Dear Santa: A Proposal Writer’s Christmas List

There’s no checking twice: responding to RFPs, RFIs, and RFQs, and, for our friends in Canada, RFTs (Request for Tender) is challenging, especially during the holidays. The proposal weather – aka volume - in the last weeks of December is frightful, with a blizzard of last-minute, tight turnaround RFPs that are decidedly not delightful.

Fortunately, Once Upon an RFP is here to help you. That blizzard of RFPs you can’t navigate through? That’s just a minor squall to us.

How do we do it? Last year, our proposal writers wrote a letter to Santa asking for some cool tools to help them. Here’s what was on their wish list. Many of these tools are available to you as well. You might already have them right next to the elf on your shelf.

Project Management Software

The OUanRFP team loves project management software, especially anything accessed via the cloud from a desktop, tablet, or phone. Applications like Microsoft Teams and SharePoint make communicating with sales managers and business owners on all aspects of the proposal development process easy.

Old-School Stationery

You might think old-school stationery, like pens, pencils, legal pads, highlighters, or even whiteboards, isn’t necessary if you’re using project management software, but it is. People think visually. It’s always great to have a pen and notepad handy to jot down an idea or notes during a meeting.  

A Complete Computer Set Up

A complete computer setup, including a laptop with the latest processor and enough memory and hard disk space to manage your proposal volume and the newest version of your company’s operating system, will result in fewer system slowdowns and outright crashes. Add a stand or external cooling fan to circulate air below the laptop to prevent overheating. Also, remember to ensure your proposal team has all the peripherals they need: multiple monitors, a docking station, a headset, and a printer/scanner are invaluable.

Don’t Forget Ergonomics

Ergonomic equipment such as standing desks and matching chairs, wrist rests, footrests, and ergonomic keyboards and mice increase proposal team productivity; they save you money in potential medical claims resulting from carpal tunnel syndrome.

All the Apps

Our OUanRFP Client Service Team loves apps. It’s right up there with project management software at the top of our lists. Licenses to PDF management software, desktop publishing programs, grammar-checking software, and content design tools make our proposals pop while streamlining the time we need to spend on each bid.

Stay Up in the Cloud

One of our favorite apps is not an app but a cloud-based networking and data storage platform. It makes collaborating on complex bids easy and allows us to work from anywhere. We can even take a working lunch break away from our desks occasionally. Those breaks keep us sharp for our clients.

Last, But Not Least... Our Old Friend, the Dictionary

…and thesaurus, style guide, etc. A good proposal relies heavily on sound grammar, spelling, and consistent style. With everything dictionaries, grammar and spelling checkers, and style guides being available online, hard copy tomes of the latest dictionary, thesaurus, and AP Stylebook or Chicago Manual of Style might seem unnecessary. Not quite. There are still some essential writing and editing tools you can’t find online or, like the AP Stylebook, require a monthly subscription.

Yes, you could give your proposal team an Amazon gift card or some company swag for Christmas, but why not make it a win/win and give them what they need? Setting up your proposal team for success by providing them with all the hardware, software, and staples they need will help you ride through that blizzard of last-minute holiday RFPs and carry you into the new year as effortlessly as if you were riding along with Santa in his sleigh.

Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

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