An effective proposal management process is like a jigsaw puzzle; it takes multiple pieces, and they have to fit together just right. If you’re a one-person team, putting all the pieces together can be a challenge, but it’s manageable, at least if the right processes are in place.
With small and medium-sized businesses, it’s common for one-person teams to manage the entire proposal management process. However, they can hopefully count on support from collaborators, such as the sales team and subject matter experts (SMEs).
If you’re a one-person team, you might have other job responsibilities on top of responding to RFPs. In addition, a proposal manager can oversee many different aspects of the RFP process.
If that’s you, we’re here to help you bring order to the chaos, starting with incorporating these factors into your proposal management plan—powered by collaboration and automation.
How a proposal team of one can optimize the proposal process
A proposal manager is in charge of the proposal management process. Whether they are a one-person team or the head of an entire department, an effective proposal management process incorporates three essential factors:
- Saying “no” as part of your proposal management plan
- Engage your sales team
- Leverage subject matter experts
There are many aspects to the proposal management process. Let’s dig into three of the most critical and why they matter.
Saying “no” as part of your proposal management plan
RFPs are a great opportunity—and maybe your CEO has the impulse to throw a hat in the ring for each one. That might sound like a great strategy, but it’s also a way to rack up a lot of losses.
Sometimes your product or service isn’t what the customer is looking for. Responding to poorly-qualified opportunities can put well-qualified prospects at risk because they pull resources from winnable bids.
Establish a go/no-go process to focus your organization’s efforts on suitable proposals.
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 ensure the opportunity is the right fit. Taking this extra time will ensure your time is optimally spent.
Engage your sales team
Salespeople are motivated to sell, and they have a lot to keep up with, so 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 them in exchange?
Proposal managers can provide a lot of value to their sales teams.They can help sales with time management, content management, and seamless collaboration. With proposal automation in place, you’ll enable your sales colleagues to respond to RFPs faster and more effectively.
Your response process will run smoothly when salespeople have instant access to high-quality content in the Answer Library. Since RFPIO® LookUp is accessible via a web browser or CRM, the same content library will come in handy for them on discovery calls and prospecting.
Using proposal automation software, your sales team will collaborate using the same communication tools they’re comfortable with, including CRMs such as Salesforce and HubSpot, and communication solutions such as Slack and Microsoft Teams.
By showing sales teams the value you can provide, they’ll be more willing to help you out, so get sales on board early and use RFPIO proposal automation software as their support system. Show them how they’ll save time and improve client-facing communication.
Leverage subject matter experts
Many subject matter experts are a one-person show, just like you. Proposal automation makes their lives easier by reducing time spent responding to RFPs and other internal queries. An important aspect of your role as a proposal manager is to continue improving your process to minimize unnecessary SME involvement and protect their time by bringing them in only when necessary.
SMEs are process-driven individuals; they expect clean processes and clearly defined responsibilities, tasks, and deadlines. Your response process will be most effective when your subject matter experts’ time is protected and valued. Proposal automation offers a more intelligent approach to response management, allowing SMEs to contribute and move on with their day.
The first step to transforming your proposal management process into a well-oiled machine is to consolidate all of your organization’s content in one place. Whether you are an enterprise or a small business, proposal software is key to a well-run process.
The Answer Library offers standardized and curated content, effectively breaking down information silos and saving time. You can automatically fill in most of the RFP responses with help from the Answer Library and save SME contributions for any revisions or customizations.
Once an SME has provided expertise on one RFP, the proposal manager can seamlessly update the Answer Library with the new answer.
The next time you have an RFP that includes similar queries, RFPIO’s AI-driven content management system and answer recommendation engine will automatically present the responses for your approval, further reducing the time SMEs spend responding.
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 providing value to 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. RFPIO can help proposal managers thrive, no matter the resources.