How to meet deadlines and win business with better pitch and tender documents
If you work in business development, you probably want to spend your time developing client and prospect relationships. Learning about your contacts’ concerns so you can provide solutions that address them. Getting a deep understanding of their business challenges, and working out ways to tackle them.
I’ll take a guess, though, that if you add up the amount of time you spend with clients and prospects – compared, say, to the amount of time you spend on admin – it’s a bit depressing.
Focusing your time where it’s most needed
Of course, producing presentations, pitch documents and responses to RFPs is an integral part of your role. But that doesn’t mean you should be doing this instead of building relationships. In an ideal world, you’d be able to minimise the amount of time you spend on proposals so you can maximise the time you spend on other areas.
For example, the time you can spend:
- Out of the office, meeting with contacts
- Deepening relationships with prospects, via targeted communications
- On broader client development activity, like events and hospitality
- On social selling, blogging or other content marketing initiatives
- On training and improving your skillset
All of these will improve your understanding of the market in which you operate, the specific obstacles facing your clients and contacts, and your ability to respond to them.
But if you want to focus on these, you’ll need to find ways to free up time elsewhere.
Tackling inefficiency in the business development process
Pulling together RFP and pitch documents can take far longer than it should.
How long do you spend:
- Tracking down accurate company information
- Searching out correct logos – often quite a challenge if your business has numerous sub-brands
- Ensuring you have up-to-date stats on office numbers, AUM or award wins
- Making sure you have the relevant disclaimers and regulated statements
- Checking brand guidelines to make sure your presentations are brand-compliant
- Getting Compliance approval for the finished documents – which can include significant time amending non-compliant content
A more efficient way to produce sales documents
Producing pitch and tender documents can be a headache – but there are ways to remove the pain from the process.
- Consider developing templates that make it easy to produce on-brand presentations. Branding and ‘non-compliance-related’ amendments can make up a surprising amount of the changes needed to get sign-off. Getting the branding right speeds the approval process and helps you meet your deadlines.
- How easy is it for you to find and re-use already-approved content? Many presentations will contain a lot of identical material. If you can avoid reinventing the wheel, you will save a lot of time.
- Is up-to-date corporate data easy to find? Do you know where to source performance information, AUM figures, office locations and numbers, employee statistics? If these are held in one easily-accessible portal, your life will be a lot easier.
- Sales documents are classed as financial promotions, and therefore have to meet the FCA’s requirements. This means not only in terms of content, but in terms of archiving and record-keeping. Automating the archiving process minimises manual intervention, which reduces the risk of errors or omissions.
- Do you know which pitches and tenders were successful? Business-winning content should be easily-identified, making it easy to replicate.
- What do your Compliance processes look like? Is there lots of paperwork, manual processes, duplication and rework? Or do you review materials online, collaborating on a single document to prevent version control issues, with real-time reviewing and instant feedback?
Declutter your admin and focus on selling
By tackling some of the areas above, you can make significant improvements to the way you work. You’ll free up time to really focus on your customers. What’s more, when it comes to proposals and business development presentations, you can concentrate on the areas where you can truly add value – understanding the client’s issues and tailoring solutions to meet them.
Free yourself from the tyranny of admin and repetitive processes and you can transform the way you spend your time. Workflow automation tools are available that can help with all of these areas. If you’re serious about streamlining your sales process, they are worth exploring.
Our whitepaper on The benefits of automated workflow systems has a lot more information on how streamlining your approach can improve efficiency, save money and reduce risk. It’s free, and you can read a copy here.