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12 November 2018

Is collaborating on proposal creation slowing your sales process?

By Jesse Dukes

The sales process is in a constant cycle of optimisation made possible by a host of new technologies designed to accelerate the time to close. Processes are being automated, information is boosting performance and significant efficiencies are available. This ‘Sales Acceleration Technology’ revolution is changing the way teams and individuals engaged in the sales process operate. But with this increase in pace slightly inconsistent across the process, bottlenecks appear and cause problems. These bottlenecks are reducing in number and severity every day, however, one of the big areas which still proves challenging is the creation of proposal documentation. Why is this a problem? Well because it involves working on a complex document, with multiple contributors, from multiple departments, with multiple roles and often totally remotely.

The process of initial creation, through review, to completion of these document is still a significant headache for a lot of businesses. Proposal creation is a pressure point with potential for significant wastage of resource and effort if the established process is inefficient. All of the historic challenges of digital document collaboration are much unchanged but are exaggerated by the quickening of pace of the surrounding processes and technologies which only makes the problems more pronounced.

We know the solution to this problem isn’t to cut people out of the process or to try and restrict it too much, neither of these approaches tend to produce quality results. With the requirements for businesses becoming ever more complex and skill sets of individuals becoming more specialised, involving a broad range of people becomes often unavoidable. Much more than that, involving a diverse group of subject experts is often very beneficial, indeed where innovation is critical to winning business this diversity of contributions is key as demonstrated in our blog on innovation for competitive advantage. In fact, writing the proposal is the point at which great ideas are brought to the fore. So, it would be fair to conclude that reducing the number of people involved in, or contributing to the process isn’t a solution, and so the problem stands.

People are essential, we can’t really cut team sizes but perhaps if we just changed the attitudes and approaches of those contributing we could solve some of the problems? Well yes, this again is probably true, an openness to collaboration and a certain degree of ‘tolerance’ is required to help the process run smoothly. But this still doesn’t solve the problems inherent in digital collaboration.

The next solution might be to streamline the document itself, and whilst this is undoubtedly a good idea, for lots of businesses it is often impossible to simplify the document to the point that it would actually make a significant difference without jeopardising the documents effectiveness. 

Incremental improvements are possible across the process but none of these are likely to provide a real revolution in efficiency. But fear not.

There is a solution. A solution which doesn’t require cutting contribution, or aggressive trimming of the document, it doesn’t even require a change in attitude (although it still helps). A solution which, when deployed properly, can provide this revolution in efficiency and time savings which help proposal creation keep pace with the rest of the sales process.

And the solution is…

…a collaborative document creation and review application.

What these tools do is re-establish control and confidence in the digital collaboration process. They make working together on digital documents simple, easy and efficient by providing the document owner with total control, and contributors with clarity, visibility and confidence.

PleaseReview is such a tool, it provides robust functionality which makes working with large teams on large documents easy. Your whole team working on a single version, in real-time, with visibility of all comments and changes. Pre-allocate areas for contribution, pre-define contributor capabilities, automate reminders, in-built progress tracking and transparency of comment / change adjudication. All backed by an audit trail.

No duplication of effort, massive reduction in oversights, total version control, no formatting problems and no confusion of responsibilities. All these benefits combine to deliver huge time and cost savings in the creation of proposals, not to mention the very real morale boost provided by such significant improvements in process. PleaseReview can help you optimise your proposal creation process and make winning business more efficient.

The sales funnel does not have to be slowed by the problems of digital content collaboration, proposal creation doesn’t have to be a bottleneck or pressure point in your sales process. With a collaborative document creation and review application this pressure can be relieved, and the focus can return to great ideas not time pressure and frustrations.

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