Managing SMEs is a challenge for many of us. This is a cross-functional team of individuals at all levels of the company. Proposal team members find themselves managing across departments as well as to superiors. So how do you get what you need?
Be a Servant First:
Before asking for responses from SMEs, first ask what you can do for your SMEs.
Remember, even though some of your SMEs may appear to be ducking around corners and avoiding your gaze at meetings, most are simply focused on other responsibilities. So don’t take it personally, and step into their shoes to figure out how to help them succeed. Here are some tips:
- Respect for time: RFP & Proposal deadlines are real, and they are not the only deadlines. Make sure you are organizing your own efforts to afford the appropriate amount of time for theirs (of course, as available within the confines of the overall response deadline). Work with Sales and customers to construct more reasonable timelines beforehand whenever possible to help alleviate the tight squeeze for SMEs.
- Respect for roles: As we all know, SMEs have other ongoing responsibilities. They are responsible for the accuracy of the content, and you may be able to assist them by sharing some of the responsibility. Make sure to remind them your intent and ability to edit and proof the content they give you. Also offer to break down larger tasks whenever possible into smaller deliverables.
Stay tuned for more ways to work with your SMEs!