12 Steps to Company History Book Success

Your company has reached a major milestone, a new CEO is being appointed, or maybe a significant anniversary is coming up.

Press releases are fleeting, and your boss wants something more concrete, something to hand out to clients, stakeholders, investors, and employees.

The execs have landed on the idea of a company history book — one that can commemorate the company’s story and achievements for a lifetime.

Here’s the kicker: You’ve been tasked with writing, editing, and managing the book. It also needs to be polished and perfected as soon as possible, and although you get the appeal, you have absolutely no idea where to start.

Well, top up your coffee and take a breath, because you’ve landed on the right page. This article is a fool-proof, tried and tested survival guide to writing a company history book.

The professional ghostwriters and editors at The Writers For Hire have seen a ton of corporate businesses come through the door, and we’ve learned some crucial golden nuggets along the way.

This easy-to-follow guide will go over the content needed for your book, the form it should take, the people you need to interview, and, most important, how you can make your book stand out from the crowd and even generate high-ticket clients.

Why a Company History Book?

Let’s take a look at three core reasons why a company chooses to write a corporate history book, and the benefits it can bring to an establishment.

1.   Brand Storytelling

Writing in Forbes in January 2019, Celinne Da Costa declared brand storytelling “the future of marketing.” In this overly digitalized world, showing a company’s human side is crucial to its success and longevity. As Da Costa puts it, nowadays, “humanity is becoming the new premium.”

People are craving human connectivity now more than ever.

More than sales numbers, quarter milestones, and successful leaders, what really stands the test of time is a brand that connects itself to the age-old practice of storytelling.

A company history book is one of the best ways to incorporate your company’s human side.

It’s a way for a company to show its core values, its mission, and the humbling journey of founders with a big dream that then turned into a reality. These are the things that deserve to be recorded.

2.   A Growth Tool 

A company history book is an excellent way to generate leads, grow interest, and expand reach.

There are many different ways to incorporate your company history book into a lead generation system.

Setting up a landing page for your book where clients, investors, stakeholders, or prospective employees can see your professionally completed work not only sparks interest, but also accelerates the company’s professional presence.

When you build a product that highlights and declares the company’s expertise, you are in turn cementing the company and its story into a tangible and attractive form.

3.   The Ultimate Corporate Welcome

Picture this: A prospective employee walks into the office and is told to wait at reception. Maybe it’s one of those days when everyone is swamped and they are left waiting longer than you had anticipated.

They see your company history book, leaf through a mixture of some of the best company moments, and perhaps even match a friendly face in the pictures to the job interviewer with whom they were emailing.

Instantly, the company becomes more alive.

The same can be said for anyone who walks in the door.

Having a professionally produced representation of the company ensures that new clients, employees, or business investors understand what the company is about before they’ve even met the team.

Aside from this, a book is the perfect corporate gift for those momentous occasions.

Now that you understand some of the many reasons companies choose to record their story in a book, let’s focus on the how.

12 Steps to Company History Book Success

1. Set the intention of your book.

Dream big here. Don’t just limit the book to something that will make a great coffee table asset. (Although it does that, too!)

Make sure you’re clear on your company’s intention with the corporate history book. Is it to expand growth within the company? Is it to share the company’s morals and values with a wider audience? Is it to commemorate a change in management or procedure?

Whatever the intention, allow that to lead the book’s progression. Of course, you can have more than just one reason to write a company history book. But when the project feels too big to even start, it’s a good idea to remind yourself of the book’s intention, and why it’s important to get the book done as envisioned.

That brings us onto our second crucial point.

2. Consider hiring a ghostwriter.

In the same way that you hire vendors and outsource different content that isn’t available in-house, you, too, should consider hiring a professional ghostwriter to do the heavy lifting of this project.

Professional ghostwriters are experts at managing large manuscripts, writing impressive amounts of text under seemingly impossible deadlines, and organizing many of the different files, images, and information needed for your company history book.

You should consider hiring a ghostwriter to do the writing, interviewing, and managing of your book. Not only will they take the load off your hands, ghostwriters and editors will ensure that the product you’re handing over to the big boss is of the highest, professional quality.

Even if you’ve already started the project and have reached a standstill, ghostwriters are comfortable with joining projects at any given stage.

While corporate companies tend to produce technical in-house writing, business ghostwriters are wizards at transforming complex information into a relatable, compelling, and action-led story.

3. Establish project goals.

Before any writing gets done, you’ll want to ensure that you sit down with all of the project collaborators and shareholders and set out realistic and agreed project goals.

This sit-down needs to cover the following project aspects.

4. Define Your Target Audience

Your book is going to look different depending on your target audience. Is this an in-house book for employees only? Or do you intend to self-publish and reach a wider audience?

Narrow your target audience down and specify who the book’s target audience is. This will then drive the book’s writing style and content, as well as the most suitable format it should take.

5. Be Realistic About Your Book Completion Date

We generally recommend that clients allow for at least six months to a year for the book’s publication.

Ghostwriters are certainly known for reaching impressive deadlines but take it from us: A book is worth spending the time and effort.

The last thing you want is for the book not to turn out as planned because a deadline seemed more important than the book itself.

Here’s what Flori Meeks, one of our top corporate history book ghostwriters has to say about the length of time and what is needed from clients when working together:

“Project length depends on how frequently the client can meet with us, how long those meetings are, how many additions and revisions the client wants, how many people we are asked to interview in addition to the client, and how much research we need to do to complement the client’s interviews.

A project might take even more time if the company’s journey involves a lot of complex details. I worked with one client who told us about technological advances that impacted his company, a couple of company inventions, the purchase of other businesses in different industries, management and franchise challenges, and the day-to-day challenges of working with their children. Getting all of those details right–and making sure they’re understandable and interesting to readers–can add time to the writing process.”

If you do have a shorter deadline that can’t be moved, then choose to narrow down the parts of the company’s history you’re going to focus on. Short-form company histories are a thing, too. It all depends on what you need. When you find the right team to work with, they’ll make sure your vision comes to life.

6. Visualize the finished product.

Despite what you may have heard, there is no cookie-cutter approach that must be followed when writing a company history book. In fact, some of the most popular books out there have taken advantage of newer digitized formats.

Check out these 10 different book examples from The Writers For Hire, ranging from family-centered memoirs to self-help entrepreneurial reads that offer crucial advice for start-ups.

Maybe you’d prefer to have your company history laid out on your website. Or perhaps you’re a family business with a rich and century-long family tree that you’d love to investigate.

Consider exactly how your book needs to stand out and represent your company in the best way possible. And make sure to pinpoint some book examples that inspire you.

Allow yourself to get creative and excited about the finished product. High-vis photography from different generations, personal touches such as recipes from farm-run businesses, or invaluable advice from some of the top leaders in an industry are only some of the elements that take a company history book to the next level.

7. Agree to a review process.

With the book’s deadline in mind, agree on who exactly is going to be responsible for allocating feedback on the book’s progress, and how often this review process is going to occur.

Consider project goal posts, set clear and realistic deadlines as to when feedback needs to be received, and ensure that everyone who needs to see a draft has had a chance to review it before moving on to the next section.

8. Gather book materials.

If the book meeting goes according to plan, you’ll leave feeling fired up and ready to get cracking. Take advantage of this momentum! Start gathering all of the critical data that you need to include in your company history book.

Begin by tracking the many different ways your company has told its story in the past: Think of press releases, in-house newsletters, photographs, and recorded interviews. Speak to the old-timers that have been there since the beginning and figure out which department has access to archived and historical data.

Ask for help from the marketing team and track down those who remember the company’s journey in detail. Once you’ve mapped out how much content is available, as well as who can give you first-hand accounts of the company’s history, it’s time to start recording the information in the form of an interview.

9. Conduct interviews.

First-hand accounts are always a popular media form. The more personal you can make the company’s story, the better. But don’t just stop at the higher-up execs and leaders.

Think outside the box and locate employees who have been around for an extended period of time.

Have you had the same receptionist for the past 15 years? How about the maintenance guy who has fixed more photocopiers than he can count? What about the building manager who may have helped the offices move and who progressed as the company did?

Most corporate history books focus on upper management. But don’t overlook those who have been around just as long, but in smaller roles.

The insights and reflections from employees who have been dedicated to the company for years will make your book really stand out.

Create an online schedule that you can follow and, bit by bit, arrange to meet with the people you’ve agreed to interview. Have clear-cut questions prepared but be open to allowing the subject matter experts and other interviewees to lead, focusing on making the story as understandable and relatable as possible.

A business can often get indoctrinated into explaining aspects of the company that only insiders would be able to comprehend. There may be some tweaking done to the interviews when it comes to writing them down, or you may want to hand out some guidelines for the interviewees to consider before recording.

Here’s what corporate ghostwriter Flori Meeks has to say about what makes a really great interview: 

“One of the best ways a client can help us is to make themselves accessible for detailed conversations with us. We want to hear more than the “what” and “when” of their company history; we need the “how” and “why,” too.

We want to hear their stories, including their insights on missteps.

We need details that make the information they share valuable and fascinating for readers.

When clients make time for conversations, it also gives us a better feel for their voice and personality so we can do a better job capturing it in their book.”

Never conducted an interview before? Don’t let that put you off. You don’t need a Master’s in Journalism to figure it out. But there are some core skills that ghostwriters use to make an interview a successful one — the first time around. Check out these top tips.

1. Double check recording software.

Whether it’s a Zoom conversation or you’re using a voice recording software, double and triple check your technology before conducting the interview. This is an easy mistake that first-time interviewers can fall victim to.

