Tag Archives: proposal management tool

New Year, Better Workflows: The Best Proposal Management Tool Alternative to Upland Qvidian and Loopio in 2020

It’s that time of year again – reevaluating what works, what doesn’t, and what is the best proposal management tool for your team. Your hard-working team drudges through mountains of government request for proposals (RFPs), combs through months of previous proposals for SME intel, and patiently waits for updates on the progress of individual task assignment, all while attempting to craft quality proposals that will land renewable contracts.

They’re frustrated… and now the next influx of government RFPs are on the way. The only recourse is to find a timesaving, cost-effective solution.

What’s the best solution for proposal teams?

In today’s technology-driven world, there are enough platforms, devices, and software to take the frustration out of human error – and give complex teams peace of mind. Proposal teams of all sizes and structure have options for relief in some of the industry’s best proposal management software.

The search for the right one does not have to be overwhelming.

You want a proposal management software that provides complete support, is easy to use and simple to learn, and does not cost an arm and a few legs to purchase. Right?

The next step is to decide what tool works best for your team, whether a small, cross-functional team working with local partners, a large team of several in-person and remote SMEs, or a mix of both.

While there are several tools to choose from, there are some that offer advantages for small to corporate teams in different ways: collaboration, content tracking, affordable pricing, and competitive edge.

That said, Zbizlink offers that value and a free trial offer if your team just wants to feel it out.

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Up there with Upland Qvidian, Loopio, and RFP360, Zbizlink keeps pace with the industry’s top competitors. Take a look at the features chart to see how competitors stack up.

zzToolCloud/SaaSRFPParserResumeParserContentLibraryAuditTrailSignatureTrackingAutollTemplatesMobilePricingAvailable onWebsiteContactVendorContactVendorContactVendor

Features comparison chart

Let’s talk about these features. Generally, several industry-standard features provide the automation support you need to speed proposal development and team productivity.

This is how:

  • Cloud/SaaS tools are web-based and easily accessible anywhere. Your information is saved to the cloud with unlimited storage and are easily integrated with other web-based tools.
  • A content library increases automation and helps answer FAQs so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel for every…single…proposal.
  • An audit trail enables tracking for all changes and updates to information sections or documents (depending on tool capability). Zbizlink allows both.
  • Signature tracking enables your team to require signature for contractual agreements and provides a safe and secure way to manage contracts right in the tool.
  • Autofill saves lives. You don’t have to worry about rewriting the same content for other required sections. Autofill maps data to fill similar responses where applicable.
  • Templates save time in proposal design and the organization of information. They also set a standard for your team’s proposals. Zbizlink’s templates are customizable.
  • Mobile compatibility enables your team to have 24/7 access to important updates and work seamlessly while you’re traveling.

Now what about the RFP Parser and Resume Parser, and pricing? Thought you’d never ask.

6 ways Zbizlink outpaces competitors

Zbizlink has the features proposal teams need to get the productivity and maximized value they want for long-term measurable results. On top of that, Zbizlink boasts these unique features and benefits:

  • Transparent, Affordable Pricing. Zbizlink is transparent and upfront about pricing – it’s right on the website. To be fair, Upland Qvidian, Loopio, and RFP360 are great tools, but the cost must be so outrageous that they don’t want it listed on any public space. You must “contact vendor” to request a demo. Zbizlink helps small to large companies stay competitive with monthly subscriptions.

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Level 1 1 Seat

$199 / month
Level 2 5 Seat

$398 / month
Level 3 10 Seat

$796 / month
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Zbizlink’s affordable pricing packages

