Why Investing in A Proposal Content Library Can Save You Money
Drafting a proposal in time to meet a tight deadline can become overwhelming, especially if you are relatively new to government contracting. Because proposal development can be difficult and time-consuming, it’s important to equip yourself and your team with the best tools available before going for the gusto. Having an understanding of important key elements of proposal development will also help you increase the efficiency and consistency for each bid you draft.
Best practices for our Proposal Manager’s include ensuring we have more than adequate resources before any writing including:
- The right amount of staff available before we start an engagement
- A sound winning strategy that is clear and has the proper amount of buy-in
- A solid repeatable plan of attack to ensure compliance and coordination
- A close-out checklist to ensure all proposal activities have been completed
One of the most critical aspects of creating proposals is to be efficient in the process. So discovering new ways to improve your writing process can be effective in putting out consistent proposals within the assigned deadline. This also shapes the quality of a response to improve the chances of becoming the winning bid. Part of establishing efficiency is creating a solid proposal infrastructure to help you and your team quickly and easily access proposal content.
Why Create a Proposal Content Library for Proposal Responses?
Well, in order to respond to government Requests for Proposals (RFPs) you need to have the content right. You need to have the ability and flexibility to respond to proposal requirements within the allotted time-frame. How can you be responsive and efficient if you don’t have a process and repository for storing and collecting company content?
Creating a proposal content library can help you save the documents, boilerplate, graphics, and templates. Whether you are creating them from scratch or you wish to recycle your content, you need to have a place to centrally store all of this information, so you are not recreating the wheel every time you produce a proposal. Yes – you can SAVE TIME and write a solid proposal with a content library. Remember, time is a precious resource we cannot get back, so use it wisely!
A proposal content library forces you to think about how you want to access, store and collect company data along with access rights and operational efficiency. It can, not only assists with the management of time but also lay a foundation for storing, collecting and archiving your company data. It serves as a footprint for present and future writers and collaborators you bring onboard. You should also use it as a training tool for new and prospective employees.
Other proposal writing, pricing or contract writing software can be integrated into the library to create a proposal writing system that works best to suit proposal pursuit needs. If you are looking for something more robust, some content libraries have automation features and house all tools on one dashboard. Yes, you should have some automation within your proposal process.
How Do You Manage Your Content Using a Proposal Content Library?
To achieve the best possible results for your content library, there are 3 actions you must take:
- Establish a process for collecting information
- Establish a process for archiving information
- Establish a process for updating information
At the end of the day it’s a database, and without those 3 ground rules, you content library will be rendered useless.
We once worked with a client who invested thousands of dollars in a content library system, but the information maintained in the system proved to be useless, as we spent more time trying to find and fix content than actually writing it. It was a complete nightmare!
Your proposal writing library should be the primary source of your proposal material so, as long as you manage both new and existing content effectively, you should be able to rely on it for most of your proposal groundwork. When proposal writers need to draft new proposals, they can use the content library as a baseline approach but tailor a response based on the customer’s requirements. That alone can cut out 25% of redundancy in your work. Proposal writing is a unique skill, but the process behind the book should have efficiency tools built in to be efficient and consistent.
I have a library now what?
Ensure your system is running smoothly by investing the necessary resources into keeping it up to date. Regularly checking and updating information such as templates, boilerplate statements, resumes, past performance and pricing lists will help your team prepare early for upcoming bids. Expanding your content library by monitoring your archival process will help you create a more comprehensive database. You should also ensure you have a process to support your content collection process.
Data security and relevancy should be a top priority. A content management system that contains outdated or irrelevant unsecured data will not yield the kinds of results desired. It may not be necessary to have a database administrator, but you will need to spend some time thinking about how to streamline your data inputs while maintaining levels of the organization. Doing your process mapping on the front end will ensure your data integrity on the back-end.
If you want to know about other tools and tricks that can help you to streamline your proposal writing process, you shouldn’t miss our webinar on October 12, 2017. I’ll be sharing with you the tools my team and I use to stay focused on winning bids. As a bonus, we’ve prepared a toolkit with video resources and templates. You can reserve your spot here: http://bit.ly/ProposalWritingWebcast. I hope to meet you there!