Bredemarket and proposals, part three: proposal templates

This is the third installment in my post series about the proposal services that Bredemarket provides to its clients. If you missed them, be sure to read part one about Bredemarket’s RFx response services, and part two about Bredemarket’s sole source response services.

We’re moving through the red bullets in my projects list. Let’s continue.

Excerpt from https://bredemarket.files.wordpress.com/2022/02/bmtprop-20220221a.pdf

The need for proposal template services

Often when a company first writes a proposal, the entire thing is written from scratch by a bunch of proposal writers, subject matter experts (SMEs), and executives, and after some extraordinary effort, the proposal goes out the door.

Then the time comes to write a second proposal. “Let’s start with the text from the first one,” everybody says, and the second proposal goes out the door (hopefully with less effort).

This borrowing from other proposals continues, except when it doesn’t. At some point, someone is going to say, “All of these previous proposals are terrible, so I’m going to write my own.”

After a few years, the company has a collection of proposals…and quite possibly a host of problems. Here are a few things that could happen:

  • The proposals include inconsistent information. Some say that the company’s solution is supported on Windows 11, others say it’s supported on Windows 10 and 11, and there’s an old proposal that says the company’s solution is supported on Windows 7. Unfortuately, that latter proposal may be the one that someone borrows to write a new proposal, with disastrous results.
  • The proposals include even more inconsistent information. Maybe some proposals say the product name is GreenWidget. Others say it’s Green Widget. Others say it’s WidgetCo’s GreenWidget. Others say it’s GreenWidget by WidgetCo, Inc. And heaven help you if WidgetCo was acquired by BigMegaCorp.
  • The proposals include downright incorrect information. Maybe half of the proposals that you’ve issued over the years talk about how GreenWidget operates on both 110 volts and 220 volts. An engineer, reading the proposal that you submitted to the customer yesterday, says to you, “Oh, we discontinued 220 volt support last year.” Oops.

So how do you not only prevent these inconsistencies and mistakes from happening, but ensure that everyone is conveying the same message?

First, you create a proposal template, proposal library, proposal boilerplate, or whatever you want to call it that includes a standard set of text to use in every future proposal (RFx response or sole source letter). This text is reviewed by subject matter experts, executives, and others to ensure that it is correct.

Second, you review this text on a regular basis to make sure that it is up to date, and references to old operating systems and sunsetted features are removed so that they don’t slip into future proposals.

My experience with proposal templates

My personal experience with templates dates back over twenty years, from multiple perspectives.

After several years of working for Printrak, we decided that we needed to establish a standard set of proposal text for both RFP responses and sole source letters. So a coworker (Dorothy) and I flew to San Francisco for some training in the use of a particular package.

However, before I could actively participate in implementing the package, I changed jobs and became a product manager.

In other words, I was now one of the subject matter experts that not only needed to ensure the proposal text was accurate, but in some cases actually provide the proposal text that described the new features of my product.

So Dorothy and her coworker Peter had to contact me to provide my inputs to them.

Sometimes more than once.

In fact, one time they were so surprised that I finally DID provide input that Dorothy created an origami of a flying pig. I have a picture of that flying pig somewhere, but rather than hunt it up I’ll display this picture instead. You get the idea.

By Torreteo at Italian Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37823185

Dorothy and Peter had the last laugh, however, because I eventually rejoined Proposals when Dorothy moved to Marketing, and therefore I was responsible for bugging the SMEs about reviewing and updating proposal text.

Dorothy and Peter left the company before I did. After one final switcheroo in which I went to Marketing and Dorothy to Proposals, Dorothy ended up leaving the company. Peter eventually left himself to get married, and move to…

(Major intrusion of reality follows.)

…Kyiv, Ukraine, in his new wife’s home country. Obviously with everyone that’s been going on over the past few days, I’ve been monitoring Peter’s social media posts closely. At the time I am writing this post (noon Pacific Time on Monday February 28), I believe Peter and his wife are still safe.

Let’s move on.

Bredemarket’s solution for proposal template services

I’ve helped clients with various types of proposal templates.

In some cases, I’ve helped clients who have purchased prepackaged proposal template solutions. As of today, I offer specific experience in Upland Qvidian and Privia products, and I’ve been told that other solutions such as RFPIO and RocketDocs are similar.

In some cases, I’ve helped clients who didn’t want to spend money to acquire those prepackaged solutions. In those cases, I’ve created Microsoft Word files, either letters which can be customized to meet the needs of a particular customer, or files from which people can extract vetted responses and incorporate them into letters or RFx responses.

In either case, my clients benefit from responses that have been reviewed by subject matter experts for accuracy, are easy to use, and can generate business for my clients very quickly.

One of my clients was extremely happy with my solution.

“I just wanted to truly say thank you for putting these templates together. I worked on this…last week and it was extremely simple to use and I thought really provided a professional advantage and tool to give the customer….TRULY THANK YOU!”

Do you need Bredemarket’s proposal template services?

Whether you need a library of responses, or one or more template letters, I can help you.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this series on the proposal services that Bredemarket can provide, and I hope that you’ve seen how all of these services can work together.

Oh, but there’s one more thing

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