  • RFP Parser and Resume Parser. The next time you have a 50+ page government solicitation document or a lengthy IT resume to review and edit, think of all the time you will save using Zbizlink’s Parser. The Parser acts as a smart RFP software that extracts information and organizes it into manageable sections or requirement-specific templates…in under a minute.
  • Task Assignment Status Tracking. No longer do you have to wonder, “who is doing what and when will they be done?” Zbizlink allows proposal managers and writers to assign tasks based on requirement and employee role. It then gives a full picture of who is assigned to each individual task and how long it takes to complete. The whole team will know who is holding up progress. Imagine how that discourages delays.
  • File Recovery. Zbizlink is one of very few tools that offer easy file recovery. How? Nothing is deleted. As you declutter, files are simply archived — not deleted— and only if you choose can files be permanently removed.
  • Calendar Sync. Every person on the team is busy – at work and at home. Zbizlink’s calendar sync option makes it easy for your team to stay on-track with all upcoming assignments, as well as other calendared priorities. Sync your Outlook or Gmail calendar with the Zbizlink Scheduler and get a complete schedule with automatic reminders.
  • Social Sharing Platform. Stay connected with your professional community. Just one more step ahead, the Zbizlink Activity Panel allows you to share information (company updates, candidate openings, and so on) with your business partners and our robust user community. You can even share internal posts directly to LinkedIn and Facebook.
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Competitors At-A-Glance

There’s a reason Zbizlink can compete. Upland Qvidian, Loopio, and RFP360 offer viable solutions that help proposal teams and individuals with proposals, just in different ways.

Here are the core solutions in a nutshell:

ToolCore SolutionsCore MessagingClaim to Fame
zbizlink logo Proposal Management Capture Management Resource Management Teaming Management Templates Management Opportunity Lifecycle Management Zbizlink is a dynamic, cloud-based proposal management tool that helps proposal teams automate the proposal process. Finish the proposal 3Xs as fast – so your team can go home. Zbizlink helps proposal teams save tons of time by automating more than 80% of their daily tasks.
qvidian logo Proposal Automation Automated Workflows Customized ReportingQvidian delivers the only proposal automation solution fit for an enterprise, offering security, compliance, and simplicity at scale.RFP Software Delivering a 28% Win Rate Improvement
zbizlink logoRFP Automation
RFP Integration
RFP Response
App Integrations
Success Manager
Loopio’s RFP response software streamlines the way enterprises respond to RFPs, RFIs, and Security Questionnaires. Our platform makes sales content accessible and enables collaboration across the organization.Respond To RFPs, DDQs, & Security Questionnaires 35% Faster
zbizlink logo

Knowledge Management
Answer Intelligence
Web extensions
App integrations

RFP issue and response
At RFP360, we offer the only full-circle RFP management solution designed for issuers and responders.Cut project response time in half. Create twice as many opportunities. Double your pipeline. Boost your win rate.

Zbizlink is a niche proposal management tool that helps small to large companies secure business with the public sector and commercial.

Upland Qvidian is a proposal automation tool that is great for fast proposal completion, but not so good with team communication, opportunity assessment, or resource matching.

Loopio and RFP360 support infosec and the RFP issue and proposal response process respectively.

In the end, it all comes down to what will save your team from the most stress and your company the most money.

Still can’t decide, huh?

Zbizlink offers even more

Zbizlink solutions are ideal for proposal teams apt for government solicitations, collaboration with several SMEs and internal or external business partners, and those that seek affordable, transparent pricing packages.

Proposal Management

Zbizlink Capture Management and Opportunity Tracking

Solutions include, but are not limited to:

  • Proposal Management. Maintain visibility into the full proposal management process with tracked updates and role-specific dashboards. Foster collaborative communication amongst the entire team using instant messaging and an email integration feature. Streamline document sharing and contract sign-off with secure signature tracking, and automate the proposal lifecycle with global autofill, customizable templates, and a content library.
  • Capture Management. Develop capture strategy based on the evaluation of opportunity-specific information and overall opportunity assessment of win/loss metrics and centralized knowledge. Your team makes Go/No-Go decisions faster based on Qualification Scores and partner ratings.
  • Resource & Partner Matching. Simplify recruiting and teaming management with direct invitations, search functionality drilled down to skill, past performance, and unique capability, visibility into robust profiles, and resource sharing. With access to a database of resumes and skills matrices, your team spends less time finding and onboarding qualified talent and can choose competitive resources or partners right in the tool.

Additional Features: Single sign-on, drag and drop editing, customizable dashboards, resume builder, version control, and notifications.

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Whichever solution you choose to help ease your team’s RFP pipeline woes, just make sure it helps you win more business, grows your teaming potential, and you won’t need a whole tech support conference just to recover previous files.

