Gregory W. Pease of Tenzing Consulting presents some fundamental advice on improving your company's proposal writing efforts in his article "How Do I Avoid Reinventing the Wheel on Every Proposal?”
- design an achievable schedule
- offer just-in-time training at the right points during proposal development
- mature the proposal process by 1) documenting it, and 2) incorporating lessons learned
Greg presents some ideas on how to leverage proposal content via repositories. This concept is a double-edged sword. You run the risk of having the wrong customer name in a graphic, or worse, being non-responsive because your writers leveraged content designed for a completely different solution. Reuse squelches the creativity of the storyboard process and can inundate reviewers with too much text in the early color reviews.
Bottom line, the use of proposal boilerplate must be handled with caution.
I agree with the idea of developing a culture of improvement. Proposal people can burn out quickly, so it's important to reward them and encourage them to drive improvements in the process. Greg offers good advice to company executives to develop a list of 3 to 5 investment priorities and expected benefits and then share with everyone to achieve buy-in.
In the end, Greg sums it up nicely: Eliminating “reinventing the wheel” in your proposal environment is about committing to change in the way you apply people, process, technology, and investment.