Proposal automation is the practice of using technology to automate any part of the bid process. If, for example, your company responds to several Requests for Proposals (RFPs) in a year, proposal; automation can take some of the burden off your writers by automating the most repetitive and time-consuming parts of the task.
Proposal automation doesn’t mean entire RFP responses will be written by a piece of software; only your human writers can put together the engaging proposal that can win business for your organization. Automation, however, does make your bid team jobs easier. It’s a kind of sales enablement, which gives your revenue team the tools they need to be better at their jobs. Enablement is a game-changer for companies, according to Hubspot which finds that 61% of sales organizations using automated tools exceeded their revenue targets in 2021.
Below are 11 ways proposal tools can save your company time and money.
- Automation lets your writers edit instead of draft
Imagine that your team didn’t have to write an entire bid from scratch. Instead, a platform pulled together a rough draft for them to customize to the needs of a client. Ombud’s platform uses templates and a content library made up of your best sales content to do just that. After Ombud takes a first pass at a draft, your writers sit down and rewrite it, tailoring the bid to your customer. It’s a much quicker and more effective way to put together a bid.
- Remove the dullest, most tedious parts of the job
Copying and pasting, digging through old files, moving from document to document to find the information you need: these are the sorts of mind-numbing tasks that often lead to mistakes while writing. Free up your creatives to actually write their best copy by using tools to automate these dull tasks. AI is great at repetitive work, and can do it quickly, without tiring. It also leaves the more engaging parts of writing a bid to your writers, which will make them happy. After all, they took this job to write, not to copy-paste all day.
- Automation saves time on research
How much time does your team spend looking for the information they need to respond to a bid? They might waste time poring over old RFP responses, dig through their inbox for that quote from a Subject Matter Expert (SME) that was just perfect for a bid, or spend hours in a company knowledge base. Ombud removes this part of the writing process by keeping all your sales information, including SME responses, in one single, searchable location.
- Stop chasing SMEs
When an RFP comes in, your writers likely start hunting down SMEs who can contribute much-needed answers to the proposal. Unfortunately, because SMEs have a range of duties within an organization, getting back to the proposal team might not be at the top of their to-do list. A content library allows you to store all the answers you’ve already gotten from SMEs, so you don’t have to ask every single time. This also has the added benefit of not annoying SMEs who have been asked several times for the same information.
- Cut down on hourly costs
Not all companies have a bid team in house. If you’re paying contractors by the hour to write your RFP responses, an automated tool can save them time and save you money on their next invoice.
- Get information out of data silos
Knowledge silos develop when one person or department has knowledge that no one else shares. If someone else in the organization needs that information, they need to find the person who owns that data and ask for it. This can take a lot of time, and it’s not an ideal situation for teams that need to quickly put an RFP together. A company-wide content library can pull knowledge out of silos across your organization and make it available to everyone who needs it.
- Keep information from leaving your organization
Data silos can be damaging in another way; if a person who holds one key piece of data leaves the organization, that information might be gone forever. Even if they don't permanently leave, say if they’re out sick or taking PTO, it may impact deadlines if your writers can’t reach them for the information they need. A content library can manage that knowledge by keeping information in the company when the person who owns it leaves.
- Get your team back to their usual jobs
Not all bid teams are dedicated to writing proposals. According to research from the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) 45% of bid professionals report that proposals are just one part of a larger job. Many proposal professionals work in marketing, sales, or business development. When automation can help them write proposals more quickly, they’re able to get back to their other responsibilities, making more money for your company.
- Create a better bid process
Machines need consistency. To work well, automation requires a well-thought-out and streamlined business process. By using proposal automation, you’ll be creating a better bidding process, getting rid of unnecessary steps, and adding the ones you need.
- Respond to more RFPs
This is basic math: the less time your team spends on each bid, the more time they’ll have to respond to more proposals. According to VentureBeat, organizations that automate parts of the RFP process respond to an average of 43% more RFPs per year.By increasing the volume of well-written proposals you send out, you’ll be able to increase your company’s revenue.
- Apply proposal automation to other processes
Proposal automation need not be restricted to just RFP response. It can also be used to speed up other time-consuming processes, like statements of work (SOWs) or security questionnaires. Any document that needs information from different parts of your organization can be automated, saving time and money.
Work smarter, not harder
When it comes to winning business for your company, a well-written proposal is key. Good proposals should be well-researched, engaging, and tailored to your customer, putting them and their needs first.
Unfortunately, those kinds of proposals take time. If your team is trying to respond to several RFPs at once, if you’re a small business, or if you have a complex product, you might not have the time you need to build solid, well-crafted proposals. Tools like Ombud combine content collaboration, project management, and machine learning to streamline the creation of RFP responses, security questionnaires, sales proposals, statements of work, and more. This saves you and your team both time and money.
Interested in learning more about Ombud’s RFP software? Request a demo here.