An AEC Marketers Guide: Streamline Your AEC Proposal Process with the Closeout Practice
Creating winning proposals is essential for business development in the competitive world of architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC). However, keeping track of all the valuable content generated during the proposal process can be challenging. That's where the proposal closeout practice comes into play. This article will explore the closeout process's purpose, steps, benefits, and challenges and why implementing it can significantly optimize your AEC marketing efforts.
The proposal closeout process aims to extract and preserve key components from a proposal to add or update content for future use. This process allows you to maintain an organized repository of essential elements, such as resumes, project pages, firm profiles, fee schedules, etc. By separating and categorizing these components, you ensure easy access and effective management of your marketing assets.
Preparing for Proposal Closeout
Before diving into a closeout session, it's essential to make adequate preparations. Create a checklist of tasks you want to complete during the process, ensuring you cover all necessary elements. Additionally, set up the relevant folders on your server to streamline the organization of extracted materials.
Steps in the Proposal Closeout Process
1. Manage Project Information:
When dealing with project records, it is important to follow a structured process to ensure accuracy and completeness. Begin by searching for the project record within your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. If the record does not exist, create a new entry with the relevant details. Include essential information such as contract dates, estimated completion dates, and firm fees. Additionally, establish a project team by adding members and assigning their respective roles. If consultants are involved, include their information and roles as well. If they are not already present, add the consultants to the consultant firms database. Lastly, ensure that the contact information for the proposal contact is included, adding them to the contacts list if necessary.
2. Organize Resumes:
Maintaining up-to-date and well-organized resumes is vital for showcasing the skills and qualifications of your team members. If an updated resume is provided, replace any previous versions and move the old resumes to an "old" folder for reference. As you review the resumes, cross-reference the project descriptions against the Master Resume project description. If any information is missing, ensure that it is added under the appropriate sub-heading. Additionally, include the project number as a comment to enhance traceability.
3. Extract Relevant Information from Proposals and Qualifications:
Proposals and qualification documents often contain valuable information that needs to be properly cataloged. Begin by copying the bios of team members into their respective bio documents. Extract relevant sections such as project management, cost control, health and safety, and others, and save them in boilerplate files for future use. Furthermore, create a subconsultant folder and copy any pertinent information regarding subconsultants into it. It is also essential to search for project references and add them to the database if they do not already exist.
4. Organize Folders and Files:
Maintaining a well-structured electronic folder system is crucial for efficient project management. Regularly review the contents of your folders, deleting any extraneous items or moving them to an "Old" folder for archival purposes. To ensure easy accessibility and sharing, create a PDF of the entire proposal, including resumes, forms, certificates, and other relevant documents. Lastly, package InDesign files and store them in a " FINAL " subfolder to maintain version control.
Tools, Systems, or Technologies to Support the Process
The most crucial tool for the proposal closeout process is an effective organizational system on your server. Establishing a consistent plan to organize all marketing materials, proposals, and related assets will ensure efficient retrieval and save valuable time in the long run. Consider implementing a standardized folder structure and naming conventions for easy navigation and searchability.
Who is Involved in the Process
While anyone can assist with the closeout process, it is typically the responsibility of a marketing coordinator, marketing assistant, or an individual responsible for server organization. Additionally, involving the person who prepared the proposal can be beneficial, as they are likely more familiar with the changes and updates made to the master collateral.
Challenges and Overcoming Them
One primary challenge in the closeout process is finding time to perform it promptly after submitting a proposal. Scheduling the closeout session as soon as possible is crucial, as it ensures a better recollection of changes and updates made. Completing the process promptly also ensures that all marketing materials are up to date for future proposals.
Benefits and Measurability
By implementing this method, you establish an efficient workflow that saves time and minimizes effort duplication. Having an organized server with updated materials ensures easy retrieval, reduces search time, and facilitates the creation of future proposals. Over time, these benefits contribute to improved productivity and enhanced professionalism.
Encouragement for Implementation
To maximize the effectiveness of the proposal process, it is crucial to integrate the closeout method as an essential step. Consider it an integral part of the proposal process, ensuring completion before considering the proposal finalized. By establishing this habit, you can avoid unnecessary frustrations and maintain a streamlined approach to your AEC marketing efforts.
The proposal closeout process offers a systematic method for organizing and preserving key components of their proposals. By dedicating time to this crucial step, you ensure your marketing materials are up-to-date, easily accessible, and ready for future use. Embrace the closeout process as an essential part of your AEC marketing workflow and reap the benefits of streamlined efficiency and improved productivity.