Proposal Manager Challenge – Can you report on solicitation differences in under a minute?
You’ve been working off a draft solicitation. When the government issues a new version, how do you report on the changes? How long does it take to share with the team?
Here’s our challenge. Can you take two versions and report on all the differences in less than a minute, so it’s ready to work from? It’s possible. This blog will show you how.
When faced with revisions, most Proposal Managers compare them using one of the following ways:
- Manual checking
- Running the documents through MS Word or Adobe Pro Compare
- Using fit-for-purpose comparison solutions such as VT Docs’ Compare Docs feature
The first option is subject to human error and takes hours. And the second option is not-efficient. Microsoft designed MS Word to merge files, not to report on the textual differences. As a result, detecting changes this way is messy. You have to tease out formatting as well as text changes, and the interface is visual overload for the user. What’s more, you can’t report on the changes in this format, suitable for sharing with the team. How is pricing affected by any changes? Will our tech volume need updating? You therefore waste time copying and pasting the changes into another format. Normally an excel spreadsheet or word table, where you note the more risky or materially important changes.
VT Docs’ Compare Docs functionality is your best choice for reporting changes between two proposals. Here’s why.
What is Compare Docs?
Compare Docs is part of our VT Docs solution. It’s specifically designed to allow for easy and quick document comparisons, but more importantly, gives you a report you can use in 1-click. It identifies all the changes between two documents (MS Word or PDF) at the touch of a button.
How does it work?
It’s really easy to compare two versions of a document using Compare Docs. You just need to follow these four steps:
1. Select the documents you want to compare within VT Docs.
You can compare MS and PDF documents.
What if my document isn’t in PDF or MS Word format?
We’re often asked what to do if your document isn’t in the right format. For example, if you have a PowerPoint or Visio file. You’re often able to convert files like these into a PDF. So, if that’s the case, just export the document as a PDF first, and then run through these steps.
2. Hit “Compare”.
3. An export is instantly and automatically generated in Excel.
4. Navigate to the Excel document. You’ll see that it clearly indicates the variations in red.
Compare Docs highlights smaller changes such as repeated definitions, as well as larger issues such as new compliance factors. The information is clearly presented with the versions side by side and the variation indicated in the middle column.
Watch a video tutorial showing how to Compare Docs
What are the benefits of Compare Docs?
1. Saves time
Compare Docs saves Proposal Managers valuable time. For those using color-team vernacular, let’s say you’re in the Pink Team. You need to check thoroughly to make sure your latest version has all the correct amends. Following the steps above gives you a summary of all version changes in seconds. You can jump in and make any amends right there and then. Or easily send a summary to a colleague. In MS Word, the same work would take you hours.
We’ve worked with many individuals who have done just that. Take Karnita McElveen, VP of Operations and Program Management Office for ISCI. She used VT Docs, and Compare Docs, to “save days’ worth of time and effort.” She then put her saved hours to better use, and ultimately secured a promotion.
2. Improves accuracy
Using Compare Docs also takes the pressure off by automatically catching any errors. It gives you full confidence in the accuracy of your review process. Even the smallest changes are noted. For example, if a reference changes from 2.7 to 2.6.1 it will show.
3. Highlights RFP amendments
Do you ever get updated draft versions of the RFP, or amendments to the final version from the Government? Run them through Compare Docs. It will highlight new compliance factors that you need to pay attention to. And, all other amends to the RFP.
4. Makes proposals more likely to win
Using Compare Docs enables you to easily:
- Correct errors
- Identify compliance gaps or new compliance criteria
- Address instances of style that might make your proposal or contract less coherent
And it does this in an instant, freeing up your time to make sure the proposal is the best it can be. This, in turn, makes your proposal more likely to win.
5. Creates a running record of changes made
Danai Malianga, VP of Professional Services here at VisibleThread, mentioned this benefit as part of a recent Virtual Session. Compare Docs gives you a record of all updates made to your document. If you’ve ever had a colleague ask “were my changes actually made on version 10?” then you’ll understand the value of this. You can easily and quickly verify any updates without going back through emails and pages of documents.
6. Lets you review Teaming Partners’ submissions
Do you work with a subcontractor or a Teaming Partner? With Compare Docs, you can easily keep track of the documents they submit. The solution quickly flags any changes that have been made from version to version.
What customers say
We mentioned Karnita McElveen previously. She used VT Docs to win 100% of the proposals she worked on within her first six months at ISCI.
In her Virtual Session, Karnita also described a lesser known Compare Docs use case. When someone in the organization forgot to use Track Changes, her CEO faced hours of extra work recovering the document. Karnita was already using Compare Docs for version control. She realized that she was quickly able to restore the original using the solution. Great news for the CEO. Even better news for Karnita, who went on to get a promotion.
Jean E. Hook, contractor and formerly Boeing OKC, and her team at Boeing save hours per proposal. When it comes to Compare Docs she shared this with us: “[…] Compares take 10-15 minutes. The results come back in 1 Excel document with the 2 originals side-by-side … and take less than 10 minutes to completion, instead of 2-3 weeks […]” Check out her full testimonial here.
Use cases beyond proposals
We’ve focused on proposals for this blog. Of course, you can use Compare Docs in many other areas of the business. For example, checking amended contracts, comparing versions of a report, updating marketing materials or pricing sheets.
The takeaway here is simple. Whenever you have two documents to review, Compare Docs is your secret weapon.