How can you improve the quality of your proposals?
22. Oct 2019 |
5 min read
If you and your team struggle to create winning bids and proposals, that’s understandable. It can be a daunting challenge, even if you have done it dozens of times before.
Don’t make it harder than it has to be, though. Don’t use Word.
The word processor was never intended to be a solution for tasks with lots of moving parts and multiple contributors literally scattered across the globe.
Good tools are half the work, and particularly so for proposal creation. Use our 6 tried-and-true tips to take your proposals from good to great.
1. Built-in revision control and version control
A professional proposal co-authoring and management solution lets you easily compare revisions and track changes, using industry-standard blacklining methods, directly in a browser or as a PDF document. Furthermore, you will always work on the latest version of your document. If needed, you can view or restore a previous version of a section or document.
Admittedly, not all winning proposals are created from scratch. More often than not, you’re re-using content. Having to search for the most recent content and finding the “approved” version can really tax your patience.
Want to save tons of time, be more in control of your process – and get your proposal going in no time? Use a content library that allows you to easily reuse pre-approved and vetted content in multiple documents.
3. Standardization is key
Proposals are inherently complex documents. Creating them takes a village. However, as with any live project involving multiple people working in different countries and time zones, too many contributors often spoil the broth.
Take formatting, for example. Author #1 uses Times New Roman with double spacing. Author #2 prefers Garamond with single spacing. Author #3 wants to use Comic Sa– No, let’s not go there. There’s potentially a myriad of variations, making it hard to put it all together in a standard style and format. Typically, minor but vital changes never make it to the final version. Not to mention numbering all those pages!
The answer to these challenges? A database-driven proposal solution that standardizes and automates functionality within the document. Why waste time and lose focus when formatting and numbering can happen automatically.
4. Make formatting, layout and numbering automatic
In the push to get the content right, the proposal layout is often relegated to the least priority or downright neglected. This can be a costly mistake.
If your potential client has to spend time making sense of a messy layout – figuring out what goes where, and how it all fits together – they will lose patience and hit the road.
Stand out from the competition by using an enterprise-grade proposal co-authoring and automation solution. Features such as automatic formatting, ready-to-use layout templates and custom design tailored to brand guidelines ensure a professional, brand-consistent output.
5. Break down collaboration barriers
Even though proposal creation – the winning kind – depends on collaboration and smooth teamwork across departments, companies, regions and even time zones, many companies still use a file-based word processor. Typically, this creates collaboration barriers and organizational silos resulting in less-than-optimal proposals. Plus, it greatly increases the risk of delays.
Working in a database in a single document management solution is much more efficient than working on files. Allowing for different parts of a document to be created and edited in parallel breaks down silos and enables timely feedback from all involved parties.
6. Bonus tip: Know your customers and their pain points
Does your proposal prove that you understand the client and the issues they’re dealing with?
The key to a persuasive proposal is to demonstrate that you fully grasp the challenge your client is struggling with.
The proposal should be all about how your solution will alleviate their pain points. This gives you an instant edge over much of the competition.
To stay ahead of your competition and close more deals, you need to get your proposals right. Otherwise, you’re missing out on revenue.
Creating high-quality proposals takes dedication from an entire team. How can you simplify and streamline the entire process?
Move to a database-driven proposal solution. This automates the creation process, and removes inefficiencies associated with the use of traditional word processors. Consequently, you get more time to hone your proposal process, and you gain a competitive advantage.