In my opinion, a business-critical document such as a business proposal is the most important document you will send to your clients. This is a task you should not take lightly. Having it reviewed by someone else before submitting it can be a vital factor for success.
Remember, you are most likely not alone, and your competitors are trying to do the same thing. Unfortunately, there is no second place in the “proposal game”, and the most important aspect of creating a successful proposal is the work you do before you start writing.
It fascinates me when I talk to people who are not using XaitPorter and I ask them, "How is your proposal process?". The funny thing is – they all do it the same way.
This way is what I call the old-fashioned way. It is cumbersome and tedious, you lack the ability to have control over the process, and if you win the proposal – well, you were lucky, I will tell you!
Most likely, they start with a team meeting, where they have a discussion: "Should we go for the bid or not?" I don’t doubt their intention of winning, but this process has already started to go awry.
After the meeting, the document creator – most likely the bid manager, sales manager, proposal manager or tender manager – starts splitting up the document into several pieces.
And then he or she sends out an email, "You, John, take section 1 to 10, you, Sara, take section 11 to 15.", and so on and so on. Perhaps he or she also adds, without naming anyone: "Can someone please do section 16.1 by the end of tomorrow" I promise you, no one will do section 16.1, because they see that other names have also received the email.
Struggling with Formatting, Co-Authoring and Version Control
They might have invested a lot of time and money in a file-driven solution and start sharing this document. Now the document creator is struggling, because he lacks control over where he is in the document process. He needs to schedule bi-weekly meetings, sending emails and calling his colleagues to ask, "Where are you in the document process? Do you need any help?".
The co-authors are also struggling at this point, because they can see that one of their colleagues has not checked in the document and is still writing on it. So the co-authors download a new version and start working on this. And remember, whenever you check in a file, a new version of the file is created. So now they have multiple versions and are asking, "Which version is the right one?"
The check-in and check-out system is common in many document management solutions, including file-driven ones. Its purpose is to prevent conflicts in an environment where multiple people may want to edit the same piece of content. So the intention of it is good, but it hardly works, right?
Well, the pain is acute and continuous, and now the deadline is approaching. All of a sudden, the focus shifts. They are now focusing on the way the document looks, and if the format is right. This is now the critical moment and why they will face time pressure and a visibility gap.
Other common issues in this process may have been:
Big files crashing
Getting bad content just before the deadline
Chasing people to deliver the content
Approved documents that still have errors in them
Or my favorite: PASTING, BOOM! There goes your formatting and numbering.
As I say initially, the most important work happens before you start working on the proposal!
XaitPorter is tailor-made for helping you create successful business documents. The main success factor that XaitPorter provides to our clients is the parallel process. Instead of the old-fashioned and time-consuming way, our clients can actually create proposals up to 70% faster while increasing the quality of the content.
As a document creator, you will have complete visibility over where you are in the document process. You don’t need to have bi-weekly meetings or call your colleagues to ask, "Where are you in the document process?"
In XaitPorter, you have full control. The integrated workflow is easy to use, and you can choose who is going to write what, and the deadline. The writers will then get a notification by email informing them about what section and when the deadline is. And they will still be reminded by email on the deadline.
As a company, you can now work on multiple proposals across the organization, and you do not have to wait for the proposal to be finished before you approve it; you will now approve section by section.
The best part is, XaitPorter takes care of formatting, layout and numbering automatically.
Want to learn more about how XaitPorter can help you and your team create better proposals? Don't hesitate to contact me.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone for using XaitPorter as their preferred tool for creating business-critical documents. My biggest wish for the coming year is to go back to normal so I can meet everyone again face to face.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Tore holds a Technical degree and has a variety of business courses from BI Norwegian Business School. He has previously worked for different oil service companies and IT companies. Tore used to be Norway's biggest self-proclaimed golf talent, and also has a big passion for Ice hockey.
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