Yay! You just added RFPIO and it’s time to start completing RFPs and security questionnaires (if you’re already an experienced user, stick with us; there’s something for everyone here). Pop the champagne cork! Cue the band. Repeatedly refresh email because congratulatory back-pats are sure to arrive soon from upper management, SMEs (subject matter experts), sales, security, and anyone else who participated in past RFPs.
It’s time to build out your Answer Library. Your answer library consists of documents, question and answer (Q&A) pairs and templates that represent the backbone of your RFPIO instance. But tread lightly before proceeding. In a recent RFPIO survey, 50% of proposal managers said keeping response content up-to-date and accurate is their biggest challenge, but only 31% of responders audit their RFP content library as often as once a quarter.
So how can you set yourself up for success to build and maintain content in RFPIO? It starts with tagging, custom fields, and collections, which will also expedite access to relevant information for internal and external users alike.
But first: You don’t have to go it alone
Start by defining your RFP team. Who is going to be the Champion of RFPIO? Typically, this falls on an executive sponsor or the proposal manager.
Are you the content champion? This is the decision-maker, someone who will own the process of building and maintaining content. If it’s not you, then make sure someone gets designated. No matter how organized you are, this is mandatory.
After you identify the content champion, bring in your content stakeholders. These are all the participants you’ve been working with on past RFPs. It’s likely that these encompass internal and external users. They may be SMEs in different locations, departments, and roles. Identifying their roles and responsibilities will determine how you set up workflows in RFPIO.
Once your team has been identified, it’s time to discuss workflows and organization methods. Remember that you’re only one person, so it’s important to not forget about the rest of the team that will help you achieve RFPIO success. Create and document a plan to communicate content workflows. Make sure all contributors can easily find what they need to complete their assigned tasks. Have the whole team of stakeholders sign-on.
OK, now this is how: Tagging
Segment your content with tags. Tags are simple, general categories to help group your content together and are the first step to take when organizing your content. Every document should have at least one tag. Examples include “onboarding,” “implementation,” and “contracts.”
At this point, you may be wondering how to get started. It’s a common hurdle, especially for companies that have never used tags or any other structured content organization strategies. Within RFPs and security questionnaires that you’ve received, there are sections about company information and other content that you may have just been copy and pasting from document to document. Harvest your initial tagging schema from these generic sections that appear in most of the RFPs you have already submitted.
RFPIO Best Practice: All content needs to have at least one tag. That includes all documents and all question and answer (Q&A) pairs. We recommend no more than three, though, so as to avoid search conflicts within the system.
Is that field “custom”? Sweet!
Every company is unique, which means every company’s content has unique characteristics. For categories that are organizationally unique and allow for flexibility and adaptability in search, our clients leverage Custom Fields. Custom Fields may apply to a product, service, geographic region, or whatever best fits your business. But they do have to make sense. It’s easy to bog the process down with too many custom fields.
RFPIO Client Example: Here’s an example of how custom fields helped a client exponentially improve search of their more than 15,000 Q&A pairs. First, we started with the generic tag of “support,” which whittled 15,000 options down to 800 or so. Already an improvement. But then we tagged all applicable Q&A pairs with a client product name. That drilled down results from 800 to 115. Within two clicks—about 30 seconds—we were able to identify a small subset of applicable content.
Restrict content with collections
Within RFPIO, collections allow you to restrict sensitive content visibility. You create siloed walls around sensitive content based on content that should be restricted to specific users. Good examples of Collections are legal/security data or even geographic data. For example, sales may not need access to legal or high-level proprietary information that legal or security teams need to access. Or a North American team may not need access to some content that is necessary for a European team to access for GDPR compliance.
Why waste users’ time sorting through content they can’t even use? With collections, search is much more efficient.
But what about maintaining content?
Great question. First, always feel free to work with your RFPIO customer success managers to set up demos of specific features. Second, check out the webinar I presented on building and maintaining content in RFPIO for more (below), including live Q&A with participants on:
- Optimizing Q&A editing
- Setting up custom fields and collections
- Conducting bulk updates on multiple pieces of content
- Using filters for moderation
- Setting up multiple responses for a single question—one for US-based teams and another for those based in the UK, for example.
If you’re just getting started, then you have a lot to look forward to. 82% of proposal managers said RFPIO helps them manage response content all in one place.
Interested in automating your RFP processes with RFPIO? Schedule a demo to learn more.