Right after a meaty interview with a high-level executive, the last thing you want is to realize that the record button wasn’t switched on.

Especially when conducting interviews with employees whose time is more sensitive, it is worth spending 5 to 10 minutes before the interview starts making sure that everything is set up, that the audio on the device is being recorded, and that you’ve conducted a sound recording test.

2. Pre-send interview questions.

Over the years of conducting hundreds of interviews with all different types of businesses, we have found that pre-sending interview questions can help make the interviewee feel prepared and more engaged with what’s being asked.

Emphasize to your interviewees that the conversation is going to be transcribed in written form.

The writing process is going to be a lot easier if the interview is high-quality, with less jargon and filler, and with more crucial detail. Pre-sending interview questions can be a huge time-saver, and it can help calm the nerves of anyone who feels a little audio-shy at first.

3. Source relevant examples.

If you’re still not feeling confident about conducting interviews, take a look at some business leaders who you really admire, leaders that align with your own company’s field of work and morals.

Check out some of their top-rated interviews and see what sort of questions allow them to open up and express their company’s story.

The best way to get inspiration is to see how it has been done before. Here’s 100 must-see interviews with some of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs to get you on the right track.

10. Create a company history timeline.

Now that you’ve gathered as much data and interviews as possible, not forgetting online digging and internet deep dives, it’s time to get the story structured into a chronological order.

Barbara Adams, another one of the top corporate ghostwriters at The Writers For Hire, gave us some great insight into what this process looks like:

“Let’s face it, when it comes to reading a corporate history, no one wants to feel like they’re doing an archaeological dig. An introduction followed by a decade-by-decade exploration is probably most effective. I like what I call a “modular” approach – the history in narrative form with sidebars about the company’s key (or most colorful) personalities, products, [and] achievements.

 Any way you can break up the content into snackable pieces is helpful to the reader, as is including lots of large photos. It’s also very effective to put a timeline in each chapter. That way, you can incorporate all the key activities of a year or a decade without making the reader search through the narrative for the information. I don’t mean to suggest it’s an either-or; you can use the timeline to get important dates and initiatives in front of the reader, then expand in the narrative about what happened or why it was important.”

11. Write a sample chapter.

Once you’ve gathered a ton of material and you’ve conducted key interviews, it’s time to get started on the writing process.

You don’t have to do this in chronological order of the company’s history. Start off on the section that you feel the most confident writing about.

Don’t get ahead of yourself and write 15-20 pages before anyone has had a chance to review what you’ve done.

It’s crucial that the reviewers and editors are all on the same page with how the book should be written, as well as what format and style the book is going to take.

Another important aspect of the writing phase is how to incorporate edits and revisions.

Set up a clear review process. Are you going to use Track Changes and encourage the reviewers to do the same? Or will this be an in-person review where the edit team gets together and breaks up the review into sections?

Knowing how to integrate edits and feedback is a skill in itself. If this aspect of the project seems daunting to you, consider going to a team of professionals who can take over the writing, editing, and final review process of the project.

The writing schedule should move at a pace of about one chapter a week, with the review process continuing as you originally decided. Again, if the pre-planning of this project has been executed properly, the writing process will have been scheduled according to what’s realistic, along with usual work responsibilities.

12. Don’t let your book be forgotten.

Writing a corporate history book is not for the faint-hearted. Collecting a large amount of data, as well as finding the time to write down all of the information you have required, is a big feat. Know when to reach out for professional help and choose a team of trusted ghostwriters and editors with a proven track record.

Investing in your corporate history book is something that can lead to invaluable rewards. You want to have a book that best reflects the endurance, strength, and intellectual knowledge of your company.

As Barbara Adams explained, writing a company history book should be an exciting and rewarding process:

“I’m a long-time information junkie, so any project that requires research is fascinating to me. I enjoy digging into the corporate “time capsule” — the archive of old photos, newsletters, annual reports, newspaper clippings, and so on — to understand how the company grew and changed over the decades, especially against the backdrop of what was happening in the community and the world month-to-month and year-to-year.

It’s also exciting to find out what the founders had in mind when they started the company and to see how those goals were met or exceeded. For example, when I wrote about a century-old business recently, it was interesting to see how the company’s current community relations and sustainability policies can be traced directly back to the interests of the founder. In that way, writing the history wasn’t just about delving into the past; it was also about learning how the past created the present (and the future).

Of course, the best part is putting everything into words – bringing the company to life for readers so they see what sets it apart, where its value is, why it’s a great place to work, why customers embrace it, and so on.”

Remember to keep your book’s intention in mind and consider the finished product as your main motivator. A corporate history book lasts a lifetime and is the best way to record a company’s expertise, cementing its story and legacy forever.

5 Reasons You Should Hire a Ghostwriter to Get Your Business Book Written NOW

Writing a book is no easy task. If it were, everyone would have dozens of titles to their name. The fact is, success in writing a book requires a desire to communicate your message to the world and some good old fashioned writing skills.

Writing a company history book or a personal memoir can fulfill the desire to get a message out there in the business world.

Additionally, a business book is the ideal means for professionals to share their expertise or unique skills. As such, a business book can serve to perpetuate one’s legacy by making an enduring contribution.

Reasons for Writing a Business Book

There are plenty of reasons why a business professional would want to write a book. More often than not, writing a great business book is about communicating a message.

A business book communicates valuable lessons, knowledge, and experience to current and future generations.

Specifically, these three main reasons may compel business professionals to write a company history book or memoir:

  • To preserve a legacy
  • To be viewed as a subject matter expert
  • To communication a specific message

Preserve a Legacy

Often, memoirs, autobiographies, and company history books perpetuate a legacy. Preserving a legacy is about encapsulating a lifetime of hard work and dedication to a craft. A book can preserve a legacy for generations to come.

Become a Subject Matter Expert

Business leaders often write books to share their unique skills with the world. These skills are often the result of dedicated work and natural ability.

Nevertheless, renowned business moguls have keys that others can use to unlock their potential. As such, business leaders, as subject matter experts, write books in which their singular talents become accessible to everyone.

Ultimately, these gurus make priceless contributions that outlast their lifetime.

Communicate a Message

There are times when a writer needs to communicate something to the world. A message burns within and must get out. However, merely telling others about it is not enough. There needs to be a broader platform that can catapult the message to a wider audience. A great business book can achieve that purpose.

97% of Authors Do Not Finish Writing Their Books

Unfortunately, wonderful book ideas do not always come to fruition. In fact, it is estimated that 97% of people who start writing a book never finish it. Thus, it is worth taking a closer look at the most prevalent reasons why books stall.

Writing Skills and Expertise

Writing a book takes a combination of skills and expertise.

It is often not enough to have the good intention to write a book.

Business leaders may have a wealth of knowledge and experience. Nevertheless, they may not have the ability to translate these thoughts into text.

As a result, they become frustrated and ultimately choose to put off writing.

Time

Business professionals are busy people by definition. As such, these folks may not have the time to sit down and write a full-length book. Sadly, their company history or subject matter expertise may not make it into a tangible form.

Lack of Support

Business leaders understand the importance of support. They know that going alone is not always the best way to make things happen. As a result, they surround themselves with folks that can support them. As such, a lack of support when attempting to write a book may lead the project to stall.

5 Reasons to Consider Hiring a Ghostwriter to Write Your Business Book

The most successful business leaders and entrepreneurs know when it is time to get help. Therefore, hiring a ghostwriter can make a business book transition from a concept into reality.

Here are five ways hiring a ghostwriter can help professionals write their business books or get their message out as subject matter experts.

1. Ghostwriters have the skills and expertise.

Professional ghostwriters have the skills and expertise needed to make a business book or specific subject matter come to life.

Granted, not all ghostwriters boast the same skill set. As a result, business leaders must hire a professional ghostwriter with the right knowledge and experience.

2. Ghostwriters help save time and effort.

Busy business professionals understand how valuable time is. As such, hiring a professional ghostwriter can help them save time and effort. A ghostwriter can take on the arduous task of putting pen to paper. In turn, the business professional’s role is to ensure the right message comes through in the text.

3. Ghostwriters are consultants.

Professional ghostwriters often come from various backgrounds such as business, technology, literature, and engineering, among others.

As such, ghostwriters bring a lot more to the table than merely exceptional writing and organizational skills.

Professional ghostwriters can also provide perspective and contribute valuable knowledge, enhancing the material’s overall quality and substance.

4. Ghostwriters simplify processes.

Ghostwriters and ghostwriting agencies simplify the entire book creation process. Ghostwriters help with content creation and support the editing, design, and publishing process. In particular, ghostwriting agencies have the staff needed to streamline the entire process. Ghostwriting agencies can also help business professionals self-publish.

5. Ghostwriters provide reassurance.

Business leaders can find reassurance in knowing that a trusted ghostwriter will be with them every step of the way. As a result, a ghostwriter’s skills, experience, and dedication to work provides peace of mind.

In turn, business professionals can go about their core functions knowing their precious ideas are in good hands.

Summing Up

As you can see, writing a business book is not as easy as one may think. However, with the help of a professional ghostwriter, you can finally get your message out there and become a well-known industry leader in your field.

Six Benefits of Written Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

From training and hiring to work policies and procedures, Standard Operating Procedures — or SOPs — help companies stay organized, operate smoothly, and ensure that employees understand how to accomplish their assigned tasks.

But here’s one thing we’ve learned from more than a decade of working with companies of all sizes: Even though nearly all companies have some sort of SOPs in place, they don’t always have them written down.

