Why Collaborating Helps You Win More RFPs

Team collaborating to create a proposal response

When it comes to winning a major deal, it takes a village. Luckily, there are plenty of tools, subject matter experts, and people you can collaborate with to create an optimal proposal response. No matter what industry you’re in, everyone can benefit from collaborating.

Winning proposal teams know they need to collaborate with each other, subject matter experts, and sales. Recently, proposal experts shared their tips for increasing collaboration for your proposal team:

1. Collaborating with Your RFP Team

Whether you’re a team of two or ten, it’s important that you leverage each other for ideas and feedback.

At the basic level, this could be creating an audit trail on all changes to the proposal. This way, you can always refer back to see who made updates, especially on sensitive topics such as pricing or unusual service agreements.

Robin Spencer of ManuLife Asset Management suggests kickoff meetings to clarify who is writing each part of the RFP. She goes so far as to have colored highlighters assigned to each team.  

Another tip is to make peer review part of their timeline. That way, there is always time for a fellow proposal writer to read through and mark up a response to RFP. (If you want to have more time to collaborate with your team, consider moving to an online, on-demand printer, like Mimeo. We’ll print, assemble, and deliver your proposals for you. So, you can focus on winning the next bid instead of on your print.)

You can also host standing meetings where team members share highlights and lowlights from recent proposals. From these meetings, they learn from each other about everything from crafting the response to working with internal SMEs.

No matter the size of your team, the more you can lean on each other for feedback and support, the better your proposal responses will be. 

RFP Team reviewing a proposal

2. Collaborating with Your Subject Matter Experts

Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are crucial to your proposal responses. They chime in on everything from pricing, to service agreements, to explanations on specific questions asked by your prospect.

Yet SMEs are often the trickiest part of the proposal process. Writing responses simply aren’t your SME’s priority. That often leads to missed deadlines or less-than-perfect answers.

Have clear communication with SMEs about why their section is important, the due date you are setting for them, and your final due date. You may want to ask if they prefer email, phone, or in-person communication. Though not everyone appreciates this tactic, you may find success setting calendar reminders for some SMEs, 

If there is a relatively long deadline, check-in via email or meeting to make sure the response hasn’t slipped off their radar.

The main goal is to build long-term relationships with your SMEs. Don’t limit your conversation to proposals. Find ways to do them favors in return or even take them out to coffee to get to know them. It will go a long way towards your working relationship.

3. Collaborating with Your Sales Partners

Your sales partner can be your best and worst friend. Since sales owns the prospect relationship, they have the most knowledge on how to win the RFP.

Yet at the same time, their focus is on generating new deals. They might not always respect the process that it takes to produce a winning response.

Your first task in collaborating with sales is to communicate clearly about expectations, obstacles, and timelines. Try reviewing the full request and highlighting any red flags. If you don’t think you can execute the proposal on the timeline requested, you should raise this as an issue and explore a compromise.

Ask clarification questions to make sure you answer questions the way they were intended. Be clear about your time constraints so sales understands how long your process takes (and to avoid being given a false deadline).

You can also join in on the sales pitch dry runs, where applicable. You will better understand how sales intends to tell the story, ensuring the proposal response reflects that.

Finally, no matter how great a proposal writer you are, you will end up losing a deal at some point. Ask sales for feedback on why a deal was lost so you know how to improve your responses in the future.

Just like your SMEs, sales are important partners to your success. Create a relationship outside of the pressure-cooker of a response deadline, so that you can collaborate more effectively.

Collaborating = Winning

At the end of the day, the goal is to win the proposal bid, so take advantage of the resources available to you. Whether you are the only proposal writer at your company or one of many, collaboration is key to winning more deals.

Luckily, there are plenty of tools to help you increase collaboration. For example, Mimeo makes it easy for the whole team to review your proposal as it will look when printed, before sending it off to print.

Find out more in this 1-minute video:

Mimeo has been helping proposal teams deliver high-quality RFP responses on time, every time for the last 20 years. We are the proposal printer of choice for more businesses in the United States than any other company. See the array of options that we offer to make your proposal the best it can be.

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