The proposal climate is looking strong overall, as shown in the most recent APMP U.S. Benchmarks Report. Three-quarters of proposal professionals positively rated their organization’s performance in winning new business and expressed great satisfaction in regards to internal processes.
Bid proposal software is absolutely cultivating the well-being and success of today’s response management teams. Processes have been transformed by technologically advanced, collaborative work environments. And, we’re only beginning to scratch the surface.
5 transformative effects of bid proposal software
1. Project Management
When a proposal comes in, it seems like an ordinary business document. But this document contains a world of information, from timeline to scope. Your organization must stop seeing a proposal as a document and manage every proposal as its own RFP project. This mindset applies to any response management team, especially a team at an enterprise organization.
There is always a deadline looming. You have a small window to ask for clarifications—and important milestones to hit. RFPIO is a complete project management application, supporting your team of RFP responders from the time you receive a proposal to the time you submit.
“We had a smaller team last year, so we had to stop answering RFPs and focus on answering security questionnaires. We turned RFPIO on the day after Memorial Day, and since then we’ve worked on 129 projects.” – Elizabeth Duke, Director of Presales Support
2. Content Management
Because of the repetitive nature of proposals, content becomes sporadic with RFP responses stored all over the place. Using a combination of Google Docs or SharePoint does not mean your content is updated and accurate. You need an RFP content management system.
RFPIO workflows help your proposal team manage proposal content and keep responses up-to-date. No longer does Sales ask multiple SMEs to complete RFP responses in the eleventh hour.
Instead, RFPIO’s content review workflow allows the SMEs to review the content on a periodic basis defined by your content managers. This is outside of an RFP. Which means all the content is reviewed and approved by the SMEs beforehand, allowing proposal teams and sales teams to use accurate content that is needed to win the deal.
“Since I onboarded, RFPIO has saved my life. Before we didn’t have a tool at all, so I was manually searching through old RFPs that were stored on SharePoint. And now it’s cut our response time down by at least 50 percent.” – Alison Moeller, Team Lead – RFP & Sales Enablement
It truly takes a village to complete a proposal. One of our clients, a massive enterprise organization, involves forty different teams to complete RFPs. Perhaps you can relate. Even if one person is on each team, that means forty people must figure out a way to work together in a cohesive manner.
Teamwork is an integral component of a successful RFP response process, which is why RFPIO was built to foster highly collaborative work environments. The ability to have unlimited users within the platform makes it possible for substantial teams to complete substantial proposals with greater efficiency.
“RFPIO saved us from having to hire a new headcount by taking away a lot of the effort we used to put into coordinating RFPs. It allows us to get input from our subject matter experts faster and put together better quality proposals.” – Anthony Rossi, Sales Operations Specialist
Proposal teams must communicate…and so must technology solutions. Bid proposal software should help your team communicate with each other inside and outside the platform. Additionally, your team should have full visibility and accessibility.
RFPIO is a system that integrates with your existing technology and content ecosystem. Store content in your favorite cloud storage solution (Google Drive, One Drive, Dropbox, Box, Sharepoint). Collaborate easily through Slack or Microsoft Teams. Align your sales teams with CRM integrations (Salesforce, Hubspot, Microsoft Dynamics, Pipedrive, PipelineDeals).
“RFPIO really has shifted the entire perception of our company in terms of how we gather content, what we do with that content, how we’re managing it, and really, the entire process of perceiving how RFPs should be responded to.” – Lori Coffae, Content Writer
5. Business Intelligence and Analytics
In most cases, only the person submitting the RFP knows why their RFP was selected or skipped. A lost RFP is always a black box, as SMEs and writers will never receive feedback on why the RFP was lost.
Visibility into the RFP response process is much easier with a response management platform like RFPIO. RFPIO has business intelligence and analytics, so you see the gaps and opportunities then take the necessary measures to improve.
RFPIO provides a detailed win/loss analysis that can be shared with contributors and executives. With trend analysis, RFPIO allows proposal managers to clearly estimate and predict the time it requires to complete various kinds of RFx documents.
Insights into capacity planning are available as well. Proposal managers and executives see the current workload of contributors and know exactly when it’s time to hire additional resources.
“I have been working in this space for about a decade and I’ve used a couple of different tools. RFPIO shows their commitment and innovation to those of us who are really in the weeds of the RFP world.”
– Alexandra Maddux, RFP/Sales Support Coordinator
What is the best bid proposal software?
Here’s a secret… there is no “best” bid proposal software. But there is bid proposal software that’s best for your team. As a rule of thumb, effective bid proposal software will have the following features:
- An AI-enabled Answer Library,
- Built-in collaboration tools,
- Project management features specific to proposals,
- Dashboards and reporting capabilities, and
- Integrations with other parts of your sales stack (e.g. Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Slack/Teams, etc.)
As you’re evaluating bid proposal software, you should start by meeting with your wider team to identify problems you hope bid proposal software will solve. You can break it into “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves”. Your final list might look something like:
- Improve collaboration on business proposals without relying on color-coded Word docs
- Consolidate answers to common RFP questions in one place, so SMEs aren’t answering the same question over and over again
- Create visibility, so leadership can easily check on proposal status
Here is a screenshot comparing four of the most popular business proposal software solutions:
Transform your RFP response process with artificial intelligence
Automating your RFP response process can reduce your time spent responding to RFPs by 40%. If you respond to RFPs full-time, that could mean an extra 16 hours per week. Schedule a demo to see RFP automation in action—I promise you won’t be disappointed.