What is Proposal Management Software?
To answer the question “What is proposal management software,” we must first understand what a proposal is and what it contains. We must then understand proposal management, and only then, can we define proposal management software and help you evaluate a good one.
What is a Proposal and What Does it Contain?
A business proposal is the single most valuable document that goes from your organization to a potential customer. Proposals contain well-structured and well-articulated solutions that your organization can offer to fix customer problems. It contains proprietary information that gives you a competitive edge. The average proposal is anywhere between 10-100 pages long. Public, state, federal and military-related proposals can even be 1000 pages long.
Multiple teams create the proposal, such as technical teams, sales teams, finance, HR, operations, legal, IT, and so on. It needs to be persuasive, compliant, responsive, and influence the potential customer (buyer) to make a contract decision favorable to your organization. Most proposals contain the following:
- A Cover Letter: A single page document that briefs the customer on the most important benefit of what you are offering and two or three powerful statements that describe why the customer must select you over the competition.
- An Executive Summary: A summary that briefly discusses the proposed solution and tries to persuade the customer to make the purchase. Value propositions, differentiators, discriminators, ghosts, win themes, and other persuasive contents find their place here. Sales managers often write the executive summary, yet proposal writers, account managers, or capture managers are capable to write this section as well.
- A Solution Summary: A summary that briefly articulates the technicalities of the solution or services being offered, their benefits and features. Proposal writers write the solution summary but it needs sign-off from someone with a strong technical background.
- Details of the Solution: In this section of the proposal, more detail on the solution is provided (if required by the customer) and your value propositions and differentiators are emphasized. Delivery managers with strong technical backgrounds or subject matter experts usually write the solution details.
- Terms and Conditions: The terms and conditions of the solution are one of the most important pieces of the proposal. It is usually where legal teams get involved and sign-off important documents before final proposal submission to the customer.
- Commercials: Pricing for the solution or proposed product is stated Customers expect to find detailed information on cost. Hence, finance and sales teams must articulate the commercial section while the legal team signs off on the final cost proposal.
What is Proposal Management?
Proposal management is equivalent to project management in many ways. It is complicated and has stringent deadlines with several contributors to the proposal. Often, team contributors are remote, have diverse backgrounds, and are occupied with several tasks. It is obvious that communication is vital and collaboration is compulsory.
Time management and scheduling are of prime importance. Responsibilities are assigned to each team contributor in a structured format. All components of the proposal must be consolidated in a clear, sensible and logical manner. Effective proposal management is the key to successful wins.
Clearly, the job of a proposal manager is hectic.
What is a Good Proposal Management Software?
Now that a proposal and proposal management is explained, let’s explore proposal management software and the quality of a good one. The role of a good proposal management software cannot be understated. In fact, it is one of the most significant needs in the proposal writing process.
- A proposal management software relieves the proposal team and allows them to focus on strategy. They bid to win, instead of bid to respond.
- A good proposal management software most importantly helps capture customer requirements and then matches them against your capabilities so managers can make an informed Go/No-Go decision.
- The software should also automate workflows to streamline the entire proposal process. A good proposal management software will be able to help you autofill your proposal with boilerplate and relevant content, based on the requirements.
- A good proposal management software allows real-time collaboration and clear communication channels, such as automated notifications, live chat, and reminder emails.
“What is measured improves.” – Peter F Drucker
Zbizlink is a good proposal management software to consider that does all the above and more. Its real-time analytics and dashboards allow you to view the status of your proposals so that you can never miss a deadline. Moreover, you can always review your proposal team’s effectiveness and efficiency with Zbizlink’s archives.
Want to see for yourself? Give it a test drive.