Read this before you hire another Proposal Manager
Unemployment in the US is the lowest it’s been since 1969 – over 50 years ago. The unemployment rate is currently 3.5% across the country, and within the Government industry it’s even lower at 1.8%. It’s great news for the economy. And for employees, who now have more power than ever. But it presents some challenges for hiring a proposal manager. Not least, how to keep hold of the excellent employees in their company? And how to replace the ones that leave?
And the government contracting sector sees extra hiring challenges that are unique to the industry. The proposal / contract process is typically time and resource-heavy. Proposal / Bid Managers spend hours carrying out repetitive, manual tasks. Examples of these tasks include:
- Creating a compliance matrix by hand.
- Acronym checking.
- Identifying gaps.
- Aligning win themes.
- Deleting or defining jargon.
- Checking and comparing versions.
- Ensuring the proposal uses a consistent tone of voice.
- Editing, editing, editing.
And that’s just for starters. Proposal managers are busy. They can barely keep up with their growing workload, with 70 hour weeks not uncommon. They are stressed, and crying out for help. The usual reaction from management? Put out another job advert. Keep hiring. But with 1.8% unemployment, this is no longer working. The hiring pool is shrinking.
There is another way
Einstein said that “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got”. Sometimes we need to think creatively to change our situation. And if we want the edge on our competitors, we need to do something different. Challenge the status quo.
So here’s an alternative solution to our hiring dilemma. What if we focussed not just on headcount, but also on improving and streamlining the proposal process?
There are solutions to help with this. VisibleThread Docs (VT Docs) is document analysis software for proposal and contract teams. Its features include:
- Shredding RFPs & creating Compliance Matrices in minutes
- Checking for acronyms
- Ensuring tone consistency across all teams and SMEs
- Allowing you to easily compare drafts and versions, and spot mistakes
But how does this help you with your hiring issues, you might ask? There are two key ways.
1. Document analysis software helps you save on hires
Our customers tell us that using VT Docs saves their staff time. And when hours are shaved off the working week, we need fewer people to complete the same tasks.
Holly Meyer, Director – Business Development of Noridian, said “…we have seen an 80% decrease in the amount of time it takes to shred a contract, and develop a matrix to evaluate our performance against that contract.”
We also work with Boeing, who reported an 85% saving in total hours per proposal. You can get more detail on these savings in this webinar from Boeing.
In fact, VT Docs saves our clients, on average, 66.7 hours per proposal. The average American works 44 hours per week. Let’s assume one proposal takes one week. That’s more or less 1.5 extra employees, in the shape of some powerful software. So before you leap to publish that new job ad – take a minute. It might be worth investigating how much time your business could save with a smart investment in software.
2. VT Docs Helps You Keep Your Best People
Author Tammy Cohen said: “A great employee is like a four leaf clover. Hard to find and lucky to have”. We agree wholeheartedly. We’re not advocating replacing people with robots. Far from it. In fact, we believe that your good people are your best assets. Your job is to find ways to keep them, and optimize their work practices.
So in this competitive job market, how do you make sure your Proposal Team stays loyal to you? What sets you apart from other employers that means you’re able to retain your most talented employees? Trust us, it’s not just about a good 401(k) match and a ping pong table in the staff room.
Put yourself in the shoes of your Proposal Manager. She spends most of her day cutting and pasting from one document to another. Or checking that jargon has been defined correctly. Making sure, that complex content produced by the tech volume is understandable. Or putting a capital letter on your brand name because everyone else forgets to. She’s busy, stressed, and tired.
That’s why solutions like VT Docs save the sanity of your best employees. Because they take the repetitive tasks completely off the menu. She’s free to put her uniquely human skills to better use. For example, using her experience to consider how to best pitch proposals. Getting more job satisfaction because she’s more able to carefully craft a winning proposal. She’s able to focus on quality, rather than speed. She can add more strategic value since the mundane tasks are automated. That’s job satisfaction right there.
It’s a numbers game
The difference between you and your closest competitor is numbers. Most people look at headcount. More people = more hours to create that winning proposal. Yes, you could hire more people. Or you could get the same, or better, results by improving and automating your proposal process. Putting your best employees onto more strategic, value add work. And making them feel more valued at the same time.
And while we’re talking about numbers, research also shows us that the software leads to not only decreased costs, but increased win rates too. Across the customers we surveyed in 2019, the average saving was $528k in staff time per year. And an increase in revenue of $438,849,249, from improving pWIN. Happy staff, and a healthy bottom line. That’s the right kind of numbers game.