When it comes to responding to Requests for Proposals (RFPs), the proposal manager has a big job, no matter what size your company is.
It’s the proposal manager’s job to oversee all of your company’s bids and proposals. They own the proposal process, and are responsible for building and directing your bid team. It’s their responsibility to understand the RFP, know what the client needs, and make sure the writers have all the information they need from Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to create a bid. They’re also responsible for coordinating edits, ensuring the draft is accurate, and getting the bid out to the customer in time.
In a large company, a proposal manager might be overseeing several bids or bid teams. In a small organization, however, the proposal manager might be the only dedicated member of a proposal team; they might be responsible for writing and edits as well as managing the bid process.
Whatever the organization’s size, however, the proposal manager is tasked with one of the most important roles in a company: meeting revenue goals. This can make for a stressful — and hectic — set of responsibilities.
How does the RFP response process typically work?
The bid process starts when a customer sends out a Request for Proposals, or an RFP. (In some companies, sales teams don’t wait for a RFP, sending out a proactive proposal instead.)
Traditionally, the RFP comes to the capture manager, who then passes the opportunity along to the proposal manager. The proposal manager reads through the RFP, notes which SMEs will need to provide input, and hands it off to the writers. In some cases the proposal manager will reach out to the SMEs, and in others, the writers will. The proposal manager then reads through the draft, coordinates edits, graphic design, and ensures the team meets the deadline.
It’s a lot to coordinate, especially if several proposals are being written, or if writers are having difficulties getting the information they need to write their proposals. Then the proposal manager may end up chasing down SMEs, or digging through old files for information that was sent previously.
One way to make the process easier is RFP automation.
What is RFP automation?
RFP automation is a type of sales enablement that uses technology to automate some of the more repetitive parts of the RFP response process. Using machine learning, templates, and a central library of content that has been used in previous bids, RFP automation pulls together a quick first draft of an RFP response that writers and proposal managers can then use as the basis for a more detailed, customized proposal.
How can RFP automation help proposal managers?
By using automated tools, proposal managers can simplify the big process in a number of ways. For example:
- No more chasing SMEs: Gone are the days of chasing an expert for an answer they’ve provided before. The SMEs can simply send in an answer once and it’s in the content library forever. Whenever a writer needs it, it’s there.
- Automate the boring stuff: Don’t waste your creatives’ time on the dull, time-consuming parts of the bid process. By pulling together a quick first draft, RFP automation lets your writers shine by letting them focus on the creative parts of the RFP response.
- Save time on research: How much time does your team waste looking for old information, statistics, or quotes? The content library puts all of that information right at their fingertips.
- Cost savings: Time is money. Contract writers will spend less time working on proposals if they can pull together a draft quickly.
- De-silo knowledge: A content library pulls knowledge out of silos across your organization and makes it available to everyone.
- Get through proposals quickly: By speeding up the proposal process, your team will be able to respond to more proposals in less time.
RFP software can make a proposal manager’s life easier
Managing an RFP response can be a time-consuming and tedious task. Using intelligent tools, however, can combine the best of machine learning and human skill to create solid RFP responses, and save time doing so.
Ombud’s RFP automation solution streamlines the proposal process so you and your team can do what they do best: create the very best RFP response they can.