This is the third post in our series #StayConnected, introducing tips, tricks, tools, and features that help teams complete proposals quickly and efficiently, even when they’re not sharing a physical space. Read part 1 here: Keep Your Proposal Team Focused With These 5 Project Management Features. And part 2 here: How an Effective Content Management System Keeps Your Remote Team Productive.
You just got promoted to lead your company’s international proposal team—congratulations!
Now that you’re managing an international team, you’re responsible for bridging gaps between time zones, languages, and cultures—while finding ways to bring your team closer together, despite the physical distance.
To help you take the first steps, we compiled everything we know about how leaders of successful international proposal teams use technology to submit compelling proposals across languages. Read on for insider tips and best practices for keeping international teams connected.
Maintain brand consistency across languages with proposal automation software
Your brand should build awareness and develop trust and loyalty with customers. This means every interaction customers have with your brand—including bids, tenders, and RFPs—should embody the brand promises and values dependably and understandably.
Many successful proposal managers rely on proposal automation software to ensure their bids, tenders, and RFPs are consistent. This is especially true for proposal managers that serve a multilingual customer base.
David Rynne, the Presales Global Content Specialist at Basware, uses RFPIO to manage and moderate his organization’s multilingual content. Each time a new question-and-answer pair comes in, David uses the built-in Google Translate tool to translate the content into English and check it for accuracy, before approving it to be added to the library. Anytime an answer doesn’t seem quite right, he can easily @-mention the pre-sales rep for clarification.
In doing so, David has full visibility into how Basware is being represented to the world and can make sure the messaging remains consistent—and accurate—across languages.
Break down language barriers with a multilingual content management system
When you’re working with multilingual sales teams who are interacting with non-English speaking prospects, you need to make sure your content management system has the capacity to store content in other languages.
Let’s say your sales rep in Germany receives an RFP from their prospect, with all the questions in German. If you only have content available in English, you’re creating an extra step for your sales reps, who will need to find the answers they need (in English) and translate those answers into German.
It stands to reason that the less time your team has to spend translating answers, the more time they’ll have to focus on revenue-generating activities.
That’s why successful international proposal teams have a content management system that can store content in multiple languages. With this in place, all your German sales rep would need to do is find the question (in German) and immediately use the provided German answer—giving them more time to spend refining their proposal or working on other projects.
“One of our pre-sales reps from Paris told us just recently that he received an RFP on a Monday night that needed to be submitted by that Wednesday morning. We helped him get up and running in RFPIO and he made the deadline.”
David Rynne, Presales Global Content Specialist
Simplify collaboration by bringing everyone on the same platform
According to a recent report from Slack, people around the world agreed that “ability to easily communicate with colleagues” was one of the most vital components of effective collaboration.
One of the best ways to enable your team to “easily communicate” is bringing them all together on the same platform.
In doing so, they can assign tasks to team members, gain visibility into project status and team bandwidth, and use @-mentioning to ask SMEs and other team members for help.
“Shortly after implementing RFPIO, a sales engineer in Australia—who had recently started at the company—was able to collaborate with sales engineers in Bulgaria and product managers in the United States to complete an RFP in just a few days.”
Gary Clink, Head of Global Technical Enablement
Read full case study here.
Build camaraderie by giving your international team space to be themselves
“When interactions between co-workers are high, there is a greater ability to develop trust and shared vision among international co-workers,” wrote Tsedal Neely—author of the book The Language of Global Success—in a recent Harvard Business Review article.
When you’re managing an international team, you need to give members a chance to get to know each other as people.
Here at RFPIO, we take this advice to heart.
Our team is split between our headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon and Coimbatore, India—and we’ve devised a number of ways to build relationships between team members that have never met another face-to-face.
For example, the international marketing team gets together for standups twice a week, where the team is free to talk about whatever comes to mind—be it movies and shows we’re watching, new recipes we’re trying, or weekend plans.
India- and US-based team members are also responsible for arranging 15-minute one-on-one video chats with another, giving team members a chance to get to know each other in a non-work capacity.
We’ve found that when we’re able to see each other as people, rather than faceless email addresses or Slack handles, working together isn’t just easier—it’s also more fun.
When you’re managing an international team, you are able to benefit from the diverse insights of individuals with different cultures, opinions, and backgrounds—the only trick is figuring out how to bring your team closer together.
At RFPIO, we’re helping international teams break down language barriers, simplify collaboration, and build camaraderie.
Click here to find out more about how RFPIO can help you optimize the opportunity of working with an international team—and find ways to keep your team connected.