It’s time to put all those workshops to good use – we’re going to write us a proposal document. But a good one. If you were to look up now you’d see the summit of this little Ax mountain we started climbing together all those centuries ago.

Let’s start by reflecting on what we’ve achieved so far:

  • a set of agent personas
  • a touchpoint catalogue
  • an experience map
  • a collection of journey maps

That’s a lot of work right there, everybody. We hope you’re top-dollar proud, because you should be.

Now we’re going to make it count. We’re going to put together a report and a proposal so compelling that people will burst into tears (but in a good way sheesh).

Let’s do this thing.

 

Step 1: Get structural

We’re gonna start by making us a document skellyton. We shall then simply plug in the things we need to make our point nice and crunchy.

Here’s a section-by-section breakdown:

  • executive summary
  • workshop results
  • interpretation
  • proposal

Nice and straightforward, right? Go ahead and type them up big and bold in your favourite word processor.

 

Step 2a: Mix it up

Remember how we put the executive summary heading at the beginning of the document? Well now you’re gonna go and ignore that, because we’re going to leave it to last. This is so that your summary, y’know, actually summarises what you’ve written down everywhere else.

For cereal though, leave this bit to last. If you don’t you’ll have to rewrite it probably and nobody wants to get up in that.

 

Step 2ForReal: present your findings

In this section you’ll basically rehash the business you got up to in all them workshops. If you just read that and swept your hand across your brow in a swooning motion, just stop. This isn’t a Mills & Boone reproduction of Wuthering Heights.

You got this.

Here’s the structure of your sub-sections:

  • agent personas
  • experience map
  • critical journeys

Next, under each heading write a motivation for the workshop you did. Y’know – like the personas provide a structured and actionable semi-fictional characterisation of the demographic segment from which your agent pool is drawn. Say stuff like that, then drop the mic and leave the room.

Wait now come back and pick that mic up because we ain’t done yet. Under your motivations you’re basically going to provide a hot take on the minutes of each workshop. Start by detailing the methodology, which is just fancy-pants speak for how you went about your bizz.

Present the photos or graphics that you produced. Explain the crucial points. Mention any points of disagreement among the team.

Critically, you want to mention the fact that all of this is an always-work-in-progress. It requires constant revision, refinement and testing. It’s a starting point from which to gauge progress.

Yeah.

 

Step 3: Get into the gory

Important step don’t skip! This is the chapter in which you provide an interpretation of your workshop findings. But not just an ‘um yeah I think’ kinda interpretation –you need to fire up your internet browsing device and find some data and other such official stuff to fill out your workshop findings.

You probably already read industry reports and white papers, so you’ll hopefully have a rough idea of where to look to substantiate your stuff.

The trick is to find the hooks in your own workshoppery and attach some hardened industry knowledge to it. Because while you already know that you’re sitting on a gold mine, you want everybody else to know you aren’t just indulging in the sucking of the thumb.

Find research-based drivers of attrition, for example, and flag the factors that gel with your own situation. Look for analyses of problematic practices that match your own.

For each problem area you bring up, write down its effects. Get some figures down – talk about the bottom-line costs these problems are generating. Show your attrition rate and contrast it with the cost of that attrition if you don’t deal with it. Show how poor agent satisfaction is correlated with poor customer satisfaction.

Show them the pain, is what we’re saying.

 

Step 4: Get down on that knee and PROPOSE

Everybody hates it when people just find problems but make no attempt to provide solutions. Let’s scratch that itch now. Start by writing an introduction in which you basically say ‘Hey look I’m going to present some suggestions for making this stuff betterer.’

Next it’s time for some more subheadings, people. Pick out the key problems you figured out in your sessions and use them as your subs.

Bring out that research again. Draw on industry best practice and outline, in very practical terms, the simplest, most effective way of dealing with the problem you’ve outlined. Detail the impact the solution will have on both agents and customers. Mention the hidden effects it will bring to bear on the bottom line.

At the end of this chapter, write a concluding summary showing the combined effect your solutions will have. And then drop the bomb: let ’em know this is just the beginning.

 

Step 5: Break down the tl;dr

Now. It’s now that we get to the executive summary at the beginning of your document.

We’re going to pretend we’re writing some kinda academic nonsense by creating an abstract. This will be a real short section for all the decision-makers who just want to pretend they’ve read the whole thing. It’s like a shot of juice concentrate for people who don’t have time to add water, okay?

Break your summary down into the following sections:

  • overview
  • methodology
  • results
  • recommendations

Under each section write a super-brief paragraph capturing what you’ve already written in all your other sections. Give a broad summary of what follows. Talk about how you workshopped your way to your conclusions. Break down the conclusions themselves. Finally, give an elevator-pitch on your proposed solutions.

Remember, the key here is to be informative but snappy. Don’t let your executive summary get any longer than a page. Seriously. It’s doable. And once you’ve done it, the exercise in brevity will likely help refine your thinking. You might well find better ways of structuring or explaining things in your other section.

Basically though, the idea is this: pretend nobody is ever going to read all the hard work you put into the other sections. (They will, but this is a game now see.) You need to sway them with just one page.

Make it count.