“We need to increase the quality of our proposal documents – and reduce the amount of time we spend on them.”
A team of consulting professionals was struggling to handle an increasing load of new business proposals. The consultants handled proposal writing, formatting and production themselves, with support from admins and generalist marketers. Capacity and quality issues started to emerge. The business questioned the amount of time spent on pursuits – specifically, whether developing proposal documents represented the highest and best use of consultants’ time.
A re-thinking of the proposal development process was indicated. The team needed to consider strategies to:
- Move repetitive, process driven work from the business to support functions
- Increase efficiency of the process through specialization
- Reduce effort through application of technology and content management
- Increase impact by reducing time spent on low probability, low value opportunities
We documented the end-to-end steps of the proposal process, showing time spent by the business and support staff on each step. Using this current-state analysis, we were able to cost-justify increasing the budget for proposal support.
With funding in place, we organized a virtual proposal support team – staffed by a combination of new hires and existing marketing generalists looking to specialize in their careers. Standard templates, workflows and processes ensured that the team members (located at multiple sites) were able to collaborate and maintain consistency.
We augmented the team with group of proposal writing specialists in India, managed by an offshoring vendor. We also implemented “proposal wizard” technology enabling the business to create draft proposal documents assembled from a library of standard content blocks.
Finally, we established a requirement for the business to conduct a “go/no-go” analysis on each supported proposal, to reduce time spent on opportunities that represented a poor fit for the business.
The new proposal support team and processes were successfully put in place within a six-month window. The consultants appreciated the increased support levels available for routine proposals. Over time, the new team demonstrated its ability to contribute to higher-value, more strategic opportunities. The average value per proposal supported doubled over a two-year period.
The business experienced:
- Lower cost of sales, by reducing consultants’ involvement in the minutiae of proposal documents
- Increased ROI on the investment in proposal support, by helping the team focus on more strategic pursuits,