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Responding to Requests For Proposals (RFPs) with a good business proposal requires a lot of time and effort, usually involving numerous people, resources and revisions. Online document review is becoming an increasingly popular solution to allow collaboration without the time-consuming admin. This allows you to focus on the important details and stand out from your competitors.

The components of a business-winning proposal will include:

  • Input from numerous people within the business
  • Carefully thought out reasons why a client should choose you above others
  • Consideration of the RFP project and answers to specific customer queries
  • Well crafted writing
  • Something to make you stand out

The problem with traditional proposal methods

Creating a proposal tends to involve a lot of going back and forth between different people, multiple drafts and various methods of communication. The document will usually be distributed to everyone in the proposal team, each person looking it over in isolation. This results in multiple versions being sent back to you; some with tracked changes, others with comments in the body of the email. You’ve then got the arduous task of having to consolidate all the information and communicate it during the review meeting so a decision can be made about what happens next.

This also involves trying to work with a project team that consists of individuals across different departments, locations and time zones. It’s a lot of time spent on admin and organisation, resulting in the work on the proposal itself taking much longer than it really needs to. And since RFPs can often be highly complex, arrive in your inbox unexpectedly and have tight deadlines, efficiency is imperative for success.

The benefits of adopting an agile method agile approach to proposal development allows for flexibility in the way you manage the process. It shifts the focus from working in a linear fashion to collaboration, making it easier for the proposal team to work together. The “scrum” framework is an increasingly popular way of doing this where you work in sprints to manage the project. This is where tasks are split up over the course of a week, for example, and the workload is reviewed at the end of each sprint to keep the project evolving.

During the course of the project, the team members involved might be given specific roles to keep the project on track, such as proposal manager, writer and customer representative. This ensures that the team gets the required input so that the proposal can keep moving forward.

The key to making this type of approach work is the right software tool where you can work in real-time with seamless collaboration abilities. This is more crucial than ever when we are all working and trying to maintain business continuity during a global pandemic.

Evolve your working practices with technology

Software tools are a necessary investment, not only for improving your processes when responding to RFPs, but for working effectively from different locations. A significant number of workforces are now relying on them to manage projects, facilitate team communication and replace in-person meetings. Proposal management software centralises everything so that you can focus on the important details.

Our document collaboration software solution facilitates secure access from your web browser to the proposal as it’s in progress. Upload a document to the software and assign tasks to the relevant stakeholders during the sprint. These tasks will automatically be sent out to each person by email with your specified deadline attached. You will be able to log in and see the status of each person’s review without having to chase them up manually.

Each reviewers’ contribution is saved as a suggested change. Everyone is working on a single version of the document, where all comments and conversations are included. This means you can review all the changes in one place, only implementing what is relevant. There are no duplicate versions, and all activity takes place within the software itself, making it quicker, easier and more productive.

This cuts out numerous email communications and unnecessary admin. Once you have an approved version of your document, you can choose the appropriate format to download it and then submit your proposal. Online document review has helped businesses to cut down review times by 65% and gain a cost saving of 35% in comparison to their traditional document review method.

Watch our webinar to discover how RFP software can revolutionise your bids and proposals and help to streamline your proposal management.

Written by

Mark Habgood

Mark Habgood is the product manager for PleaseReview. He was educated at the University of Nottingham and the University of Bradford School of Management and has a wealth of experience working across sectors such as telecommunications, media and technology.  He's worked with well-known brands including BT, Siemens, Marconi, PA Media and ESA.