In attending my first ever APMP conference last week, I learned something that was almost therapeutic: I am not the only one out there that really loves (and hates) proposals! It’s why I bought Expedience Software’s proposal solution for Microsoft Word and, ultimately, why I joined the company! In the spirit of continued sharing, I wanted to tell my story…
I “grew up” as a one-man-band salesperson, marketer, and proposal writer at a series of small, fast growing, ERP professional services consultancies. At one time, I thought there was a “glass ceiling” for boutique services firms like mine that we simply couldn’t break through. After a particularly painful loss of business I thought sure I had won, the potential client asked if I cared to have a post-mortem interview to discuss where we fell short. Would you be surprised to learn it was largely connected to the proposal? I had made too many copy and paste, should have removed this, should have changed this previous-client-specific content errors. I instantly resolved to change my proposals and, in doing so, broke through the glass ceiling with the very next opportunity!
That was more than ten years ago. Since this time, I have evangelized the power of proposals and advocated for (or directly implemented) proposal change for businesses in many industries and of all sizes. But, as we all know, proposals and RFP responses are more than just a document – they are a process! And, unfortunately, the opportunities that we are responding to don’t care about our workload of other RFPs when they set submission deadlines! So, my advocacy reached beyond simply “improving proposals” to include documenting and improving the proposal process and eliminating administrative burdens and simple mistakes with automation tools. That’s exactly why I encouraged my previous employer to purchase Expedience Software’s proposal solution.
The business case I created to get authorization was simple and showed a compelling return on investment. I explained how over 65% of our proposal response time was spent doing basic, administrative, non-business winning work. Further, I showed how eliminating the time wasted with finding content, dealing with copy/paste and formatting challenges, and fixing client-specific content issues would enable me to respond to more proposals with fewer resources. Despite not being budgeted, my recommendation was approved immediately. Expedience’s solution was quickly adopted and created all of the impact I had forecasted. But beyond being a great solution, the deployment taught me that Expedience was a company of great people!
So, when I decided to make a career change and learned that Expedience was looking for someone to head their sales efforts, it took no time at all to decide to accept the role! I am one month on the job now and couldn’t be any more thrilled with our solutions, vision for the future, and especially the team of wonderful people that I work with today!