Or if they do have them written down, it’s been years since they’ve reviewed or updated them.

In most cases, it comes down to time.

When day-to-day operations get hectic, internal projects are often the first to fall to the wayside.

And while it’s true that writing, reviewing, and updating your company’s SOPs can be time-consuming, we think it’s worth it in the long run.

Need a few reasons to make written SOPs a priority? Here are just a few benefits of having written SOPs:

1. Reduce employee training time.

Training-related SOPs help standardize orientation and training. A written set of guidelines helps ensure that all new hires get the same training, on the same topics and responsibilities, in the same amount of time. Not only will this help ensure that new employees settle in quickly, it will also help save time and money in the long term.

2. Maintain consistency across your brand.

You’ve worked hard to establish a very specific personality, look, feel, and tone for your brand. Protect that hard work by establishing a set of written branding standards. A few possible items to cover:
• Use of your company’s logo, colors, and tagline
• Policies for employee social media use
• A style guide to ensure uniformity in written communication
• Guidelines for email formatting and signatures
• Rules for speaking to the media
• Use of your company’s logo, colors, and tagline
• Policies for employee social media use
• A style guide to ensure uniformity in written communication
• Guidelines for email formatting and signatures
• Rules for speaking to the media

3. Reduce errors and enhance productivity.

Written SOPs can take the guesswork out of day-to-day operations and help ensure that all of your employees understand the processes, policies, and procedures associated with their jobs. And because they provide clear, written examples of what is expected from employees, SOPs are also helpful when developing employee review or development plans.

4. Meet legal requirements.

Depending on your industry, you may be required to have written SOPs that protect your employees and/or customers — and ensure that you won’t be held legally responsible if something goes wrong.

5. Establish a chain of command.

Everyone in your company should have a clear idea of your company’s leadership structure, and this is especially important in situations where work products go through multiple stages of review and approval.

6. Transfer work easily.

Most employees take a sick day here and there, but in the case of an extended absence, written SOPs make it easier to transfer work to another employee.

By outlining how a task or project should be done, you’re making sure that any employee can complete the work with a little direction.

Of course, these six benefits are only the tip of the SOP iceberg — but you can probably see where we’re going with this: Written SOPs are an indispensable part of any organization.

How to Prepare Your Content Before Migrating to a Digital Asset Management System: Part Two

Your files are inventoried and you know exactly which ones you’ll migrate to your DAM solution, but there is one more thing you need to do: optimize that all-important metadata so your system will function as you need it to.

Let’s start by defining what metadata is and talk about why it’s so important to the functionality of DAM.

What is Metadata?

Metadata is what allows users to find, retrieve, edit, and share content.

Kevin Gavin, CMO at Canto.com sums it up nicely. “Metadata is information about the digital asset that makes it easy to search and filter in order to organize and manage large collections of digital assets,” he says. “Standard metadata for images, for example, include things like the date, time, and location that a photo is taken as well as the camera and resolution.”

Amy Chan, SR Product Marketing Manager at Extensis says “Metadata is the underpinning of an effective digital asset management system. Without a good process in place,” she says. “a DAM can fall short of its effectiveness.”

Most metadata fall into these 3 categories:

Administrative Metadata


This type of data helps manage your content and includes things like the date it was created, who created it, and who should have access to it.

Descriptive Metadata


Having the right descriptive metadata helps users find the content they’re looking for. Some of the descriptive data to include in this are the title of the content, the author, and keywords. A keyword is what an end user types into the system to find content. For example, by typing “DAM” into the system, the user would see content related to that subject. Gavin says a keyword list can include as few as a dozen or up to hundreds of keywords, depending on what the DAM administrator determines. Additional keywords can also be added as the system grows.

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

Rights Management Metadata


When you include metadata that shows the copyright status and licensing provisions of your content, it will identify how and where it can be used. Gavin says that digital rights management is built into DAMs and “can be tracked at the individual asset level.

What is a Metadata Schema?

A metadata schema, according to Chan, “is the framework or concept that helps organize and interpret information.

It is your structure and the list of fields (such as: date, author, name, subject, etc.) that you would like your catalogs to contain.

This helps define how people add, categorize, search, and understand assets.” In other words, a metadata schema is the structure you use to organize your metadata.

Chan recommends organizing information into 3 buckets:

  • Crucial information:Information you need to have about your assets. Make this a mandatory field for anyone cataloging your digital files. In an example workflow of a sports photographer for a university, crucial metadata could include: » Event » Subject » Photographer » EXIF metadata’]
  • Nice to have information: Data that you would prefer to have, but it’s not essential in your workflow.  Following our previous example, this could include: » Full description of photo » Opposing team
  • Negligible information: Information that you could live without, but it does not hurt to capture. Examples: » Final score of game » Relevant keywords’]

When and How to Add Metadata to Your Files

You will have the choice of uploading your metadata as is, or editing it before you migrate to your new DAM solution.

“Some metadata is added when an image is created such as the time, location, camera, and settings of photographs and they are tied to the file,” says Gavin. “Other metadata is custom and gets added along the way.”

He believes the more metadata that is added and the earlier it’s done, the better.

But he says that metadata should always be retrieved and migrated.

“It is a judgement call if it is worth the work to go back and add metadata to old files,” he says. “The more the files are used and needed, the more important it is to have metadata so that they are more easily found when conducting a search of the metadata.”

If you’re confidant that the existing metadata is good, your DAM solution probably has the capability to automatically import it when ingesting the files.

On the other hand, if you want to change or expand the metadata, you can choose to do that before migrating or afterwards.

Once you get a clear picture of the metadata that exists on your assets, you can determine whether or not you will need to edit or add to it.

There are some widely used open source tools that help edit and manage metadata such as EXIFTool and Python. Both of these tools can be used on Windows and Mac computers.

If you would rather add the metadata using the tools on your Windows PC before uploading to a DAM, you’ll have to create an Excel spreadsheet.

In this case, you would create a spreadsheet listing all of the files, and then create columns for each metadata field you want to create. You can create as many fields as you want.

Next, you can embed some of the metadata directly into the document, or use the spreadsheet as a guide while you’re migrating the content to the new DAM.

To embed the keyword metadata directly into the Word document, follow these steps:

  • Use the “Save As” function.

  • After you’ve typed in the file name, click on “Add a tag” underneath it.

  • Add tags or keywords related to the file. These tags will become part of the metadata associated with the file.

If you’re adding metadata to images on a PC, use Adobe’s Bridge to help embed the data directly into the photo.

If you decide that your metadata needs editing, once it’s complete you should export all of the newly revised metadata to a .CSV file so you’ll be able to ingest the entire batch to your DAM.

Keep in mind that if you add metadata to your files on a Windows Machine, you will need to update the files one by one.

On the other hand, it’s possible to embed metadata to your files in batches if you do it while migrating to a DAM.

Once you get a clear picture of the metadata that exists on your assets, you can determine whether or not you will need to edit or add to it.

Bringing it All Together: How Preliminary Work Will help you Choose the Right DAM Solution

Doing the preliminary work will give you a better idea of what you need from a DAM solution, and that will help in the selection process.

Chan stresses that “The long-term success and adoption of a DAM starts with the foundation you put in place in the early stages.”

In other words when you take the time to define your workflow, structure, and metadata practices, you’ll ensure your DAM is set up for success.

But she says success also requires best practices be put into place after the migration as well.

“Ensuring the guidelines are clear to all users is imperative for maintaining the effectiveness of the system,” she says. “Some companies will hire a digital asset librarian to manage this foundation. At a minimum, having a person to champion this infrastructure is key.”

How to Prepare Your Content Before Migrating to a Digital Asset Management System: Part One

If you’re thinking about migrating to a digital asset management (DAM) system, you likely have one key goal: to centralize your content so that it’s more easily retrieved, edited, and shared. And DAM is the ideal solution for many organizations.

But before you migrate, it pays to do some preliminary work so that your content is ready to be transferred.

We’ll talk about how to do that in this 2-part series, but first, let’s address some basic issues.

What is a Digital Asset Management System?

You likely use a primitive form of DAM right now, even in your personal life.

For instance if you organize your files into folders, you are centralizing them in a way that makes sense to you.

That way, when you need to find a document, you have a hierarchy of file folders that you can sift through to retrieve the desired file.

A DAM works much the same way, but instead of the system making sense to only the creator, it works across an entire organization.

Its core competency is to centralize all digital assets, and then make it easy for employees, partners, or other authorized users to find, edit, use and share the content.

Some types of content stored on a DAM system are:

  • Digital documents
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Audio files
  • PDFs
  • Removable media on flash drives, CDs and DVDs
  • Digitized analog media such as slides, prints, and negatives

What are the Benefits of DAM?

To make the best use of digital assets, they must be properly structured in order to increase organizational efficiency.

A DAM system does that in 4 main ways:

  • By organizing documents into pre-defined classifications, millions of pages can be corralled into a system that makes sense to everyone who uses it.
  • User governance. Not all content is meant to be public, and DAM can help restrict access to sensitive assets.
  • Audits. It helps to know when a document was last updated, edited, or used and DAM systems keep detailed records.
  • Through the use of unique metadata, which we cover in-depth in part 2 of this series, end users can easily retrieve the assets they need.

How to Find Your Existing Data

The first step in preparing your data is to locate all of the assets you currently own.

According to Kevin Gavin, CMO at Canto.com, it’s common for digital assets to be scattered across a lot of storage platforms like Google Drive, Dropbox, SharePoint, and other file storage systems.

