. Establish a go/no-go process to focus your organization’s efforts on the right proposals from the start.
Work with sales and executives to perform a win-loss analysis on past bids. Understand the likelihood of winning business when new deals are on the table by researching the requirements before writing a single sentence of an RFP response.
A viable proposal management plan is based on data and research. Rather than reactively pressing “go” every time an RFP arrives, pause and analyze to make sure the opportunity is the right fit. Taking this extra time will ensure your time (and your team’s time) is spent optimally.
Step 2: Make your sales team happy
Salespeople are motivated to sell and they have a lot to keep up with. Responding to an RFP may not be topmost on their list of selling activities. Yes, you need their support with response content. But, what level of support are you offering to them in exchange?
You’re here to help sales with time management, content management, and seamless collaboration so you can submit a quality RFP. With proposal automation in place, you’ll enable your sales colleagues to respond to RFPs quicker and more effectively.
Your proposal management plan will run smoothly when salespeople have instant access to high-quality content in the answer library. That same content library will come in handy for them for discovery calls and prospect questions when they access it from a Google Chrome extension right in their web browser.
Using proposal automation software, your sales team will collaborate on the same communication tools they’re comfortable with—CRMs like Salesforce and HubSpot, and communication solutions like Slack and Microsoft Teams.
If you treat sales right, they’ll be more willing to help you out. Get sales on board early. Market proposal automation software as their support system. Show them how they’ll save time and improve client-facing communication.
Step 3: Support your subject matter experts
Subject matter experts fill their days with very specific and important organizational responsibilities. They face the same time management and multi-tasking challenges as salespeople. Once again—yes, you need their valuable contributions. And they need you to help them in return.
Spreadsheets in shared folders, lost information, duplicated information, tracking versions…sound familiar? SMEs are process-driven individuals and they expect clean processes.
Your proposal management plan will only work well when your subject matter experts’ time is protected and valued. Proposal automation offers a smarter approach to response management, allowing SMEs to contribute and move on with their day.
The first step to transforming your process into a well-oiled machine is to consolidate all your organization’s content in one place. The answer library offers standardized content, effectively breaking down information silos and saving time. You can fill in most of the RFP responses with this content and call in SMEs for any revisions or customizations.
Subject matter experts no longer need to return phone calls or emails when other team members need answers that depend upon their expertise. Why? Because their expertise already lives in the answer library. Anyone can quickly find the content on their own through an intuitive, AI-driven content management system and answer recommendation engine.
Many subject matter experts are like you–a one-person show. Proposal automation makes their lives easier by reducing the amount of time they have to spend responding to RFPs and other internal queries. Your job as a proposal manager is to continue improving your process to minimize SME involvement and protect their time.
Successful response management revolves around processes and people. As a team of one, you lead the charge by creating a viable proposal management plan and supporting the colleagues that support you. How can you make collaboration easier? What steps can be automated? Stay focused on plan improvements to keep your team happy, supported, and productive.
The next step in your new and improved proposal management plan is bringing on RFPIO. See how proposal automation allows you to thrive as a team of one.