Two heads are better than one, except when it’s something you’re eating.
This rule carries over to just about everything including taking advantage of your core team. Quote Roller argues that the normal way of assigning one person the task of writing a business proposal is passé and that this is a time to put your heads together so you get that better proposal signed quicker.
You’re a small company and you try to segment tasks, so you are still a team, but your roles are better clarified. That might be a good idea in theory, but in practice, the united front is often the best way to go. This is especially true in writing business proposals.
Most companies assign one person the arduous task of crafting business proposals. With small businesses and start-ups, you can try to have a role specialization, but your goals and stake lie in the success of the company. Whether you segment tasks or not, you’re all in it together. If all the key people are involved in writing the proposal, it is sure to come as more professional and thorough.
To write a killer business proposal, you need the input of all the players involved.
Gather the team
Start by asking yourselves, who will be working on this project? Certainly, if more than one person will be working on it, those people need to be involved in drafting the project proposal.
Of course, every project needs a point person. Making the project manager different each time means you create a cross-functional, multifunctional, sure-to-succeed team that can take on any of the competition. The project manager should be the main point of contact for the client or potential client.
As project manager, having more than one contact with your team before and during the business proposal writing process can be crucial. When you are considering sending a bid to a certain potential business partner, start by sending a group email out including their website, Wiki, mission statement and any interesting Google news results. Ask your teammates for any other inside info or rumors they’d heard about the industry, the project or the target.
Next, get them to reply to the email suggesting questions each member of your team has regarding the project. This is how you think of things to ask that you couldn’t have thought of on your own.
The point person then goes ahead and talks to the client, asking those awesome, insightful questions, and then composes an easy-to-read bulleted email of the clients’ desires and requirements for the team to read over.
Now, after you’ve asked your new customer your team’s questions, it’s time to brainstorm together over how you can offer creative solutions to the answers. Ask your group, we’ve already spoken about the profitability for us, but what’s the benefit of our service to them? Does our proposal sell that well? Is our business proposal really addressing these concerns or is it just self-glorifying?
Support impromptu meetings
A brief meeting to discuss what each person can bring to the project is necessary before drafting and certainly sending off and presenting that business proposal. An email doesn’t achieve the sort of brainstorming that can happen over steaming mugs of coffee. The “oh wait, I can do this, if you’re going to do that” moments usually only happen in an open discussion.
Involve developers and designers
In design and development areas, often the front-end and the back-end developers are in their own programming worlds. Your programmers are, of course, really good, but imagine how fantastic they’d be if they touched base more often? Don’t you think everyone would have a better idea of how to present the company as a team if they knew how each part intrinsically worked?
When you develop the project plan more, with more voices, you can better reflect it in the business proposal.
Finally, before sending and presenting that business proposal to the client, ask everyone to dedicate five more minutes to looking it over, to see if anything is missing or if there’s anything extra that deters from the message you are trying to convey.
When it comes down to it, the more people that are involved, the better your business proposal will be. On the inside, everyone that will be involved with the project should be involved in developing the business proposal. Together you can offer better, more creative solutions to your customer’s needs.
Besides building a better business proposal, there are other benefits to doing it as a team.
When a key decision maker is deciding whether to do business with you, one of the things they most focus on is if it will be easier to do business with you than your competition. Selling team-based service gives your business a higher perception of quality that makes their lives easier.
Make sure, while your business proposal focuses on solving your clients’ problems, that it also highlights the reliability of team-based service, that it sells your business as “happy to help” and client-centric. Plus, the perception of a solid team from proposal to final product.
It’s also obvious that when one person is under the pressure to do everything, he or she is more likely to make a mistake. With more eyes scanning the document for errors, it’s easier to make sure you have a more polished proposal to present.
Moreover, remember, with more people working on the same thing, it gets done quicker, and with more voices going into the message, it gets done better. Dividing the workload also means that everyone learns how to create sales proposals, which can be essential if you have a staff change or someone is out sick one day.
We all want to focus on the creative part of the business and we can spend more time on it, if everyone does their share of the usually-less-exciting sales proposal part.
How do you involve your team into proposal creating process?