“Our customers usually start with the content owners who already know where they are storing various assets and ask them to provide an inventory of digital assets to be centralized in the DAM,” he says.

Amy Chan, SR Product Marketing Manager at Extensis agrees that identifying the key stakeholders and asking them to deliver the assets that need to be cataloged is the best way to accomplish the task, but she doesn’t believe it needs to be done in one step.

“This can happen in multiple stages,” she says, “with the first focused on the primary assets the organization wants to include in the DAM.” She notes that with Portfolio, her company’s DAM solution, additional assets can be identified and added at a later time.

Some of the types of stakeholders that may own content in your organization are:

  • Marketing team leaders
  • Creative team leaders
  • Visual and audio specialists
  • Content creators
  • Customers
  • Distributors
  • Vendors
  • Customer service representatives
  • Social media campaign managers
  • Sales representatives
  • IT department members

Deciding Which Content to Migrate and What to Leave Behind

Once you have an inventory of all the digital assets, it’s time to determine what you will migrate and which files you will delete or archive.

For example, some content will be outdated, no longer used, or duplicated.

Gavin says the best approach to deciding what should stay and what should go is: “If in doubt, centralize it in the DAM.” He says that the cost of storing the files is relatively small unless you’re storing high-resolution video files, so best practice is to centralize the storage of all digital assets in the DAM.

“Once they are centralized, then you can run reports and see which assets are being used and which ones are not. Those that are not being used are candidates for deletion or for transfer to archive storage.”

Chan has a different approach.

She suggests first defining the goals of the DAM, and then having all stakeholders agree to them.

“This can be based on the greatest challenges the organization is facing with their digital assets,” she says.

For example, if out-of-date or unapproved assets are being used, identifying those assets and archiving them should be the driving factor in deciding which content to migrate.

The Next Step: Adding Metadata

Now that you’ve located your content, organized it, and deleted any duplicates, it’s time to add metadata to it so end users will be able to find it easily.

This is a big topic so we’ll cover it in part two of this series.

RFP Software: Breaking Down the Options

Several of our RFP clients have asked us if there’s any good proposal software out there. Software that can help them make the proposal writing process a bit easier. Software that can help them keep track of deadlines, rules, forms, and updates. Software that makes it easier to manage feedback from multiple reviewers and balance several time-sensitive moving parts.

That’s a tall order. But we thought it was a great idea for a blog.

We haven’t used a lot of proposal-specific software, so we decided to embark on a little research to learn more about the proposal management software available today.

We reached out to several RFP software companies that were all kind enough to provide us with details of their programs and walk us through their best features.

1. Expedience Software

Expedience Software’s RFP response package functions as an add-on to Microsoft Office. It allows users to access features directly through Word, via an additional set of menus that appear within the word-processing program itself.

This approach has clear advantages.

It takes advantage of Word’s status as the most widely used word-processing software in the world, thereby allowing users who are already familiar with the platform to remain in a comfortable environment.

Additionally, it piggybacks on Word’s ability to co-operate with other programs in the Office suite, particularly Excel.

In short, it requires users to learn a limited set of new menu options and commands rather than an entirely new program, with a different location on the home screen, a different interface, and different internal logic.

As Jason Anderson, vice president for sales at Expedience Software, explained: “Being in Word brings us lots of advantages, mainly that it’s known.” Sticking to this familiar platform helps users save time, reduce the learning curve and make fewer mistakes along the way, he said.

Expedience Software adds new tabs to the Word menu at the top of the screen – namely, Style Palette and Content Portfolio.

The latter is likely to be the first destination when generating a new response to RFP, as it allows users to open proposals and access relevant company information and data through the selection of a content portfolio (i.e., a library of stored content from completed proposals and related documents). It lets them search the content portfolio and use the results of the search to add boilerplate text to documents.

Additionally, it gives users the ability to add metadata tags to items within the portfolio to facilitate future searches.

Style Palette allows users to format proposal documents, using familiar Word features such as style settings, tables and text boxes. It can apply previously used formatting and styles, so that new documents don’t have to be built from scratch.

The newest version of Expedience Software’s package also features an Excel Connect tab (not shown in the images above).

This tab allows users to move easily back and forth between Word and Excel, a handy feature when responding to RFPs that require bidders to submit their responses in spreadsheet format.

One drawback of the tie-in with MS Office is that Expedience Software does not have built-in scheduling or calendar capabilities, so it doesn’t give users the ability to set target dates and arrange for automatic reminders of upcoming deadlines. And, since it focuses primarily on document creation and editing, Expedience Software doesn’t offer as many project management as other software.

But Expedience Software does feature an intriguing approach to security and user access. Most of the providers we spoke with used a full licensing system that required each user within a company to have an individual license to access the program.

But Anderson explained that Expedience Software issues licenses only to users who need to access every part of the content portfolio. License holders can then grant outside experts and consultants limited access to basic viewing and editing functions without the need to acquire additional licenses, he explained. “Most other software won’t let you control access to content in this way, but we do,” he said.

Anderson also stressed that license holders had the ability to prevent unlicensed users from accessing every part of the company’s library. “You can restrict authorship,” he said, explaining that this option preserved the security of company records while ensuring that lower-level employees and outside consultants could still view and edit proposal documents as necessary.

He further noted that these security provisions allowed managers to protect confidential information without setting up additional storage infrastructure. License holders can restrict authorship to documents on existing company servers or any other storage solution, he said. “If there’s a firewall, it can be behind that. It can be on a network drive [or] in the cloud,” he said.

The bottom line: Expedience Software provides advanced document-management options in a setting that is both familiar and easy to access.

Main pros:

  • Based on familiar Word platform and has a low learning curve
  • Ties directly into Excel

Main cons:

  • No scheduling or calendar features
  • Few project management features

2. Qwilr

Qwilr is quite different from Expedience Software. This is not just because it is a stand-alone program with no explicit link to existing platforms, but also because it aims to turn out a different type of product.

Responses to RFPs typically follow one of two formats:

  • Word-type documents that describe a given company’s ability to provide goods and/or services, as well as its compliance with requirements
  • Spreadsheets that contain the same type of data and information in a pre-formatted, Excel-type format

By contrast, Qwilr allows users to generate a dynamic response that bears more resemblance to a web page than to a stack of paper.

Finished Qwilr products are web-based and have website-like elements such as hyperlinks, video content and online quote acceptance. Additionally, they can be built, edited and viewed on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.

The software appears to be easy to navigate, with a straightforward, point-and-click interface. “In terms of ease of use, we’re up there. The software is even pleasant to use,” said Jomar Gomez, a sales and customer success representative for Qwilr. Moreover, he said, the end product is easy to navigate, “as it’s more like a web page with design elements.”

Qwilr’s main focus is on this type of dynamic presentation. But users can also generate RFP responses in several formats, including text, and can save files as PDFs.

Additionally, Qwilr makes plenty of design and graphic elements available to users seeking to craft dynamic responses. It includes multiple pre-set templates, each with a different look and feel, and also lets users access a library of stock photos.

The software also offers a built-in quote acceptance tool that allows for a rapid response from contracting organizations. This easy-to-use tool features sliders that can be activated with the click of a mouse or the tap of a finger.

Another handy tool is the Analytics feature, which helps users keep track of the progress of a project, from the creation of the initial document to responses from contracting organizations.

Despite its forward-looking features, Qwilr does not lose sight of the fact that users need more than attractive graphics and design. It gives users the ability to create and access a library of boilerplate texts, and its Clone feature streamlines the process of using previous documents as a model for new responses.

Qwilr uses a standard licensing model, with each individual user required to obtain a license. It also includes security features such as Block, which restricts access to and editing capabilities, making it a good fit for companies that bring in outside consultants or experts when drafting proposals.

There are some downsides to this software, however: Qwilr does not tie directly into Excel, so it offers no advantages to users responding to RFPs in spreadsheet format. It does not appear to have a calendar function, though it does have an audit trail that lays out the timeline for each project.

The bottom line: Qwilr allows users to craft proposals that will stand out from the crowd.

Main pros: delivers visually striking content, includes useful tools

Main cons: doesn’t help with spreadsheet RFPs, no scheduling or calendar features, more suited to smaller companies that can present proposals in person

3. Loopio and RFPio

Both Loopio and RFPio allow companies to compile and draw on examples of past work, thereby simplifying tasks such as retrieving standard boilerplate text or duplicating existing formats. But they each offer unique takes on RFP response software. 

Loopio and RFPio do not piggyback on MS Office like Expedience Software; and they don’t emphasize web-style, graphics-focused content like Qwilr. Instead, these stand-alone packages bear a strong resemblance to project management systems, as both have dashboards and group projects into folders. Their folders and menus help companies to build on previous proposals and to compile boilerplate text, as both employ templates and metadata tags, as well as document and answer libraries.

Additionally, both are cloud-based platforms that use a standard licensing model. Both can be used on mobile devices as well as PCs.

There are differences between the two, though. The most noticeable of these is that RFPio appears to have a wider range of capabilities than Loopio.

For example, RFPio does not require users to work from templates, although it does offer them that option. It allows users to fill out a form with the relevant information (or with a command to retrieve specific information from the content library) and then generates a proposal on its own.

RFPio also offers a predictive text function based on artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. This reduces the time needed to search for and retrieve relevant information, said Chris Pulley, an account executive at RFPio. “There’s not even a need to cut and paste. That’s a huge component of the software,” he said. “RFPio automatically saves answers to questions. It will also suggest answers for you using key words, without any prompting. [This feature] is a key way to save time.”

