For organizations and teams working on customer RFPs, developing proposals is a key challenge. Balancing the rigor and speed of proposal creation is what proposal writing teams find hard. Most proposal management software vendors tend towards a ‘feature-centric design’ rather than a ‘solution-centric design.’
How is a top-class business proposal automation software distinctly different from others?
1. At the foundation of a great proposal automation software should be the standards and processes of the industry and organization that intends to use it.
Most proposal writing software over-simplify the proposal-making process. For customers to gain business value, proposal automation software must be ‘configurable’ to the needs of the industry lifecycle and further refined to the organizational business processes and approval workflows.
It is a no-brainer that the proposal creation, review, and approval process for a custom software company is different from that of a management consulting company. Unlike most available RFP response automation, TouchBase offers a solution designed for the customer’s industry and their business processes.
2. The second dimension revolves around the process of proposal creation.
Organizations pursue projects ranging from thousands to millions of dollars. The level of detail needed varies across proposals. Further, the process of creating estimates of resources (people and material) and then to schedules can be a hair-pulling exercise for proposal teams. Imagine creating a proposal to an RFP for a large professional services company –
- That operates across multiple global locations.
- The project impacts 500 to 1000 users.
- That requires phase-wise project delivery.
- Timeline of 9 to 12 months
Recently, I happened to work on building a proposal for a global IT services organization. The proposal ran into 75 pages and covered numerous aspects such as customer’s pain areas & key objectives, proposed solution, expected value, estimates of resources & timelines, prior experiences, customer references, process flow, etc.
It is common knowledge that such comprehensive and detailed proposals go through multiple revisions – managing these on a standalone document processing software such as Word can be overwhelming, not to forget about potential data integrity and accuracy concerns.
Business proposal automation software such as TouchBase offers templates for proposal creation with efficient ways to create estimates of resources, costs, and timelines. The icing on the cake is the automated ‘Proposal Builder’ that converts all the inputs into a well-designed proposal that incorporates organization-specifics such as logos, addresses, confidentiality statements, etc. – in a flash! Further, advanced proposal writing software capture revisions to the content and estimates at a significantly lower effort – as much as over 50%!
By adopting such state-of-the-art RFP response automation software, imagine the speed and productivity of your teams to outsmart competitors!
TouchBase Automated Proposal Builder
3. Another dimension is the seamless transition from an opportunity to contract and then to delivery.
The sales cycle goes through distinct stages of opportunity identification & evaluation, proposal creation, contracting, and project delivery. A vast majority of business proposal automation software tend to look at these stages in isolation – the result, teams struggle to connect proposals to delivery and vice versa. The sales teams must go through an arduous process of connecting the dots to review if their deals deliver the expected revenue and profitability. The delivery teams must work offline with sales teams to understand the commitments made to the customer and track them manually.
Best-in-class proposal writing software such as TouchBase ensures seamlessness through the sales and delivery cycle – from an opportunity to lead, then from lead to a proposal, further from proposal to contract, and finally from contract to delivery. At any time, the sales head could review and compare proposals vs. delivery while delivery heads could review actual profitability vis-à-vis planned profitability.
Connecting the entire lifecycle of sales, proposal writing, and project delivery are what makes the complete experience feel like a breeze!
To summarize –
- Choose business proposal automation software based on solution-centricity and not feature-centricity.
- Senior leaders must holistically evaluate proposal automation software – from an opportunity to proposal to contract and finally to delivery.