A proposal template that embeds and prompts for customer-focused writing can be an effective tool to remind your team to prepare proposals that address customer issues. But the template on its own can’t increase your win rate. You also need to monitor and manage its use to meet clearly defined, measurable quality standards.
Consider this common situation: Company X purchases proposal preparation software that helps writers identify, select, and insert potentially relevant reuse material into a word processing file. The template defines styles for theme statements, action captions, headings, summaries, introductions, bullet lists, callouts, success stories, and even reserves a wide left margin for emphasis devices. However, if nothing is placed in the left margin, the customer’s perception is that Company X has nothing worth emphasizing. If the left-margin callouts comprise bland, me-too claims, this also reflects adversely on Company X.
Tools can actually reduce proposal quality – if the writers do not know or are not equipped to implement your quality standards and management does not enforce these standards. Defining standards is the first step in measuring the contribution of your proposal preparation tools.