Additionally, the program allows users to import questionnaires and MS Office files with only one click of the mouse. As such, it facilitates replies to spreadsheet-based RFPs while also streamlining the process of drawing on document files in Word or Excel format.

Both types of software allow companies to customize access levels for multiple users in order to guard confidentiality. However, Loopio only grants access to license holders, which means that companies using outside experts or consultants must obtain an additional license, explained Allison Russell, a sales development representative for the company. “The software is designed to serve a group of people collaborating and working on the same response toward a common goal, but it keeps confidential information secure,” she said. “We have different settings for that, and they’re up to the discretion of the user. The settings can be made different for each license user.”

RFPio, by contrast, gives users the option of granting outside consultants and experts access to content portfolios without additional licenses.

It also lets users set custom security levels to ensure that these contributors can access the information they need and no more. “There are different levels of access – administrator, member, and guest,” Pulley said. “The guest feature lets any employee be set up as a member of the team working on the response.”

RFPio and Loopio also differ significantly with respect to scheduling oversight. On this front, RFPio clearly comes out ahead, as it includes a calendar function that allows users to set specific deadlines and arrange for automatic reminders. And as Pulley emphasized, these notices and reminders are not just for major projects involving an entire team, but also for sub-tasks, assignments and questions directed to individuals, smaller groups and outside contributors.

Loopio, by contrast, follows Expedience Software and Qwilr in offering few options for scheduling. Russell did note, though, that the package included useful features for users seeking to comply with deadlines. “Project managers can have control over notifications,” she said. “They can send prompts and reminders to team members, using Loopio to send out emails with their message.”

The bottom line: RFPio and Loopio provide users the ability to generate and manage proposals in a project-management setting.

RFPio pros: calendar feature, tracks project progress in a manner similar to Qwilr’s Analytics tool, easy integration with MS Office files

RFPio cons: smaller companies may not need or use all features

Loopio pros: offers consistent branding through easy formatting options, builds strong library of boilerplate text and answers to previous questions

Loopio cons: no scheduling or calendar features, does not have same level of integration with MS Office files

Making the decision

Of the two cloud-based software packages reviewed here, RFPio appears to be a better option than Loopio. While the two systems are similar in visual presentation and basic functionality, the former gives users more options for managing content and access.

Among the other two, there is no obvious winner.

Expedience Software offers the lowest learning curve and the best integration with MS Office, but it is not an ideal platform for project management or scheduling. One online review also indicates that it works best for users who are already familiar with Word’s most advanced options.

For its part, Qwilr delivers the most attractive responses for companies seeking to stand out from their text-focused competitors, but its finished products will not satisfy all potential customers – especially large contracting organizations that require proposals to be submitted in the form of a spreadsheet. Instead, its web-based proposals probably pack the biggest visual punch in small, face-to-face settings.

The choice of RFP response package would seem to hinge, then, on the individual needs of potential buyers. Companies seeking to simplify and improve the RFP response process should, therefore, strive for a match between their resources and the software’s capabilities.


Even more options…

In our research for this blog, we chose to focus primarily on four software packages — but
there are, of course, many more options out there, each with its own unique pros, cons, and
capabilities. While we didn’t have time to do a deep dive into every piece of software, we can
offer a few high-level takeaways as a starting point.  

NiftyQuoter. This software boasts user-friendly features like drag-and-drop editing, a
customizable text block library, auto-reminders, and a visually appealing dashboard.
NiftyQuoter integrates with a variety of systems, including PayPal, Xero, FreshBooks,
Pipedrive, and more. Check out NiftyQuoter’s library of templates and view a sample proposal.

Nusii. This tool makes it simple to store, access, combine and customize frequently
used blocks of copy — which can be a huge time-saver if you write a lot of proposals.
The website also offers helpful downloadables such as a proposal checklist and an
eBook on client interviews.

Octiv. A productivity-focused option, Octiv is a document storage, sharing, and management
system that allows easy collaboration, editing, It is also designed to work with nearly any
device and integrate with commonly used systems like Box, Salesforce, Oracle, DocuSign,
and more.

PandaDoc. This cloud-based document management software offers free, downloadable
templates for a variety of documents, from proposals and quotes to HR documentation and
contracts. PandaDoc also allows real-time collaboration and keeps track of document views. 

Proposal Software. This appropriately named option helps companies prepare, organize,
and optimize RFP and RFI responses. One of the most appealing features of Proposal Software is its
PMAPS Content Manager tool, which gives users the ability to store, update, search, and access
commonly used information.

Proposify. This coffee-themed option offers a range of templates and a robust editing function that
allows you to change fonts, add videos and images, and modify page layout. It also offers
helpful extras like the ability to set permissions, track changes, and receive notifications every
time your proposal is opened or reviewed.



HOW TO BUILD A SUCCESSFUL INTRANET

You and your company have already made the decision. This is your intranet vision: a dynamic, collaborative experience that is

Possible? One-hundred percent. It’s been successfully achieved by countless organizations. But one thing they all agree on—whether you’re a big company with thousands of employees worldwide, or a small company with a few offices scattered across the state—is that embarking on Project Intranet is not to be done lightly.  So, let’s get started.

Strategic Planning for an Intranet

 

1. Decide: Go or No Go

On the Plus Side for Project Intranet

Is an intranet a foregone conclusion?  Maybe not, but connecting with employees is. The Deloitte University Press in its 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends listed employee experience as a central theme and a primary challenge for human resources departments across the country. And for companies eager to help employees engage with company culture, intranets are the obvious channel.

  • TIP: Millennials in particular are looking for ways to connect as employees. Values matter and they report wanting to have a sense of purpose in the workplace and greater insight into company goals.

 

More Pluses: Standard but Sooo So Satisfying

When basic information, standard to every company, becomes easily available with a minimum of hassle, everyone breathes a sigh of relief.

  • HR materials
  • Benefits forms
  • Training manuals
  • Insurance forms

 

Even More Pluses

  • Cost savings (if the new intranet solution is cheaper than old communication hardware and software)
  • Higher productivity from employees who feel more engaged
  • Higher earnings as a result of higher productivity
  • Better knowledge management
  • Better corporate security

 

On the Minus Side for Project Intranet

But before you become too accustomed to those rose-colored glasses, take a hard look at the less pleasant realities.

1. Cost of software and hardware

2. Cost of labor at outset and ongoing

  • Teams from each department must be trained to contribute content and staff must understand all the technical aspects of the intranet. Without effective training, implementation can actually hinder the employees’ ability to perform well.
  • Routine maintenance is a must and is another aspect that consumes time.
  • There must be intranet overseers who are constantly on guard for the uploading of excessive information that causes confusion. If navigation and organization of the intranet is affected, productivity can be impacted.
  • Even out-of-the-box software solutions are never truly complete and will need some customizing.

And as an extra incentive to do things right, take a squint at Blogger Deb Lavoy’s little survey called, “Why I Hate my Intranet”. Most answers circled around lack of usability and irrelevance but there were others:

Some responses were more colorful, one referencing the movie, Independence Day. “The president asks the captured alien, ‘What is it that you want us to do?’ The alien answers, ‘Die!’ That’s how I feel about Intranets. And I’d be willing to wage intergalactic warfare for the cause.”

Rose-colored glasses off but still ready for Project Intranet?  We thought so! On to the all-important human element: your team.

 

2. Assemble Team

Corporate entities that will probably be involved in the team include:

  • IT
  • Communications
  • HR
  • Training
  • End-users
  • System administrators
  • Intranet champions
  • Departments that will have content represented

If at all possible, schedule a day to go through the project goals and timelines.  To help people understand their individual roles, consider using a RACI responsibility assignment matrix, which assigns each team member to being Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, or Informed for each task.

Source: http://easyprojecthub.com/raci-explained-pros-cons/

It will be important for potential team members to have a clear idea of what the commitment means in terms of time and labor.

 

3. Identify Audiences

 ‘Know thy audience’ is the cornerstone of every good communications campaign. And lest we forget, an intranet is just another communications channel.

Companies often do employee surveys prior to setting up a major communications channel such as an intranet; others feel they have a good grip on end-user wants and needs. It’s important to have team members – such as end-users – who can represent those wants and needs truthfully in order to create an intranet that will be widely used.

What you find my surprise you.

In his article, “The Design Process: How to Redesign Your Intranet”, Toby Ward noted that “Not all of your intranet users will have the same needs. This means that the employee from Santa Monica will look for different resources than the one in Atlanta. Similarly, the associate from Communications will need different information, tools, and forms than the one from Sales. Also, not to be overlooked are the ways these different user audience types may wish to interact with content, and with one another. It is highly unlikely that your Millennials will wish to consume and communicate information in the same ways that some of your more seasoned employees do. So, analyzing your people becomes a fantastic place to begin your redesign journey.”

By knowing your audience well, you can be specific about your objectives and how to prioritize them.

Intranet Meets Culture

Knowing your audience also enables you to create a user experience that matches your company culture. To the left are examples of two prize-winning intranets that couldn’t be more different, but were equally effective in representing their organizations.

The Fred Hollows Foundation of New Zealand, a non-profit devoted to treating and preventing blindness, focused on gorgeous, moving photographs and an easy-to-use format that would inspire its workers throughout the world.

The Hulu Intranet, its users fondly dubbed Hulugans, was built with Igloo software and has a rowdy feel that invites its users in and celebrates its entertainment roots. It was voted one of the year’s best in 2016 by Intranet authority Neilson Norman Group.

