Builders use the right tools for a job, why shouldn’t proposal writers?
In an ideal world, writing proposals for construction projects would be easy and fast. You'd have all the time you need to respond to RFPs, colleagues would always deliver content on time, and winning proposals would fly out the door.
In reality, creating professional-looking construction proposals is often the polar opposite of easy and fast.
Good news: The right proposal creation software makes it simple to write proposals faster and more efficiently – so you can win more business.
In your construction company, you’d never ask your crews to work on a complex project with inadequate equipment. Not only would they not finish on time (and get demoralized in the process). The final result would be filled with errors. Also, it would reflect badly on your company.
Paradoxically, when it comes to building the sales documents that ensure the existence of a business, many construction companies use the wrong tools. As a result, they shed “blood, sweat and tears” trying to put together a decent enough proposal by the deadline.
You've probably experienced it yourself: You and your team have written the proposal in Word. Now you're frantically stitching together a bunch of files while watching the clock. It's getting close to the deadline. As you clench your teeth, you feel your heart race.
The document will not format correctly. Several important product images are spread across two pages. You've corrected the numbering three times, but it's still wrong.
You hoped to spend ten minutes reviewing the proposal before it was submitted. That's off the table.
Eventually, you realize you have only one option – submit the proposal knowing it contains errors, then cross your fingers and hope for the best.
Some construction companies win bid after bid – growing their revenue by double and triple digits – while others sit on the sidelines wondering why their proposals failed. Apart from their outstanding expertise, what do these successful contractors have in common?
I'll let you in on their "secret”: They create their bids using enterprise-level proposal creation software. By doing so, they take their entire bid writing process to another level. The consistently winning level.
Below are four typical advantages that proposal teams in international construction companies gain when they start using the right proposal writing tools. These are actual results, as reported to us by our clients.
With cloud-based proposal software, you can write big, complex construction proposals much faster.
“The writing process is much smoother now. We save time – between 40% and 50%, maybe even more, compared to Word.”
– Emmanuel Mange, Head of Tenders at Vinci Construction.
Bottom line: When you use a high-quality proposal creation tool, you can free up a great deal of time. As a result, you can spend more time on each proposal, ensuring it's well-written, visually appealing and error-free. You've got time to send the proposal to your manager or a colleague for quality assurance.
You’re creating a virtuous cycle here – the more time you win back on each proposal, the better content you can create, and the more likely you are to impress the reviewers.
Most construction industry proposal teams using desktop publishing software and copy-and-paste struggle with layout and formatting.
With a comprehensive proposal creation software solution, the proposal team can focus less on superficial issues, such as formatting and layout, and more on what really matters – customizing the content for prospects.
“Now proposal writers can focus on the substance rather than the superficial details. In the past, they had to spend so much time on the table of contents, page breaks… all the page layout.”
– Jean-Luc Gillot, Head of Department at Colas.
Bottom line: Focus on the quality of your arguments instead of the layout. When you can put your expertise in the right place – demonstrating why the prospect should choose your company – your proposal gets better and you're more likely to win.
Top-quality proposal creation software makes it easy for construction companies to follow and apply their brand guidelines across all departments when creating proposals.
“Our proposals are more uniform, and the layout is similar from branch to branch. That’s a real plus for the company image.”
– Jennifer Flahaut, Engineering Department at Colas.
Bottom line: With a good proposal tool, you can create attractive proposal documents that follow your brand identity guidelines.
In terms of content, message and layout, construction companies can write proposals that are 10/10 with the right proposal creation tool.
Providing a professional, brand-consistent output is made easy with features such as automatic layout (with automatic pagination and summary) and custom design tailored to brand guidelines.
“It makes us stand out! The cover page, in particular, is very attractive. Our proposals are immediately recognized thanks to the cover.”
– Coralie Herrmann, Project Manager, Business Development Department at Ginger CEBTP.
Bottom line: Having the right tool ensures that your proposal design is both functional and beautiful, grabbing your prospect’s attention in the right way.
In the real world, where you compete against construction companies that have perfected their bid response processes, how do all these advantages translate into results?
In a nutshell: You'll win more business, and have a more enjoyable time doing it.
With the construction market becoming more competitive by the day, it pays to stand out from the crowd. Are you still using Word or PowerPoint to create your proposals? Then you're making it harder for yourself than it needs to be.
You know it, and I know it: Word and PowerPoint aren’t designed to handle large, complex and technical proposal documents.
What will happen if you continue to create your proposals the same way you have always done them? You’re the only one who knows your company well enough to answer that question.
But I know what companies like yours, with similar proposal process struggles, are saying: They were held back by their old proposal writing methods. Unfit proposal tools like Word or PowerPoint were chipping away at their competitive advantage.
If you instead use a tool that is specifically designed to handle the heavy lifting of today's proposal writing, it’s much easier to get the job done the right way. The way that takes a wrecking ball to the competition.
Related article: Customer Story Ginger CEBTP
Amo has a degree in Applied Chemistry, and 20 years sales experience working in media, adtech and data insight solutions. He enjoys spending time with his children, watching his son play cricket, and cooking with his daughter. He is passionate about powerlifting and most mornings you can find him in a gym lifting heavy weights.