Happy Proposal Writing!

Let us know in the comments how you think Zbizlink stacks up as the best proposal management tool.

How to Manage the Proposal Development Lifecycle

The development lifecycle of a proposal starts way before the RFP is received and this article will help you discover how to manage the full proposal development lifecycle. Many proposal writers seldom seem to pay attention to this and most often, it is because the process takes a lot of support and even more time. Another reason is that proposal writers do not have the right proposal management tools to help them manage and curate this information throughout the proposal development lifecycle.

In this article, we want to stress what information you must collect, and where you must begin. Collecting information never ends, but at a bare minimum, this article will tell you what to gather during the proposal development lifecycle to make your proposal persuasive, informative, and intelligent.

It starts with the sales team identifying the right market segments. Your market research teams identify and explore target markets and assess your potential to succeed in the market. Then, the benchmark your capabilities and figure out if the market is already saturated with similar players offering similar solutions. Once they have figured that out, they define a clear strategy that reduces the impact of your competition’s strengths and increases the effectiveness of your organization’s strengths. It would be great to have a proposal management software that will track these parameters- as often, this critical information gets lost in a pile of irrelevant email threads.

It is critical for any proposal author or manager to be aware of the inputs derived from previous phases of the lifecycle. Otherwise, when they write the proposal, the proposal will be void of the vital win themes that can be obtained from market assessment and strategic targeting. Therefore a proposal management software that tracks all these elements is so essential to business success

Once the market penetration strategy is developed, the organization must market the product or services they specialize in. They must implement their marketing strategy as planned, lest the potential customer misunderstands what we have to offer. In this phase, the marketing agents must note and track the conversations with potential customers, what they have to say about their needs and requirements. A proposal management software with opportunity management and assessment tools will be a great addition here to pick the right opportunities to pursue. The collection of this information and its effective duration is essential, and yet oft-ignored part of the proposal development lifecycle.

At this point, the sales team needs to circle down on the right opportunities to pursue. They must pick the battles that they can win, lest they waste their resources and energy on dreams and mirages they cannot feasibly reach. They must keep records of the strategy using a proposal management software so that those who are working on the proposal will know the strategy to implement in the writing

Once the marketing has been completed and customers are aware, the opportunities available must be assessed and funneled out. For this, the proposal development team and the sales teams must participate together in industry briefings, customer intelligence reports, and gathering specific program intelligence. At this phase, the customer’s requirements must be understood, and an initial position with the customer must be cultivated. Competitor strategies and how to overcome them must be an essential part of the opportunity assessment phase. Once all this information is collected, preferably on a proposal management software/ platform, the opportunity pursuit decision (also called Go/ No-Go decision) must be taken. Usually, organizations do not consider this information and seldom pass it on to the next and more crucial stage of the proposal development lifecycle- where the business proposal is written and developed.

The Bid Decision must be based on the answers to the following questions at a minimum:

  • Does the opportunity fit within our capabilities?
  • Who is the incumbent? Can we partner with the incumbent?
  • Do we have a good relationship with the customer?
  • Do we know and understand the client’s needs, goals and the impact of the solution?
  • Do we possess the resources and commitment to pull this off?
  • Can we deliver the proposal within the right timeframe?

It is important not just to ask these questions but also to keep the outcome within a system that can be accessed by those who are working on the proposal. If we do not have a systematic way of preserving and obtaining this crucial information, it is very likely that our win rates will succumb to the pits. A proposal management software will help to save this information and allow relevant members to access it throughout the proposal development lifecycle

Once the opportunity assessment phase is completed, we arrive at the proposal development phase. In this scenario, we either get the RFP from the customer, or we write a proactive proposal. The proposal manager must study the RFP or the statement of client requests to thoroughly understand the customer’s stated and unstated needs. Inferences need to be made, but of course, within the confines of logic. Any clarifications required are to be duly noted and circulated within the teams that are authoring the proposal. Once this is done, the team responsible must initiate a kick-off call and progress towards the development of the proposal from thereon.