4. Set Objectives

There are several different players with skin in this game so there are going to be diverse objectives to meet. They might go something like this:

  • Corporate Objectives: insight into corporate values and goals
  • Departmental Objectives: dissemination of essential materials
  • Management Objectives: motivational tools
  • Employee Objectives: social and interactive features
  • C-level Objectives: announcements/information

Or it might go nothing like that. It’s your intranet reflecting your priorities.

 

5. Create Action Plan and Timetable

Now that specific objectives are in place for Project Intranet, your team will create an action plan, consisting of ‘tactics’ to bring your goals to fruition. At the same time, you will begin to think about your timetable.

Actions

The action plan for every intranet project differs according to objectives and priorities, but the basics might go something like this:

  • complete decisions about and design of key content features
  • create features drafts and submit for end-user review
  • acquire hardware and software as required
  • migrate content
  • develop a training manual
  • plan for performance measurement
  • plan for launch
  • training for content providers end end-users
  • implement login for employees
  • execute internal marketing plan
  • launch

Some of these decisions, will be made departmentally. Other decisions will be made as a team.

Timeline

According to the Nielsen Norman Group in January of 2018, Intranet development timelines are getting shorter. “This year’s average of 14 months (or 1.2 years) is the shortest yet for our Intranet Design Annual winners,” said authors Kara Pernice, Amy Schade, and Patty Caya in The 10 Best Intranets of 2018.

Even though better Website development tools and out-of-the-box solutions are making the process faster, as with every major project, time is money. Every contributor to Project Intranet will depend on every other contributor to bring in his or her portion on time. So, a solid timeline, constantly updated, is a tool to live by.

 

5. Measuring Success

Yea! Launch day with all its festivities has come and gone and colleagues in the hall (and digitally of course) are high-fiving you all over the place. Your ‘likes’ are off the chart. But that doesn’t let you off the hook for constantly measuring the success of your creation.

Stakeholders in Project Intranet will be eager to celebrate with you but they will also be waiting for the kind of metrics that show you have met your objectives. Remember that showing how things have improved is only possible if you can show how they were before you began. So be sure you have the before statistics as well as the after statistics.

Knowing the right mix of metrics and anecdotal information to give an accurate picture of your success is tricky, according to the experts. But it’s not one you can afford to ignore. Future investment in Project Intranet and/or the inevitable improvements depend on accurate feedback. So a strong and very complete plan for what works and what doesn’t work is essential. As well as built-in strategies for how to act on new information. In that way, measuring gives real value, not just useless statistics.

 

In Conclusion

Building an intranet for your company is an undeniable challenge, but the rewards loom large. Done right, your intranet can demonstrate some of today’s best ways to communicate. Mr. Gates said it all:

“I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they’re interested in.   Bill Gates

A Delta Case Study

NAVIGATING A SUCCESSFUL PROPOSAL PROCESS: PART 3 OF 3

The Proposal Team Kick-Off

Before your team meets, distribute the RFP to all members. Instruct them to read it from cover to cover and come to the meeting with questions. After all, you’re not the only one who should be preparing.

2. Choose the proposal management software

If the proposal is extensive and/or requires many different hands, you’ll want to consider software to help you manage the process.

Your company may already use a certain project management program.

But be aware that there are software applications designed specifically for answering RFPs.

Capterra, a website with the byline “The Smart Way to Find Business Software” has compiled a list called Top Proposal Management Software Products. It includes the names, reviews (when available), and links to the websites for 95 web-based and installed applications.

The list offers the capability filter your choices and select and compare products.

You will likely not have the time to weigh all these choices before your kickoff, but keep in mind that there are many tools available to help you.

It would be well worth your time to research these options before an RFP crosses your desk if your company is considering bidding on any proposals in the future

3. Decide how the various sections and related documents will be reviewed

Will you simply email drafts and versions to your team?

If the proposal is small enough, this might be sufficient.

But for complex projects, consider document management software such as SharePoint® or a repository such as Google Docs where contributors can add and review content.

Of the 95 proposal management software products listed on Capterra, 42 include a content repository and document management.

4. Go through the RFP again

Make a list of every project deliverable.

Outline the terms used in the RFP that may need clarification with your team.

The RFP may have a glossary of terms, but there may be other jargon in the RFP that is unique to its issuer.

5. Create a spreadsheet that lists every deliverable in the RFP

Even if you have RFP project management software, the experts we consulted still recommend a good old-fashioned master spreadsheet.

A spreadsheet offers an at-a-glance overview of what you’ll need to produce and shows team members the status of each action item.

Plus, even the most tech-averse on your team will usually be comfortable with spreadsheets.

“Include columns where a name or names will be placed beside every deliverable,” says Carey Miller, a professional writer who has project managed dozens of RFPs. “Add column heads for project milestones, due dates, and reviewers for the initial drafts as well as reviewers for the final package.”

Please feel free to use our spreadsheet template to get you started.

Conducting the Kick-Off Meeting

Your team members must be absolutely clear about their roles, deliverables, and deadlines when they leave the first meeting.

It’s also critical that you cover certain rules of the game, so they’ll understand the company’s RFP process and some best practices in proposal writing.

Cover the topics that follow for a successful meeting.

1. Address the team members' questions about the RFP

When you circulated the RFP, you asked that team members come prepared with their questions about the RFP.

Address those questions up front so that they’re not interfering with people’s concentration during the other meeting topics.

2. Assign team members their roles

As each team member is assigned a role, clarify the responsibilities associated with that role.

3. Place a name or names in the column besides each deliverable

Go over the spreadsheet, one deliverable at a time. Determine whether the Subject Matter Expert (SME) will write it or if someone else will write the section using information provided by the SME.

Miller notes that the writer should be clear about the point person for information: “With an unusually complex proposal, there may be several point persons for various sections.”

4. Establish the reviewer for each section

The reviewer’s name may appear in multiple rows, depending on how many deliverables are in a section and how many sections that reviewer is qualified to review.

Hewitt stresses, “Designate reviewer(s) for the various sections and the reviewers for the packaged proposal.

The drafts can be reviewed by multiple SMEs; the finished package should be reviewed by only a small set of key players.”

5. Establish a timeline

In Winning Library Grants, A Game Plan, Herbert B. Landau writes, “To ensure that the deadline will be met, I start with the proposal delivery date and work backwards to the present.” \

Build in a pad in case something unexpected results in a project slowdown.

Landau also suggests, “To allow for all contingencies, set the date to have the complete proposal, including all forms, the narrative, the budget, and all attachments, at least four days before the day the proposal must be submitted.”

Include each of the following milestones in your timeline:

  • The completion date for the initial draft of each section or part thereof (according to the list of deliverables)
  • The completion date for the initial review by one or more SMEs
  • The completion date for incorporating the requested changes into the initial draft
  • The completion dates for any additional review cycles
  • The required submission date for the budget numbers and any attachments
  • The completion date of the draft of the packaged proposal
  • The completion date of the package review
  • The completion date for incorporating review revisions
  • The completion date of the final proofreading (ideally set at four or more days before proposal delivery)

Tip: Build in as much time as possible for the proposal writer to organize and format the information, write the executive summary and conclusion, ensure that everything in the RFP has been addressed, incorporate the required dollar amounts, and ensure that the proposal reads as though one person wrote it. If there is a particularly tight deadline for proposal submission, consider insisting on very tight deadlines for reviews.

6. Distribute and discuss your list of terms in the RFP and their definitions as they apply to the contract

This will ensure that, in echoing the lingo of the RFP, the terms will be accurately and consistently applied by your team.

7. Explain how documents will be reviewed and progress tracked

As the leader of this meeting you should have a clear idea from your pre-meeting planning as to how these processes will flow.

8. Discuss lessons learned

Consider including a brief review of lessons learned by previous proposal teams.

You may have conducted lessons-learned reviews following other proposals, but, depending on how long it’s been or whether there are members who didn’t participate on those teams, it may be helpful to review a few of them now.

CONGRATULATIONS!

You have successfully put the proposal process in motion.

You have scrutinized and absorbed the RFP, captured the requirements, consulted various key players, anticipated and worked through potential roadblocks, made critical project management decisions, initiated a team, and put the team in motion.

COMMUNICATING WITH CUSTOMERS IS NO LONGER NOT AN OPTION- Tips for Navigating the Online Customer Experience

Gone are the days when a customer walked away from a less-than-stellar dining, shopping, or service-related experience with head held low and disappointment weighing heavy on her shoulders.

Now, an unhappy customer can spread word of a business blunder in the blink of an eye by posting a bad review on Yelp, a scathing video testimonial on YouTube, or an unflattering post on Facebook.

Depending on the day and time, that post/video can go viral, causing pain and suffering for the business that did not seize the opportunity to right the wrong.

It takes insight, patience and a whole lot of customer communication to stay on top of the game these days.

Consider this scenario (names have been changed to protect the innocent):

Jim buys a coupon online for national brand carpet cleaning service.

Prior to the fast-approaching coupon expiration date, Jim calls to set up an appointment to have his carpets cleaned. Customer service representative claims not to know about the availability of online coupons and states she will have someone get back to Jim.

Three days go by – expiration date looms – Jim is sweating. Jim calls back, slightly irritated that the customer service representative did not follow through on her promise. This time, the customer service representative states that the coupon will not be honored.

Jim fumes, then contacts the online customer service department for the coupon company. He considers posting a scathing review of national carpet cleaning service on Yelp, as well as his Facebook and Twitter accounts.

