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6 Tell-Tale Symptoms of Poor Proposal Team Collaboration

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Kris Sæther



3 min

Each time your organization sets out to create a compliant, quality proposal, you face a challenge: Getting everyone on your team to work together toward the common goal despite a geographically diverse team’s shifting priorities.

Team collaboration is a critical component of the proposal development process. When it’s effective, capture strategy and writing execution align to reduce revisions; review consensus is driven to advance quality; innovation and problem-solving are empowered; and everyone, no matter where or when they work, is on the same page. 

When proposal team collaboration is ineffective, morale takes a hit, and creativity and innovation are stifled. Ultimately, your chances of submitting a winning proposal are diminished.

Let’s look at six typical signs that your proposal team is struggling with collaboration and achieving their goals.

What Are the Top 3 Symptoms of Struggle in the Proposal Writing Collaboration Process?

Your proposal team has excellent writing experts. Ideally, they are able to collaborate in a way that easily connects the pieces of your solution puzzle together for an easy read that influences evaluators.

In reality, though, there are obstacles to collaboration inherent in your proposal development process. Blockers that create schedule-disrupting miscommunications and review-derailing conflicting points of view.

Are you experiencing these symptoms?

Symptom #1. Instead of working, your experts are waiting to work. The larger, more complex your proposal, the longer the wait. That’s a lot of waiting, and time wasted for experts who come at a premium and must balance full-time jobs with shifting priorities. 

Symptom #2. When your experts do work, their interactions with content and other experts are limited to meetings, emails, and phone calls.  Ultimately, this back and forth leads to an all-to-familiar drill: spend hours writing, and then sink even more time into rewriting. 

Symptom #3. Expert questions get missed, or lost in an email chain, until review. Your experts spend more time trying to confer with other experts than they are writing. And missed items frustrate and derail reviewers. 

What Are the Top 3 Symptoms of Struggles in Your Reviewing Collaboration Process?

As your team writes, proposal reviews are a critical step. When reviewing collaboration is smooth, reviewer reactions and insights advance proposal maturity and quality – a choppy narrative becomes engaging, more concise language builds credibility, and added details drive a deeper understanding of the solution for a more lasting impression.

When the reviewing collaboration process is anything but smooth, however, certain tell-tale symptoms appear. 

Are you experiencing these symptoms?

Symptom #1. You’re still stopping writing, going “pens down,” to conduct reviews. Even when content is incomplete and more writing time would result in a more productive review. The larger, more complex your proposal, the more “pens down” in your process, and the more waiting to write. 

Symptom #2. Reviewers have little access to other reviewers, for example via email. These days, reviewers aren’t gathered together in a room, where they can discuss and confer. They are working virtually. So instead of clear, concise feedback reviewers agree on, the result is conflicting feedback expert writers must decipher.  

Symptom #3. Reviewers have little access to expert writers.  So, when they have a question, they compose an email that is more likely to be addressed during writing, when reviewers are less available, than during review.

Don’t Let Ineffective Collaboration Ruin Your Proposal Win

Proposal collaboration doesn’t need to be an ongoing challenge that blocks your efforts and stifles your growth. There is a better way to collaborate on proposal development – and better tools to assist you and your team in the process. 



Related Article: The Frustrating Wait for Proposal Content: 

Read More: Practical Tips for Writing Teams


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Author picture

Kris Sæther

Kris Sæther is Chief Commercial Officer of Xait. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Media Studies, and has worked in financial communication in London and Frankfurt prior to joining Xait. He has 20+ years experience from the information management industry. Kris is an avid runner and skier, and a passionate fan of the world’s coolest soccer team, Tottenham. If he is not working or running you will find him cheering for his two daughters on the handball court.

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