by Lewis Miller
If we’re to believe the headlines that tout automation as a job-destroyer, then we’re turning our backs on progress.
Some reports suggest that many jobs are under threat from automation, but this doesn’t mean that people are on a fast track to unemployment.
In some cases, automation can bear the brunt of tedious or monotonous tasks, giving people the time to engage in more strategic functions – ultimately adding value to the business. RFP and proposal teams stand out as examples of job roles that can greatly benefit from automation.
Buying time for the proposal manager
Proposal managers typically spend many man-hours hunting for the information each bid requires. He or she must complete lengthy questionnaires covering a wide variety of subjects including pricing, safety, compliance and product specifications. Finding the most relevant answers often involves discussions with colleagues in various departments, sometimes located in different offices, regions and time zones.
Relevancy and efficiency are key to winning bids. An automated solution can serve up accurate answers quickly through predictive analysis; scanning each questionnaire and retrieving relevant information from a cloud content library that houses all the data applicable to the proposal process.
So, what’s left for the proposal manager to do now that the automated software has identified the best responses to each question?
This automated process buys the proposal manager time to tailor each bid to the respective prospect. Once the software has suggested the correct content for the proposal, the RFP manager can drill down into that content to ensure the overall quality of the final submission.
If certain content requires altering or updating, the manager has visibility into the source of the original content and can quickly and easily reach out to the author for assistance.
Easing strain on subject matter experts
The authors of the library content are typically the organisation’s subject-matter experts, called upon to supply expertise on areas of the proposal that are relevant to their departments.
Many of these experts already balance hefty workloads; frequent requests for information — especially information they’ve already provided to someone else on the proposal team — can be an unwelcome distraction.
Adopting a proposal automation solution puts an end to repeat requests. Once the answer from the subject matter expert is placed into the cloud content library, everyone on the proposal team can access the content, with all changes tracked and visible.
This also ends the version control confusion that can ensue when different team members save files in disparate locations across network and local drives.
Predicting wins and avoiding losses
Sales teams can waste vast amounts of time chasing prospects that they simply have no chance of winning — time that could be spent crafting bids for prospects they have better odds of landing.
An automated software solution can analyse every piece of bidding activity and provide teams with a clear view on the opportunities that are worth pursuing and the ones that aren’t. With this increased visibility comes a greater win rate and more time to spend on additional proposals that are likely to garner greater results.
Currently, automated proposal management innovations reduce the time teams spend on the RFP process by up to 40%.
Automation in proposals and RFP responses will not phase people out from the business. On the contrary, automation allows staff the time to focus on more strategic matters — tasks that cannot be handed off to a machine.