The average proposal has about 100 micro iterations and ten major iterations throughout its lifecycle. Having the proposal in a single location where teams work collaboratively is a key to bidding and proposal success. We recommend using software like Zbizlink which can help you throughout the proposal development lifecycle. From capture management to opportunity assessment. From proposal development to delivery – Zbizlink is the best proposal management software to help you navigate the proposal development lifecycle.

Find the winning 03 tips to federal proposal writing

03 Tips to Better Federal Proposal Writing

Federal government requests for proposal (RFPs) are in a different ball game no matter your experience as proposal writer. Federal government RFPs are usually always harder to read with complex jargon and legal terminology layered in nearly every single section. Proposal teams can use RFP software and the below federal proposal writing tips (and a bonus tip) to respond well to a federal government RFP and be compliant.

Tip 1: Know what is in each section

  • Section A contains the most basic information such as contact information, important addresses, solicitation number, guidelines and deadlines for submission, specific submission instructions, and even information on current incumbents.
  • Section B requires you to enter information on billing. You will need to enter in detail line by line on various billable expenses such as travel, labor, supplies, etc
  • Section C gives you the Statement of Work (SOW). The SOW forms the essence of what services are required and how they are expected to be delivered. It is crucial that this chapter must be thoroughly studied and analyzed by the delivery teams.
  • Section L gives you details on formatting, organizing and laying out of content. It may also contain additional submission requirements- such as a maximum page count, margin, spacing, font, etc.
  • Section M gives you details on how you will be scored and what are the scoring criteria. Focusing on this will help you evolve a strategy that will enable you to have a high likelihood of winning the deal. Reading section M and C together will enhance your ability to create a sound winning strategy and value proposition.
  • Section K has information on representations or certifications that you need to provide. This is especially important if the RFP requires only a specific type of a bidder, such as a US Firm, a minority bidder, a woman-led enterprise, etc.

Step 2: Ensure 100% compliance with a compliance matrix

Often, proposal writers and managers avoid creating compliance matrices because they may take much time to prepare. They feel that they would be more productive if they directly spend their time in responding to the RFP. However, industry studies have shown that creating a compliance matrix before writing an RFP response actually saves more time than they take to prepare.

Even if your font size does not match the compliance criteria mentioned in section L, your proposal will be instantly dismissed. It is crucial therefore that each compliance factor is captured well and adhered to by the proposal writers and contributors. We strongly recommend using a good capture management tool to auto-fetch the compliance factors, or to note down the compliance factors in a spreadsheet manually. Zbizlink provides a capture management tool that will fetch all relevant compliance factors for you so that you can focus on what is more important: strategy.

Tip 3: Read and Ask, Don’t Assume

Proposal writers who work on federal RFPs end up being either too complacent or too stressed while responding to a federal RFP. They either overthink of the RFP or too little. While you can use the above federal proposal writing tips to find the information you need, depending only on the above guidelines may cause you to miss out on some important guidelines that may be hidden in other sections of the RFP. Hence, it is a good practice to glance through the entire RFP once to ensure that you have not missed anything before the kick-off call. During the kickoff call, allocate specific chapters to be re-read by a specific date by specific accountable proposal contributors. Since federal RFPs have long response times, ensure that the entire RFP is read thoroughly before responding.

Just like how proposals contain much boilerplate content, RFPs also contain much boilerplate content. Contradictions and confusions are commonplace. If you are not sure what the RFP’s intention is in-regard-to a specific matter, ensure that you ask about it. You can usually find guidelines for queries on the RFP and how they can be addressed in section L of the federal RFP. Ensure that the RFP is thoroughly read, and all queries are noted and sent to the customer by the date mentioned in section L.

Bonus Tip: Use the best proposal management software.

Good proposal management software will help you organize the proposal and implement the 03 federal proposal writing tips above. Instead of wasting time on mundane tasks such as finding compliance factors, getting approvals and developing and maintaining proposal schedules, a good proposal management software will help you do the same, with a lot less effort.

Zbizlink is entirely online, ensuring that all communication regarding a proposal is available in one place. It also helps you with scheduling, getting approvals, ensuring compliance, finding resumes and teaming with partners who have relevant resources, among other things. Save time. Don’t bid to respond. Bid to win, with Zbizlink.