However, before he has time to type up the review, the coupon company contacts the carpet cleaning company about the situation and follows up with Jim. Less than an hour later, a local franchise owner with said national brand contacts Jim, apologizes, clears the coupon with national, and sets up an appointment to clean Jim’s carpets that very week.

Carpets are cleaned and Jim is happy – coffee stains are gone.

Jim writes a great review for carpeting cleaning service on Yelp, Facebook, Twitter…and posts a picture of his spotless living room carpet on Instagram.

Scenarios like this happen millions of times each day, but they don’t always end with happy customers, clean carpets, and positive Yelp reviews.

Even though it seems simple enough to turn the situation around, companies often miss the opportunity to convert an unhappy customer into one that, at the very least, does not write a bad review on social media.

Putting the “Us” in Customer Experience

Evolving digital tools and technologies are strong drivers for changing consumer habits and expectations.

With access to what seems like an infinite amount of information available at the touch of a screen, it’s not surprising that customers expect an efficient purchase process and immediate solutions when problems arise.

But it’s important to note that, while customers’ use of technology may have changed, their expectations for customer service have remained the same: they want to be treated with respect, and they want to feel connected to the brand, the company, the product they are buying.

In their September 2015 article, “Building a design-driven culture” authors Jennifer Kilian, Hugo Sarrazin, and Hyo Yeon state that, in many cases, customers prioritize the experience of buying and using a product over the performance of the product itself.

It’s not enough to just sell a product or service—companies must truly engage with their customers.-Jennifer Kilian, Hugo Sarrazin, and Hyo Yeon

For retailers and service providers, this means it’s critical to know how your customer experience stacks up against the competition.

You’re likely not the only company offering your product or service, after all.

What makes you stand out? Why do your customers choose you? Why do some of them choose to leave? Why did they choose your competitor when your offerings are so similar?

Though not a new concept, the idea of assessing “customer experience,” is a valiant attempt at understanding what, in a nutshell, a business needs to focus on to retain customers and remain in business.

In his October 2010 article, “Understanding the Customer Experience,” Adam Richardson states that, whether it’s on online, through email, on the phone or in person, customer experience is “…the sum of how customers engage with your company and brand, not just in a snapshot in time, but throughout the entire arc of being a customer.”

Social Media Marketing is the new Direct Mail

So how does today’s retailer stand out from the competition and build positive customer relationships?

In the past, relationship-building took place face-to-face or door-to-door: Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA used to work the cash registers in his stores to better understand his customers and their concerns.

Today, IKEA uses several digital platforms to connect with customers, such as Share Space, a site that encourages customers to share photos of spaces created using the brand’s self-assembled furniture, and “How to Build” videos that show customers how to assemble the furniture.

Even the company’s more traditional printed catalogue is available in an interactive, online version and an accompanying app with a “Place in Your Room” feature that allows users to try out furniture pieces in a virtual sense.

These advanced marketing techniques enhance and expand the customer experience, but never stray from the IKEA mantra: The customer comes first.

Billy Robinett, Vice President of Houston Pizza Venture, LLC – the company that owns the Papa John’s pizza franchise – says that, before the Internet, Papa John’s connected with customers through hand-delivered flyers and direct mail pieces, as well as through sponsorship of school and community events and sports teams.

Those tactics may have worked very well in the pre-Internet era, but today’s tech-savvy customers are less likely to shop at storefronts or pay attention to “snail mail.”

Connecting with customers now means manning the virtual cash registers (i.e., customer support chat lines) or reaching out through viral videos, Facebook posts, or targeted email campaigns.

Robinett says Papa John’s still maintains its strong connections with schools and organizations, but the company has also shifted some of its focus to online ordering and sales to accommodate its customers’ increasing use of web and mobile technologies.

Papa John’s is also embracing social media as a way to create and strengthen its relationships with pizza lovers.

For example, Papa John’s uses Twitter’s customer service tools to scan content on that platform for certain phrases, such as “I am hungry” or words to the effect that someone had a bad experience at any fast food restaurant.

When those phrases are detected, a message is sent directly to the sender, such as, “Hungry? Why not try one of our pizzas – get 10% off with this code,” or “We are sorry to hear you had a bad experience. Have a pizza on us with the code.”

“Technology just opened another door for us to reach our customers,” Robinett said. “We still do a lot of things to create emotional connections with customers, such as showcasing our partnerships with local sports icons like JJ Watt and James Harden, and talking directly to our customers on social media.”

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

In other words, if you want to get a high customer experience score, all it takes is a shift in thinking and some virtual elbow grease.

It’s not that much different than working the cash register or hanging flyers on door handles.

The common denominator between the “old” and the “newer” is communications. Without communications tools, your efforts may fall flat.

Position Your Business for Success

Here are five communications concepts – and tools for implementation – to proactively position your business and connect with current and potential customers in the virtual world:

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

1. Catch your customer’s eye

If you’re not hanging out where your potential customers are hanging out, the potential for getting their attention is slim to none.

Various methods of advertising, media and public outreach, and one-on-one interaction are parts of the equation; but more and more a strong online presence and strategy is an essential element of a business’ marketing plan.

A clean, clear and user-friendly website is a must; as well as informative and engaging content on social media platforms.

Here are a few tips for creating eye-catching, engaging websites and landing pages:

  • Make sure your landing page(s) is crystal clear about what product(s) or service(s) you offer. Attention spans have grown short, and customers are likely to leave a website immediately if the value proposition isn’t clear. Try UsabilityHub to test the efficacy of your landing page headline.
  • Don’t forget a user-friendly mobile website. A growing share of web traffic is from mobile devices. You don’t want to drive away potential business because on-the-go customers are concerned that they won’t be able to shop or reach you on their smartphones.
  • Utilize tools like Qualaroo to get feedback about what’s working and what’s not on your website, and the reasons for both.
  • Make it easy and fun for customers to engage with you on social media. Provide direct connections to your social channels through your website, and monitor them closely with Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. Keep this in mind –social media is another way for people to interact in a one-on-one format, so if you go days without replying to a customer’s question, comment or request, it is on par with not returning a message on your answering machine from the days of yore.

2. Be human, not machine

Put yourself out there, be bold and engage with your customers, particularly when they are not satisfied. Don’t use acronyms or industry-speak. Be relaxed, yet professional. Demonstrate that you care and that you’re improving their life in some way.

Communications tools that help humanize your digital presence include:

  • Use live chat on your website so that you can talk directly to potential customers who have questions or are shopping around and want to get a feel for what you do and how you do it. For many people, Live chat is a first step toward building a relationship with a company. Based on that experience, they may be willing to take the next step.
  • Although many cyber shoppers prefer live chat or email, some want to speak directly to a company representative by phone, so ensure that you have a contact phone number on your website and other marketing materials.
  • Provide training so that your employees are well versed on personalizing a customer’s experience. There are several customer relation management software platforms available that allow you to keep track of customer contact details, time and date of interactions, and many have email and website interface capabilities so that you can interact in a variety of ways.
  • Make sure that your communications products – digital or paper – have content and graphics that are brimming with personality. People trust brands they know. If the voice of your website copy is bland or cold, you are missing a valuable opportunity to build a connection.
  • Experiment with email marketing using tools like , which make it easy to create subscriber forms and send email to your web subscribers. Again, engaging content is key in all communications, including those sent to customers through email.

3. Build their confidence

A business owner knows what his or her company does best.

Don’t be afraid to focus on what you are good at, WHY you do it, and perhaps most importantly, why it will help customers have a happier, simpler, fuller, more informed life.

Customers want and need to know WHY you’re better than all the rest – so tell them. Tweet this

And, telling them why you do it is the icing on the proverbial cake.

Your story sets you apart from the rest, gives you a human face and can set the stage for a long, loyal relationship.

  • Post blogs on your website that provide information about trends in your product line or industry, or that offer useful information to your customers and potential customers. Focus on positive messages – readers on your website want to be encouraged and shown the benefit of what you provide instead of focusing on negativity.
  • Give your customers the floor! Provide them with an easy avenue to write and post a review on your website. The benefits are two-fold: You are one of the first to see the review and can respond to negative feedback quickly, which may result in the customer taking down the review or at least modifying the content. Secondly, many shoppers trust reviews and recommendations from their peers, so a good review may go a long way toward selling your product for you. Be sure to include the reviewer’s name and company, if they allow.
  • Make sure your web copy is current and clean. More is not always better. Consider hiring an experienced consultant to assist in this process – they are good at what they do and bring a fresh eye to the process.

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

4. Put a face to your name

As any good reality show illustrates, people like to know what other people are all about and what makes them tick. The same can be said for the businesses they choose to patronize.

If a company keeps customers at arm’s length, then the customer never establishes a bond with the products or services, and can be easily swayed to the competition.

There are myriad ways that you can involve your customers, from videos to events to a fun contest that you advertise on your website and social media accounts.

  • Post personalized videos on your website. Start with your business’ “birth” story and take it from there. Remember the customer as you are producing and editing these videos – few people are willing or able to watch a 30-minute documentary on any one subject, but will engage in shorter, personal videos about your employees, how you source your product, and what community organizations you support.
  • Use colorful photographs and graphics to communicate your brand to shoppers. Don’t be afraid to try unique and even quirky methods, but always remain true to your brand image. In other words, don’t try to be something you’re not!
  • Create a newsletter that provides content on your latest and greatest products and company news.
  • Create an online customer community where your customers can gather in a web-based environment to discuss problems, post reviews, brainstorm new product ideas and engage with one another about your company’s products, services and brand. offers an online customer community platform that allows you to monitor it from social media so that you can provide input when needed, and gather valuable customer insights.
  • Participate as a sponsor or volunteer in community events. Serve as a mentor at your local elementary, middle or high school. The more you get your face out there, the more customers you may draw to your company because many enjoy aligning themselves with businesses that are dedicated to making a difference in their community.

