Business Proposals: timing is the key

When it comes to sending a proposal to a prospective client, there are two polarizing forces working against each other. On the one hand, you want to be as careful and meticulous as possible to ensure that the proposal is of the utmost quality. On the other hand, you want to deliver the proposal as fast as possible to increase your chances of being chosen. And, as we all know, this second goal doesn’t always happen the way we wish it would.

The Importance of a Timely Proposal

Timing is everything in the business world. Even just a few hours can mean the difference between landing a massive contract and getting passed over in favor of your closest competitor. However, getting everything completed and handed over to the prospective client isn’t always as practical as it may sound on paper.


“The concept of being able to deliver everything – and I mean everything – on time on any given project is fairly fictional,” writes Brad Egeland of Project Smart. “Sometimes we manage projects with several hundred – or even several thousand – tasks. Staying exactly on track is almost never in the cards.”

What Egeland is saying is that it’s nearly impossible to maintain a perfect track record and meet every deadline from every potential client. While he’s specifically talking about projects that have already been awarded, the same truths apply to project proposals.

The goal isn’t to meet the deadline of every single proposal opportunity that comes across your desk. Instead, you need to narrow your focus down to the ones that matter. These are the critical proposals – the ones that your business absolutely needs to land.

It’s when you begin missing these deadlines that things really start to fall apart. You must do everything that you possibly can to identify the root causes of these delays and work hard to correct any issues that you discover.


Four Reasons Why Your Proposals Are Delayed

Every organization has its own nuances and complexities, but most business owners or project managers will identify with the following common reasons for delayed proposals.


1. Unreasonable Proposal Deadline

The first thing you have to consider is the proposal deadline and whether or not it’s feasible. As soon as an opportunity is presented to you, there needs to be some conversation about the practicality of having a quality proposal completed on time – and the key word is “quality.”

If you’re going to be forced to put together a shoddy proposal in half of the time it typically takes to develop a quality one, then you may be better off putting your energy and resources elsewhere. After all, is your low-quality proposal really going to get accepted?

One of the common reasons why businesses miss proposal deadlines is because they aren’t realistic about the feasibility of completing the proposal on time from the beginning. You can save yourself a lot of embarrassment and wasted effort by only taking on proposals that practically fit your schedule and timetable for completion.


2. Too Much Chatter

There’s a country song that says, “Let’s get on down to the main attraction, with a little less talk and a lot more action.” While the songwriter’s focus was certainly on a different objective, these words happen to ring true when it comes to proposal writing.

Sometimes the biggest reason for delayed proposals is that there’s simply too much talk. The more voices that you have involved in the process, the more likely it is that you’ll encounter delays.

Does Susan from accounting really need to be involved in this proposal, or is she just being nosy? Does a quick proposal for a small contract really need to be sent through every department for approval, or can it go straight to the CEO for an accelerated turnaround? Limit the people involved, and you’ll be amazed how quickly you can get a proposal out of the door.


3. Excessive Meetings

Have you ever seen an episode of the television show, The Office? If you have, you’re familiar with just how many pointless meetings manager Michael Scott calls each day. Here’s a hilarious scene in which his employee, Jim, confronts him on the issue.

While your meeting may not be about pointless things like planets, many of your daily gatherings have about the same constructive value. Going back to the last point, many meetings serve no purpose other than furthering useless chatter. Instead of wasting your employees’ time, let them work on actionable pieces of the proposal.


4. Lack of Motivation

Employee motivation is often at the heart of proposal delivery. If employees are motivated to get a proposal in on time, you can count on it getting completed in a prompt manner. However, if they have no real reason to finish the proposal by a certain date, chances are good that it’ll be delayed.

When it comes down to it, you need to focus on motivation. How can you encourage your employees to work more efficiently in order to meet deadlines? Sometimes, you may need to attach a tangible reward or bonus to the proposal, while other times, some verbal affirmation can do the trick. Think about this, and focus some effort on keeping employees engaged and on-task.


Contact iQuoteXpress Today

At iQuoteXpress, we believe that every organization needs to master proposal management. Whether you send one or two proposal a year or dozens per month, you need to focus on the small things so you can maximize your return.

One of these not so small things is efficiency. When sending a proposal to a prospective client, you need to do so with promptness. At iQuoteXpress, that’s where we come into play. Our CPQ software technology delivers value by accelerating the proposal process and enabling sales organizations to deliver accurate and precise quotes in as little time as possible.

If you’re interested in a customized solution that’s tailored to your organization’s individual needs and objectives, then you’ve come to the right place. Please contact us today, and we’d be happy to answer any questions that you may have and to provide you with a free, no-obligation demo.

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