At QorusDocs, we work closely with bid, proposal, and sales teams from around the world. They often turn to us for advice on to how to quickly prepare targeted, engaging proposals, but they also want to make sure their bid managers, business developers, and subject matter experts (SMEs) can locate and use content efficiently and collaborate remotely on documents.
To this end, we worked with APMP to present a webinar that walks you through how you can use the powerful combo of QorusDocs and Microsoft 365 to build beautiful proposals and increase the efficiency and productivity of your proposal process for all team members.
David Clothier, VP of Account Management at QorusDocs, connected with Olivia Hardy from Catalytique Consulting to chat about proposals, and specifically, how to use Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Teams to take your proposals to the next level to win more business. Olivia lends insight into how to use everyday MS tools to alleviate four common pain points that hamper the proposal process for many companies. The top takeaways include:
- How to manage unpredictable workloads
- Best ways to collaborate with SMEs
- Differentiation through formatting and personalization
- Metrics that matter
Challenge #1: Unpredictable workload
Even with a careful capture plan, you can’t control when RFPs are going to land on your desk. During peak times, when RFPs are flowing in at a rapid pace, it can feel like you need a small army to not only get through the workload, but to make sure each RFP response has the potential to close the deal.
Quiet periods are equally hard to forecast so proposal teams tend to be small; many people involved in proposal writing and management roles find themselves fulfilling other roles in the organization. This structure makes sense during slow periods but puts additional strain on the team when the volume of RFPs increases.
In order to cope with fluctuating RFP volumes, it’s important to have the technology and processes that enable you to scale capacity without sacrificing quality. The secret to managing this ebb and flow of demand is a robust proposal management platform that drives efficient processes, ensures up-to-date content (including a well-managed content library and templates), and leverages smart automation.
Challenge #2: Collaboration across the organization
Collaborating with SMEs can be quite taxing but you can’t blame them for not wanting to be asked the same questions over and over again, especially when they’re busy with their other responsibilities. Plus, SMEs likely aren’t fond of having to log into yet another system to respond to you. In the absence of a solid collaboration strategy, the result is often email chaos, with impossible-to-follow threads you must try to piece together into a coherent response.
Sometimes SMEs don’t respond to your request, making the process even more frustrating and time-consuming. You find yourself chasing down colleagues to get the information you need; no one wants to send one “friendly reminder” after another.
The solution is to adopt technology that already fits into their day-to-day work routine, such as Microsoft Teams, in order to enable bid teams and SMEs to collaborate easily. And by documenting answers from SMEs to create knowledge libraries in QorusDocs, you can build out a single source of truth that simplifies and streamlines proposal creation going forward.
Challenge #3: Formatting and personalization
At the very minimum, a proposal or RFP response needs to be compliant and look professional in order to be given serious consideration. If you want to stand out from the crowd, the proposal needs to both look beautiful and be personalized for its target audience. Indeed, a winning proposal is visually appealing, easy to digest, on point, and demonstrates strong customer focus.
Not all organizations have the luxury of sending their documents to a graphic designer who’ll use specialized software (e.g., InDesign) to finalize the formatting and create a professional-looking proposal. If you’re a small organization without a graphic designer on speed dial, you can still create a polished, on-brand proposal using Word or PowerPoint.
Microsoft Office has some great design layouts and theming functionality that you don’t have to be a graphic designer to use. Alternatively, you can purchase Word proposal templates online that you can personalize to your needs. And to further simplify the process, AI-powered QorusDocs Smart Templates enable you to create and instantly personalize new presentations and documents from your existing Office 365 content within minutes.
Challenge #4: Understanding what’s driving your success
Organizations are always under pressure to do more with less—and bid, proposal, and sales teams are no exception. Teams focus on constant improvement, trying to make their efforts count by doing the “right” things. However, without metrics that help you understand the impact of your work, it’s almost an impossible task; if you don’t know what’s contributing towards your higher win rate, it’s going to be difficult to continue on that winning path.
Thankfully, the challenge of measuring and understanding impact is a problem that is easy to solve with the right technology—and QorusDocs has the smart analytics capabilities that help you fine-tune your processes, your content, and your templates.
From a sales process perspective, you can get a historical sense of:
- who’s been using the system the most
- who’s created the most Pursuits
- which member of the sales team has won the most Pursuits
- the value of all the Pursuits
- who’s the top closer in terms of success rate or dollar value
On the client side, QorusDocs dashboards provide detailed intelligence to focus your team on the critical insights that matter to your prospects. The built-in measurement tools track engagement metrics, including how long a reader stays on each page of your proposal, what they click on, and what they share. By understanding what’s driving the success of your proposal process, QorusDocs helps you sustain continuous improvement to boost sales and strengthen the bottom line.
Watch the webinar replay to see David walk you through how to use QorusDocs—in combination with the familiar MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Teams—to create personalized, on-brand RFP responses and proposals that will help you close deals.