5. Avoid “turtle syndrome”

Don’t pull your head in and hide when you hear – or see – the words, “I never got…” or “This is not what I ordered…” or even the more general “I am not happy with…”

View these situations as problems to be solved so that a) you improve your product and service; and b) you gain a customer for life.

  • Pick up the phone, or respond to the email, text message or social media post that outlines the customer’s concern, and immediately jump in with both feet and work with your customer to find a solution to the problem.
  • Scan social media platforms for company reviews of all types – good, indifferent or bad, and respond immediately and directly to the reviewer in a positive way. That proactive stance can go a long way toward winning back a customer, and gaining additional customers who witnessed the interaction on social media.
  • Be proactive and ask your customers for feedback. This can be accomplished in many ways – through online surveys ( Monkey is a good source), during live chat or customer service calls, through social media channels or in person. This allows you to draw information from customers who have not provided feedback on their own, but who may have good suggestions from a user’s point of view.

Today’s business climate demands more of business owners and their employees, but the interaction with customers has its benefits: repeat sales, rising profits, and hopefully, long-lasting relationships.

When you feel the responsibilities of the customer experience process weighing heavy on your shoulders, recall the famous words of Sam Walton, founder of the mega-giant retail chain Wal-Mart:

“There’s only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company, from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”

NAVIGATING A SUCCESSFUL PROPOSAL PROCESS: PART 2 OF 3

We’re Going Forward. What Next?

The Go/No-Go meeting was held, and the decision’s been made: Your company is going forward with the proposal.

Now the ball is back in your court. You’ve managed a proposal team before, but the contract was simple and called for far fewer resources. This one will require input from several divisions, and somehow, they all need to coordinate on a single 100-page document in just a few short weeks.

You know the first step is setting up your team, but you’re not sure who should be on it. What resources do you need, and what should they do?

Choosing the Right Team

We asked a series of experts on proposal writing for some tips and best practices on setting up proposal teams. Meet our experts:

  • Stephanie Hashagen – Professional writer who frequently works on clients’ proposal teams
  • Dan Hewitt – Process safety specialist who participates on well-orchestrated proposal teams using a proven approach at a major engineering firm
  • Marion Winsett – Career sales manager in oilfield equipment who has negotiated contracts and written countless proposals

They gave us some time-tested advice, starting with a very important key concept:

Be realistic.

It’s easy to put together a team based on a best-case scenario.  It’s much safer to put together a team based on a real-life scenario.

That is, assume the RFP will take more time than you think, and your team will have less time than they think.

“It’s imperative you choose individuals who are capable of responding quickly to the proposal time constraints,” Hashagen says. “Be sure they don’t have too much on their plate, and consider whether their other responsibilities might require them to address something unexpected that is time critical for another client.”

The size of your team will likely depend on the size of your company and the complexity of the proposal. However, for most proposals, eight key roles must be filled.

  • Proposal manager
  • Sales team representative
  • Contract manager
  • Subject matter experts
  • Estimator
  • Writer
  • Graphic artist (optional)
  • Editor

A few of your team members may wear more than one hat, but Hashagen advises, “Remember to be realistic and be sure there are enough people on the team to meet the deadline.”

Proposal Team Roles

A. Proposal Manager

Who is in charge of getting this proposal to the finish line?

Since you brought the proposal this far, you might be the assumed leader for this proposal project. But keep in mind that you may not be the best choice for the role of proposal manager.

To be fair to yourself and your team, you must consider your strengths and the demands on your time:

1) Are you extremely detail-oriented, comfortable with pestering people, and used to juggling tight schedules on a day-to-day basis?

2) Are you managing other proposal teams, or are there significant demands on your time outside the proposal process such as managing other projects or generating sales?

You must be able to answer yes to the first question and no to the second before you should consider yourself for the role of proposal manager. Failure to consider these questions honestly can result in a proposal that looks and reads like it was hastily put together.

Hashagen goes on to outline the proposal manager’s responsibilities:

  • Managing the schedule to make sure all deadlines are met
  • Tracking the progress of each part of the proposal package
  • Maintaining close communication with everyone, including subcontractors, who will provide information for (or write sections of) the proposal
  • Collecting the information and the draft documents and distributing them to the right parties, or, if documents are to be routed and tracked in a document management system, ensuring that the information is relayed by the deadline and tracked in the system
  • Providing the reviewed and revised input to those who will produce the final version of the proposal
  • Distributing the package to the final review team
  • Ensuring that the final review comments are provided to the proposal writers, the final proposal package undergoes a rigorous proofreading process, and the proposal is delivered on time.

B. Sales Team Representative

Hewitt emphasizes the importance of having someone from your sales force on the team.

“A person involved in external sales can provide important information about the company issuing the RFP. A person in inside sales lends experience in the proposal process and the proper organization, formatting, and template (if any). Either one can review the finished package with an experienced eye.”

 

C. Contract Manager

Not to be confused with proposal manager, this person is the individual designated to manage the project once the contract has been won.

Depending on the demands of his or her current project, the contract manager may or may not be expected to participate on the proposal team.

“In instances when the contract manager is too heavily involved in another project to participate on the team, the proposal manager relays team members’ questions to the contract manager and provides information from the contract manager to the team,” Hashagen says.

D. Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)

Select an SME from each discipline who will be involved in project delivery if the contract is won.

“The SME may simply provide the necessary information for a particular section or sections of the proposal,” Hashagen explains. “Or the SME may actually write the initial drafts of the sections pertaining to his or her discipline.”

SMEs participate in proposal team meetings so that important questions aren’t overlooked. Interdisciplinary communication improves the consistency and accuracy of the initial drafts.

The combination of the SMEs’ expertise and experience is the reason your company should be chosen above your competitors.

E. Estimator or Proposal Finance Manager

This person is responsible for providing the projected costs that the RFP requires.

If the estimator or proposal financial manager does not participate on the team itself, the person in this role is still responsible for providing the numbers to the proposal writers and for proofing the final proposal to ensure the accuracy of the financial data.

F. Writer

Your proposal package must be cohesive and written in a single voice. Although there are multiple contributors, someone must write the proposal so that it is properly organized, precisely stated, and consistent.

In addition, the writer ensures that the proposal has an executive summary, a table of contents, and a conclusion, as well as a list of tables and figures and a list of related documents when required.

If your business employs a writer or communications specialist, that person may serve as the writer. If not, a writing agency can be contracted for this role. How the writer proceeds will be determined at your first meeting.

On some proposal teams, the proposal manager funnels all the information to the writer in the form of SME-drafted content and financial data.

G. Graphics Artist (optional)

If your template requires custom artwork for each proposal or you are preparing your first response to an RFP, you may need a graphic artist. This team member ensures that logos, illustrations, workflow diagrams, and organizational charts are attractive, consistent, and accurate.

In an article for Entrepreneur called The 10 Things You Need to Know When Responding to RFPs, George Debb, managing partner at Red Rocket Ventures, suggests, “Intersperse the company’s logo and images throughout the presentation so you look like you put customized work into your response, tailored just for your recipient.”

H. Editor

A capable editor carefully proofreads the final package with a fresh set of eyes. Significant errors in the proposal may cause the potential client to question whether your approach to the project itself will be less than fastidious. The editor must carefully double check the entire proposal to ensure that every deliverable requirement and every stipulation in the RFP has been addressed.

Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels

Addressing the Need for Outside Resources

It is likely that you addressed the need for additional resources in your early discussions with key personnel within your company, and also during the Go/No-Go meeting. (See our first blog post in this series, ““To Bid or Not To Bid.”)

If subcontractors are required, a team must be assembled to source and select the contractors. This team is often independent of the team writing the proposal and may be members of your sales force, as they likely have existing relationships with the subcontractors.

This selection team must begin its work as soon as the decision has been made to proceed with the proposal.

When selecting a subcontractor, your selection team should consider how much of the proposal you’ll need the subcontractor to handle.

Winsett stresses the importance of working closely with the subcontractor(s). “The (proposal) team and the subcontractor must agree to the terms in the RFP. Terms stipulated in the RFP that the subcontractor sees as roadblocks must be addressed immediately.”

Depending on the complexity of the contract, the subcontractor selection team or some of its members “may be required to work with the subcontractors throughout the proposal process,” Winsett adds.

 

Providing for Content from Sources Outside Your Company

If the only information from outside sources is the cost of materials or hourly rates for extra resources your employees will be managing, the proposal team’s estimator can furnish that data.

In cases where the subcontractor contributes expertise or unique solution, the subcontractor may need to provide  proposal content. In that case, the proposal manager will transmit their contribution to the appropriate SME for review and to the writer for editing.

Next in this Series: Ensuring a Successful Kickoff  

Now you’re equipped to map out the key roles your proposal team should include and identify the optimum people to fill them. You also have the information you’ll need to help your team members understand exactly what they’ll be expected to do. Now all you have to do is hold a kickoff meeting with your team to get the proposal process in gear. What should you cover? How can you avoid missteps — and the risk of confusion, communication failures and missed deadlines?

Read the third blog in our series to learn how to prepare for your kickoff and what you’ll need to cover to give your proposal the best possible chance of succeeding.