Legal marketing departments are often asked to consider tools that can help with driving and creating efficiencies, especially for proposals. Often times, marketing departments buy into the newest tool and wonder why no one is using it a year later, or they notice that the content is no longer viable. Before signing that contract and handing over the check, take an assessment of your proposal process and tools. Build a blueprint to help you navigate what’s next for your team.
Understand Your Process
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I have a proposal process? If you don’t have a process in place, develop one and find the gaps.
- What does the proposal process look like at my firm? Consider the different elements and how each is managed: writing, project management, content management, experience management, design, and word processing.
- How does my team build a proposal? When it comes to putting together a proposal, you may find that the process is not consistent from team member to team member. Take the time to understand each approach and why it may look different from someone else’s.
- What areas are challenging for my team? Parts of your process may not work as well as you thought and could be causing issues.
- Where are the inefficiencies? Understand where your team is spending most of their time and why. In some cases, firms find they need to focus on experience management before putting a proposal system in place.
The answers to the above will impact what tools and systems you have, or will put, in place.
Pain Points and Challenges
Speak with your team and understand their pain points. Prioritize and categorize the pain points to help guide your search for a tool or system that will solve them. It will be tempting to look for a tool to solve all the issues, but keep your expectations realistic. There likely isn’t one tool that can do it all, so look for tools that address high priority pain points and target what you can realistically achieve. This will also help with identifying which features are needed if you do end up looking for a tool or system. If a new tool or system is the next step for your team, think about how this will impact the proposal process. If you are asking your team to change the way they have always created a proposal, be sure this is communicated early on and with detailed information on the change. Usage is something to consider as well. Having all the features of many systems can be overwhelming for users. If a feature is built out or the reason you purchase a system, will your team actually use that feature?
Budget, resources, maintenance and support, change management, and team buy-in are just a few challenges that you encounter. Strategize the ways in which you will tackle these challenges. Do you have the budget to purchase and implement a new system? Will building out a current application to address the priority pain points be more cost- effective? Will implementing a new tool require additional resources? Who will help with implementation and training? Will that resource also be available to continue support and maintenance after launch and implementation? Is your team a large global team spread across several offices and time zones or do you have a small team sitting in one location?
Speak with your IT team and other departments. There may be an internal resource, person or application you can leverage to help solve some of the issues that your team is encountering. If a person resource, what have they seen or done in other firms to help solve similar problems? If an application, brainstorm with your IT team to see how you can push applications that the firm or other departments are using to build something that could solve those proposal pain points. For example, Excel can be used to create dashboard reporting via graphs, connectors, and slicers.
For additional resources and a blueprint and project charter to help you navigate some of these tough questions and start this process, contact Ger directly!
By Ger Thor, Manager, M&BD Global Systems Infrastructure, Hogan Lovells US LLP