As COO, which I’m pretty sure many of my colleagues secretly believe stands for Chief Organizational Ogre, it’s my job to make sure that everything I touch is (or becomes) organized.
I’ll admit it: I’m obsessed with organization, systems, processes and orderliness.
Although this obsession with all things process related usually serves me pretty well, when working with document management of a growing team, I found it wasn’t enough. I was lacking the right tool to help me get one very important job done thoroughly and painlessly.
In our dynamic office where there’s lots of energy and growth, our business developers, both U.S. and Europe based, are busy bees when it comes to finding potential clients for whom our creative team can help solve and assisting existing clients with greater involvement in their content marketing efforts. Because I oversee all proposal and contract creation, I soon found myself spinning like a top, trying to manage everything and keep everyone following the same process.
So, despite my natural proclivity towards organization and the spreadsheets I was working like a house afire, an organized process of collaboration, proposal creation, contract negotiation, and contract writing was quickly slipping through my fingers, leaving me frustrated and wagging accusatory fingers at those folks who failed to follow my 10 Step Process of how to create and file their documentation to get a gold star (actually, I’m pretty sure I had them jumping through a lot more hoops than just 10).
As I was perching my glasses, teacher-style, on the end of my nose and sighing in frustration, our Creative Director approached me about an online proposal system called Paperless Proposal. She convinced me to watch their online demo and then do a live walk-through with a sales rep.
After a few initial questions and some early skepticism regarding how this system could solve my problems, I realized this tool was the ticket to getting our smart people all working on the same page and fulfilling my favorite mantra: “a place for everything, and everything in its place.”
Here’s what Paperless brought to us:
- Online system allowing us to create, edit, and store proposals, including all related items such as pricing spreadsheets, images and ancillary marketing materials
- Real time collaboration on document creation because the system is based on Google Drive (which also means no lost documents and easy versioning)
- Ability to create internal facing documents that are important to the proposal creation process yet easily tied to the client’s file
- Workflow tagging so we know which proposals are new, in process, won, lost, archived, etc.
- An easily updatable library repository for all our “template” items, such as collateral items, pricing templates, statement of work templates, and MSA boilerplates
- Graphically engaging proposals with creative, customized cover pages and embedded marketing materials, including the ability to link to our website and to add custom videos straight from our webcams
- The ability to email proposals to prospects and track who views proposals and when
- Reporting features that allow us to track proposals by region, rep, vertical, and projected revenue amount
- File maintenance as all documents regarding a prospect/client can be uploaded and stored
- Excellent customer support and the ability for customizations to the tool based on our business and processes
As with any sort of organizational change, it took some persuading for me to get my work buddies aboard the Paperless train, but our creative folks quickly embraced the system because, as one of my super-intelligent colleagues reminds us, a creative workplace thrives on direction.
I’m pretty sure that if I tried to eliminate the system now, I’d be the recipient of some vociferous complaints and wagging fingers. We now love us some organization here at EVG!
Aubrae Wagner – COO EnVeritas Group