Do proposals mean 100 page documents, lots of sighs, lots of coffee and lots of late nights struggling to hit proposal deadlines – if so I suspect you are not alone!
Whilst in many ways we question the value of lengthy proposals and how they fail to make the Invisible Visible nevertheless they are a necessary step in the sales process.
When we started slicedbread we took a long look at how to create winning proposals and how to best succeed in making these compelling. Broadly we categorised our proposals into two types:
- Proposals where we are driving the proposal – in this case, we control the content and structure, have a significant opportunity for streamlining the process and are really able to “go to town” in terms of making them compelling
- Proposals where our prospect is driving the process – in this case we need to focus on re-using previous created intellectual property to our best advantage and again pulling together this document as quickly as possible
In terms of making our winning proposals process as efficient as possible; our starting point for both of these was same; we needed to build a knowledge base of all of our shared collateral. Collateral designed to make the “invisible visible”; to deliver winning proposals. For us this means a huge collection of assets – reusable text, screenshots, case studies, process examples and so on. We store these in our SharePoint Intranet which is part of our customer relationship management strategy.
Our next calling point was looking at the process by which we assemble this best practice collateral into a winning proposals. Left to their own devices our sales team will typically take the easiest option .. which typically means starting with their “latest and greatest” proposal and beginning a cycle of searching, cutting and pasting. The end result – proposals are not optimal and didn’t include our latest expert thinking.
So in searching for a solution to this problem we needed a solution that was as simple as possible (they’re sales people after all!) and had the least barriers of entry – we chose to partner with Qorus and their Breeze proposal tool.
Built on Microsoft SharePoint Breeze integrates with our existing knowledge base of assets and helps make our proposal creation easier and faster than ever before. Together with our hightouchsales Dynamics CRM solution it enables us to track our end-to-end RFP response process and allocate out sections of RFP documents and proposals to individuals and groups for completion.
The end result?
We have streamlined our proposal process which enables us to focus our creativity and effort on the parts of the proposal which really matter and really make a difference … which lets be honest can often only amount to a couple of pages from a 50 page document!