Proposal Management Software
A successful proposal is the one that gets the money!
How to write a good proposal?
The graphic below describes a project proposal pictorially. The arrows indicate the flow of information that need to be described in your proposal to give sufficient definition to the first bar (inputs to proposal text). The second bar, equivalent to your project objectives, defines the outputs planned for your project. Then for achieving those outputs you need to describe all the activities carried out and new resources created during the project, completing the descriptions will create a proposal.
When it comes to winning new business, proposals are the vital piece of the riddle. However, creating proposals using tools like Word or Excel can be time-consuming. For larger organizations where resources are working across continents, configuration management becomes difficult while using Word or Excel formats. Besides, teams may create different document formats or changes in pricing can cause a problem.
To overcome this, the bids management team must use a top-class proposal management software that improves the overall process effectiveness. Some of the key attributes of such a software include:
- Centralized management of RFP content
- Streamlined management of RFP response process
- Ability to “very quickly” generate standard pitches, presentations
Many firms have their own challenges, but they could be managed by a software that addresses above key areas.
Centralized and management of RFP content:
- Depending on the maturity level of the organization, a proposal management software must support in:
- One version of the content used in proposals
- Tracking the use of the content
- Ability to access previously submitted content from a centralized location and thus reducing time and effort to search for historical content
- Having access to historical proposal can decrease the need of excessive meetings
- Easy accessibility to the latest pricing information
- Ability to integrate the software with other systems like your CRM system allowing teams to access the pricing proposal as well as customer information.
- Reduced time in creating a new proposal.
Streamlined Management of RFP Response Process:
When it comes to RFP responses it’s all about customers. This is the area where bid, tender and RFP management team really benefit.
- Allow incoming, outgoing and collaborative content and data to be held in one place.
- Allocation of task to team members and progress tracking
- Monitoring the process in real-time
- Usage of single version of proposal, reducing risks of multiple versions and avoid local version of the document.
- Help the managers to track the throughput of the proposal and identify bottlenecks
- Routine tasks can be automated
Embedding Program Plans:
Another significant information to include in bids to gain assurance of your customer is to include a program plan detailing how your organization will execute the mobilization if the contract is awarded. Most organizations use MS Project or any legacy / home-grown software to create a plan – identifying dependencies, realistic duration to execute the tasks, and resources required for mobilization. Your HR system can be integrated to map the competency of resources in your organization who can be involved to execute the RFP scope which will give your customer good insight of the competency of your organization resources.
Additional features required:
- Analytics tool
- Collaboration and communication tools
And remember there are always potential risks involved in implementing such software. To avoid such risks, it is very important that the requirements are identified well in advance and all business stakeholders are involved in the requirements gathering process. Organizations always demand to prove the return on investment – it is important that you identify the areas where savings in cost/man-hours, increase in revenue can be found, and how they would be measured to determine success. In order to calculate your savings:
- Determine the amount of time your organization is spending creating proposals (average time from bid managers)
- Gauge the count of how many proposals are created by your team
- Multiply the number of proposals by the average time spent by the number of people involved in the quoting process.
- Multiply that figure times the average hourly wage of the employees to find out how much you’re spending.
Formula: number of proposals x Average amount of time spent creating proposal x Average hourly wage of employees.
Key risks to bid professionals in implementing such software are:
- Main sponsor/ product champion leaves
- No time/ resources to commit content to central database
- Information technology engagement/support
- Complex integration requirements
- Projects dependency
Responding to RFPs can be a high-pressure task; successful bid managers understand the benefit of using a proposal management software are just too good to be ignored. These are just few of many reasons to consider using a good software to save time and increase sales.