Faster Proposal Writing: Better Bio & Reference Tracking
Who are you? What do you do for a living? Do you know such-and-such?
Not only do you have to answer these sundry questions at the occasional cocktail party, but with every RFP that comes through the door.
Between differing market segments and version control, it can be easy to lose track of the "right version" of proposal content; we've struggled with it ourselves. Lucky for you, we've found some success for making it easier.
Here's what we've learned the hard way about the secret of faster proposal writing (and better bio tracking).
The importance of metadata
Establish a single, cloud-based, centralized location to store your crucial information. At the very least, use a basic tool like DropBox, Google Drive, or Box (compare them here) that will allow you store everything digitally, and in one place.
Or for something more dynamic, consider trying RFP responding software, which not only houses your information, but helps you build on it. Putting the proposal online is infinitely better than a proposal template because it's a living "document" that can change and evolve with you.
For example, below is a screenshot of our RFP platform's Knowledge Base; as you can see we store metadata with the questions/answer pairs. Including important details such as:
- How many times has a response been used?
- In what proposals was the content used?
- What tags (categories) have been applied to this piece of content?
(This is what it looks like within the context of our system)
One of the greatest advantages of using RFP software is that it should give you access to metadata. In other words, it helps you understand, organize, and leverage your past work.
Better bio tracking
Switching gears from the importance of metadata, another crucial component of writing the best proposals possible is being able to find team bios and reference when you need them.
The easiest way to do this is to store them individually. In Google Drive/Box/Dropbox you'll simply allocate each team their own dedicated document or folder. If you're using RFP software, the you'll organize by creating unique "tags."
And unlike a stagnant request for proposal template, dynamic RFP software (should) allow you to see how many times the reference was used, and in which proposals. You should also be able to categorize your numerous variations using appropriate tags.
Helpful tags could be:
- Market segment
- Geographic locale
So what does all this mean? It means that your responses are only as good as their accessibility.
If your team can't find current versions (and outdated information is sent out as a result), if SMEs are answering the same questions over and over, then it may be time to rethink your RFP response system.
But whether your struggle is RFP templates and formats, or team communication, if something is consistently not working, it's a sign the process is broken.
Wondering if RFP software is right for you?
(Click on the picture to download our ebook)