Like all business functions, proposal development has changed a lot over the years – ever since suppliers were forced to acknowledge that the glory days of doing multi-million dollar deals on a handshake were not coming back, and that proposals, unfortunately, were never, ever going away.
In the beginning, when introducing a proposals function, most businesses concentrated on enforcing a repeatable process for proposals as a way to reduce the cost and risk. The focus here was largely on paperwork, including things like checklists, toll gates, and quality assurance procedures.
The enduring challenge for businesses is getting compliance with the process, something that remains difficult to do today.
As time moved on, businesses became more interested in proposal productivity, seeking to leverage tools and systems to make what can be a time-consuming, onerous process faster and simpler.
The focus was on implementing systems, automation and assembly tools to manage the complexity of proposal content. This is where most businesses are today.
The enduring challenge here – as with any investment in tools and systems – is to achieve full utilisation of them, and to actually capture the promised productivity gains.
Which brings us to a tipping point, and a glimpse at where we are headed next.
As we tick off these stages, and as proposals become more and more professionalised, there is a risk that the people in your business with the knowledge to actually win proposals are becoming less and less engaged with their development.
Join me and Jonathan Keighley from Qorus at 8.00pm (AEST) on Thursday 8 September for this special webinar on Proposal Collaboration, where we will unpack the mindset, tools, and techniques you need to break down internal silos, get your team working together, and build the engagement that will help you win more bids and proposals.
Look forward to seeing you there.