07 Quick Tips to Find the Best Proposal Management Tool

Every single seller will tell you that their proposal management tool is undisputed, unequivocally, unmistakably the best proposal management software in the whole wide world. The fact is that you are the decision-maker and have the power to truly define what is the right proposal management tool for you.

When there are so many proposal management software out there, how do you select something that really solves your problems instead of making them worse, or at the least, does what it claims to do?

Consider these 07 quick tips to find the best proposal management tool:

#1. Relevance over aesthetics:

We’ve been given this advice since childhood: don’t fall for the shiny new thing. Yet, the human brain falls victim to how things look before full assessment takes place. Aesthetic is for date night and house warmings, not software selection. Beware of tools in the market that look great but don’t serve the purposes that matter. Aesthetics come only second to effectiveness and relevance to your problem.

#2. What exactly are your requirements?

We’ve noticed that quite often, organizations do not have a good set of requirements when they are procuring an RFP software or proposal management tool. Usually, out of frustration, money is thrown at the first thing that seems to give a solution.

It is a good practice to have a well-thought-out and realistic set of requirements when seeking a proposal management software. For instance, if one of your requirements is to improve communication between team members, it makes less sense to purchase a popular tool that does not offer native team collaboration features.

Focus on your key needs and priorities and seek a tool that solves the biggest problems best.

#3. The best tools can be used for free:

Vendors should offer their tool for a free trial period, or at least allow you to make the request (bet you never considered that). Take the opportunity to test and use the free version of the tool. You’re not under commitment and you have full control over your choice. During the trial, see if you are comfortable using the tool and make notes on the features and benefits to be able to reference later or show management.

#4. Does it save time and effort?

Ever chopped down a tree? If you have, you know using a chainsaw is more effective than using an ax, because it takes less time to chop a tree with a chain saw than an ax. It also reduces the effort needed to do so. Not that we recommend chopping down trees.

The point is the same logic goes for proposal management tools. Ask the following questions when making your decision:

  • Does it save time and effort in proposal development?
  • Can you quantify the time and effort saved by using the tool?
  • Will you save money or an equivalent amount of time using this tool?

Answering yes to all the above questions is a good justification for purchasing the tool, but there are more questions to be asked.

#5. Can it help you win?

Some proposal management tools save time, and some complicate things for the worse, but time is only one aspect to consider. The more important question that you must ask is if it will increase your likelihood of winning contracts. It will not matter if you save all the time and effort in the world if you end up losing the bid. So, ask the following questions too:

  • What strategic output will the tool generate that will enhance your likelihood of winning?
  • Will you be able to generate a better proposal by using this tool?
  • Will you be able to develop a competitive edge by using this tool?

Again, if the answer is yes to the above three questions, you’re probably getting closer to the right decision.

#6. Can potential risks be mitigated?

Proposal development already takes too much effort. You should not also have to worry about your proposal management tool increasing risks. No, it should do the exact opposite on top of providing a solution for your initial problems. Ask the following questions about risk:

  • Will the tool mitigate your risk of non-compliance?
  • Will the tool reduce your likelihood of losing?
  • Does the tool track past performance and wins and losses to provide analysis for future strategy?

At this point, you get the idea of which option is the best choice.

#7. What are the perks?

In addition to the 07 quick tips, evaluate the best proposal management software with a few more questions:

  • Are there features in the tool that may be relevant in the future?
  • Does the vendor offer after-sales support?
  • Does the tool help you manage your pipeline?
  • Do the price and functionality justify the purchase?
  • Will there be a price hike after a specific period?
  • What are the future plans for the tool?
  • Do they want to learn your suggestions for improvements?

Making any purchasing decision is tricky business, but these 07 quick tips to find the best proposal management tool will ease your decision. It would not be right to end this checklist without telling you about the proposal management tool that answers yes to each of the above questions.

Zbizlink saves time, helps manage the proposal requirements, and collaborate with several team members in remote locations. Even more exciting for us, it parses resumes and RFPs.

Zbizlink does all of these things and more. Interested in learning more?

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