An article by Fergal McGovern in APMP NCA Ezine
How would you describe your current proposal process? Do you use a color-team vernacular; pink, red, gold, etc.? Do you have a capture planning stage? Now when you think about your process, how much of the work is automated?
Does any of this sound familiar?
If you’re not yet using automation for your process, then I’ll bet the following words/phrases may resonate. Time-consuming. Tedious. Herding cats. Frustrating. Resource-heavy. It’s clear that, for many, the proposal process is far from ideal. Proposal Managers in Bid Centers often work long hours carrying out repetitive, manual tasks. Examples of these tasks include:
- Creating a compliance matrix by hand.
- Checking for correctly defined acronyms.
- Deleting or defining industry terms and jargon.
- Editing what a technical colleague has written. Or re-writing it so it’s more understandable, with a single tone of voice.
- Identifying compliance gaps in the proposal.
- Aligning win themes and making sure the proposal complies with the requirements.
- Finding and making sure you’re compliant with FAR/DFAR clauses.
- Correcting factual errors.
- Checking whether we’ve addressed similar requirements in the past.
- Making sure we have the right resumes and capabilities bundled in our response.
- Finding the best teaming partners.
No doubt you could expand the list with your own examples. Basically, “copy and paste” is the Proposal Manager’s best friend–and simple search in MS Word (CTRL + F5) and PDFs. Or these may be your worst enemy if you think about how much time you spend doing them. Do you ever wonder whether your skills could be put to better use? Whether your time could be better spent?
Automation technology helps you to do exactly that. It comes with three distinct advantages to your process, to your team, and to your career.
1. Automation improves processes
Before you even get started on an RFP response, your team is spending time reading through an RFP and manually creating a compliance matrix using copy and paste. How long does that usually take? What would it mean if automation could reduce this down to minutes?
Now let’s dive into the RFP response. Often a group of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), proposal managers, marketing, and operations people complete different areas of the proposal. Everyone adds their expertise, great. But they also write in a their own style. Not so great. The final proposal often suffers from three issues:
- Inconsistent tone and readability
- Potential acronym soup
- Possible compliance issues due to missed requirements
When you work with document analysis software like VT Docs, you get a complete solution. This includes simple-to-use tools to:
- Ensure consistent tone across all teams and SMEs
- Define all acronyms once, in the right section of the document, and create an appendix automatically
- Reduce errors due to missed compliance requirements
And those are just three areas where automation and technology can assist with the proposal process. There are many more!