Winning the Business

Taking Out the Garbage

Control the chaos and optimize the proposal process for winning productivity

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Business process improvements and technology advances have helped us make tremendous strides in reducing inefficiencies and costs across the organization. Many of these changes are also driving an explosion of content creation.

Without proper procedures for managing versions or quality, valuable content can be squirreled away in siloed systems, personal desktops, and emails. Mismanaging content reduces team productivity, including that of proposal writers, who rely on current, accurate, and accessible information to develop winning proposals and responses.

The phrase “garbage in, garbage out” increasingly applies to managing information assets. This should not be the case. Companies invest extensively in data, information, and subject matter experts. Information assets should be managed correctly and transformed into effective proposals and business responses that contribute significantly to productivity and profitability.

Content Chaos Limits Effectiveness

An article in Forbes states that 90% of the world’s data has been generated during the last two years. Out-of-date data can result in lost sales, damaged reputations, and compliance risks. Yet corporate sales and response teams operate in a near state of paralysis as they struggle with content chaos. Organizations across most industries have tried to solve content chaos by investing heavily in more technology, which effectively helps them to get bad content out faster.

According to research analyst firm IDC, 65% of sales reps say they can’t find content to send to prospects—it’s the most common complaint of sales teams. All this stumbling around increases the risk of making document errors that open a company up to reputational damage.

Something needs to change when companies can accurately answer how many pencils are on a warehouse shelf but have no clue which is the current version of a fact that can win or lose a proposal.

Corporate sales and response teams operate in a near state of paralysis as they struggle with content chaos.

Response Value Chain Delivers Accurate, Timely Data

To address this content chaos, the response value chain has risen as a blend of best practices and technologies that help proposal teams become more agile and responsive. As a result, organizations win more business, customer relationships are enhanced, and proposal teams have greater job satisfaction.

The first step in establishing a response value chain is to conduct a baseline discovery that measures a company’s response capabilities against industry best practices. Define gaps in content management and build a plan to fix them. Areas where response teams are using information that is inconsistent, say regarding total assets under management, would come up as red flags. This baseline helps companies embrace five virtues of content management, which identify information, assign ownership to the data, set an expiration date, store the data, and track key metrics around it.

Once a baseline is established, an automated SaaS-based content management system can organize content flow and restructure data. Response teams can access and maintain accurate, reliable information for RFPs because answers are stored in the database for easy access and future use. The system can also manage the accuracy of responses by setting automated reviews and updates and by applying filters and attributes to categorize content.

The right technology helps proposal teams maintain one accurate truth, with SaaS tools enabling effective proposal and response management in two ways:

  • Providing a best-in-class process for managing content combined with proposal software for creating winning proposals that deliver the perfect response every time.
  • Effectively measuring and reporting on a proposal team’s performance in terms of saving time, scaling output, ensuring compliance, and delivering winning proposals.

Garbage has no place in the proposal process. Establishing a response value chain ensures quality in, quality out, helping proposal teams deliver the perfect response on time, every time.

Reanna Dempsey is vice president of customer success at RocketDocs, a Maryland-based response software company.