Keys to Painless Proposal System and Experience Database Projects

A big part of our role in any proposal system or experience database development project is that of a consultant. The firms we work with know they need to streamline the proposal automation process and they know they have valuable data living in different systems, which they should have at their fingertips. Putting these pieces together into a system that saves time and helps create high-quality pitches and reports doesn’t have to be a complicated, and there are a handful of things to keep in mind to help your project run smoothly.

1. Don’t lose sight of the problem you’re trying to solve.

This holds true for any project, but especially one that involves multiple departments within the firm. As part of the planning phase of your project, your development team may provide you with a laundry list of features for your proposal and/or experience database system. The value of some of these items may not be easy to evaluate, which is why it’s helpful to have a list of clear goals to use as a touchstone. Any feature you choose should relate to your goals or run the risk of unnecessarily complicating your project and adding to the overall timeline.  

2. Don’t underestimate the importance of engaging leadership.

There are two main reasons for this; finding someone to champion your project can help make any obstacles much easier to overcome and keeping leadership engaged means they’re signing off on key milestones. Having leadership approve certain milestones reduces the risk that the project will need to take a step backwards to make changes to what you thought was a completed phase. The most common area for this would be graphic design choices, but your chosen service provider can help you define other areas that might be of concern.

3. Time and billing integrations are not a magic bullet.

We recommend firms with time and billing tools leverage this data in their new proposal and experience solutions. That being said, we always stress a realistic view of what this data provides, how the integration with help advance the larger project goals, and most importantly, make clear how much work will need to be done by the BD team to turn this data into something useful for pitches and reports.

4. Sell the completed system to the rest of the firm.

Development has been completed, any last adjustments have been made and the system is being used by a small group of power users. Now the final important step is adoption firmwide. We’ve seen the best results by clients who view this as an ongoing process. Send out communications introducing the system, demo it to practice groups and don’t forget to solicit feedback to make sure the proposal or experience system is meeting the needs of the attorneys.

From a technology and software development standpoint, we’re energized by complex problems and providing solutions to them. That being said, one of the greatest compliments we can receive is when a client tells us we’ve simplified their life. Hopefully the tips above help make any upcoming proposal or experience database projects easier to implement and quicker to launch.

Learn more about our Experience and Proposal Center software: 503-836-5194


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