This is a guest piece from our partner RFPIO, originally published on their website here.
Turning chaos into confetti
We’ve made it through the first month of the new year, and it’s time to seriously consider how we’ll be focusing our 2023 energy. Of course, a great way to look forward is first to reflect on where we’ve been.
And as I consider 2022, I realize that the last 360-something days seem to have been all about three redundant trends:
- The global office exodus
- The rather curious “new normal”
- The dreaded, ever-looming burnout
I mean really—how many articles have you bumped into over the past year on Recovering from Burnout? Or How to Return to the Office? Or How to Navigate Working from Home while Avoiding a Return to Office Burnout?
From where I sit—in my cozy home office in California with my corgi, Lulu, curled up next to my feet—none of these trends was new news. In fact, as founder and CEO of Summit Strategy, I spent the last year gathering a team of experts who know how to work happily (and effectively) from home; who collaborate cross-functionally with ease (long before it was deemed new or normal); and who have long ago overcome the kind of burnout one experiences from being overworked and undervalued. And if we’re being honest, nothing in business (or in life) is ever static—all of us at Summit have had to recover, return, and navigate multiple times throughout our lives.
In fact, as I write this, I’m thinking about the fact that the most successful professionals probably experience about as many human iterations as an iPhone. We’re no strangers to challenges. But the silver lining of experiencing hardships and setbacks is gaining resilience, determination, and patience. And let’s not forget the sustainable power of humor almost every hour of every day these past few years! Despite all the drama, I’ve laughed more than I’ve cried. Heck, I’ve turned chaos into confetti.
And here’s how:
I’ve cracked the code to happiness AND running a successful business (Spoiler alert—RFPIO is part of that combination!).
Integrated marketing + proposals for sales and marketing efficiency
Here’s the deal: For many business-to-business and business-to-government (B2B/B2G) professional service enterprises, separating marketing and sales teams is a common practice, but it’s also an outdated method that hurts companies. Several years ago, it occurred to me that businesses can make the most of their marketing and sales efforts by bringing the two functions together—although most don’t, either because of perceived pitfalls or because of the fatal “we’ve always done it this way” mentality.
Summit Strategy was conceived primarily to help small businesses win work with government agencies and commercial businesses by combining marketing and sales strategies. Helping the small business community is our company’s “why,” and we bolster small businesses through an integrated approach of marketing acumen plus proposal proficiency. We also serve various clients who are leaders in state, local, municipal, and commercial markets and who seek to pivot and expand into the federal government. Leveraging our decades of experience in those federal markets, my team coaches; helps develop business strategies; determines agencies to target; fosters meaningful relationships with primes so clients can boost their past performances; and, eventually, facilitates our clients’ pursuit of contracts as a prime (whew!).
Summit’s approach brings coherence to the complex and otherwise fragmented methods that typically characterize marketing. We align and coordinate the delivery of a consistent, seamless, customer-centric experience across channels using curated content as the vehicle. And since content is the common currency in every market (no matter the industry), integrating marketing and RFX response increases operational efficiency and drives positive outcomes through collaboration.
In 2022 (our first full year of business), Summit helped more than 50 clients overcome developmental blocks, build competitive advantages, improve performance, and drive their business growth. How? Largely through maximizing employee and team resilience with tools like RFPIO!
So what’s the connection for revenue teams?
Remember when I said that nothing in business or in life is ever static? Well, if you’ve ever worked on response proposals or if you’re reading this blog through the lens of a marketer, you know your company’s content is one of the things that’s never static. Tending to content is like tending a garden, isn’t it? You go through the process of getting it to grow (composing), then you weed out the ineffective or outdated stuff (editing), then you send it out into the world and test its effectiveness (harvesting and consuming), and then the process starts mostly all over again. Content requires constant change, especially for sales teams and marketers.
RFPIO knows that for many companies, the intersection where marketing content meets the field organization is the request for proposal (RFP). Like Summit, the experts at RFPIO realized that great marketers use the RFP response process (proposals!) to ensure their sales teams are equipped with the latest and best marketing content—even technical writing—thereby reducing the need to call upon a subject matter expert every single time. In fact, one simple and extraordinarily effective way to curate, manage, and share content is through a collaborative proposal response process.
When content is stored within a centralized content library (think of it like your greenhouse!), you can compare and assess its effectiveness based on what really matters—things like business development data and capture/win rates. Strategic response management software with an intelligent, centralized content library, like RFPIO, allows you to collect and assess metrics in ways that enable marketing and sales teams to learn the effectiveness of various messages, helping shape future content and strategy.
We’ve found that a content depot becomes an increasingly valuable asset for our clients over time. Instead of having to reinvent the wheel every time our clients respond to an RFP or each time they launch a new marketing campaign, teams can visit their content library and draw from the most powerful content. The best part? They can also work collaboratively (and cross-functionally with teams outside their organization) no matter where they are in the world!
Ain’t no mountain high enough
Look, starting a company was never easy-peasy. Even on a good day, it’s powerfully humbling. But I’ve built a successful business with an enviable ethos—my team and I work hard to ensure people want to work with us and for us. In the world of B2B and B2G, there really ain’t no mountain high enough to keep us from creating winning proposals and marketing campaigns.
If the last year has taught us anything it’s that work environments will continue to shift and change, so a positive team spirit is essential for sustainable viability. Integrating marketing and proposals—and leveraging collaborative software like RFPIO—makes the work we do potent and fulfilling. Our clients are happy because we save them time and resources. And my team is happy because they get to work collaboratively (happily and with ease), across time zones, in ways that are meaningful and lasting. We know there’s always another summit to climb, and we’re up for the adventure.