Take a step back from what you think you know about proposal management, if only for a minute.
What you can learn from this grid is what information people need, and where to create information products that flow it to them. But studying it can also provide some other insights:
- Process, tools, and techniques combine and have a big impact on your ability to flow information and manage issues. It’s easy to fixate on a problem in the moment and think a tool can solve it. But your needs change over time. Any tools you implement have to be able to meet the needs through the proposal lifecycle. It’s easy to think of tools as labor saving assembly tools. But that’s not where process, tools, and techniques can contribute the most to your ROI.
- Much of your success depends on issue management. Assignments, questions, and gaps are basically all forms of issues and you’ll encounter hundreds of them on a typical proposal. Each one adds to your risk of losing. Your strategies and approaches for issue management will have as much impact on your win probability as your offer design and proposal writing.
- No wonder flow charts can’t adequately define the proposal process. It also shows why a success proposal process requires a lot more than just steps.
- There is no one answer or optimal approach. Even before you consider the differences between products, services, solutions, and industries, you can see that one company will be impacted by these things differently than another.
- Things change over the course of a proposal. Look carefully at the issue management row and how it changes over time. What you need to manage your issues during startup, planning, performance, and production are all different. If you try to manage your proposal in Excel, you’ll need a different worksheet for each stage. Excel might not be the right tool.
As a PropLIBRARY Subscriber, you have access to MustWin Now, which is built around tools that flow information from one stage to the next while enabling you to manage the associated issues. This chart can be used as a test for process and tool functionality and applicability. It can also be used to bring improvement and better integration to your techniques.
When I compare the latest version MustWin Now, it matches up pretty well. I see some ways to refine how issues are reported to streamline getting answers to these questions. But I really like the idea of being able to track your content plan, quality criteria, and issues in a window you open and keep right next to your proposal.