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Why RFPIO hosted our first virtual sign language workshop

Why RFPIO hosted our first virtual sign language workshop

At RFPIO, we believe that if you aren’t actively inclusive, you will be unintentionally exclusive. According to the most recent […]


Category: Company & Events

Why RFPIO hosted our first virtual sign language workshop

Why RFPIO hosted our first virtual sign language workshop

At RFPIO, we believe that if you aren’t actively inclusive, you will be unintentionally exclusive.

According to the most recent census data, there are over 5 million people who are deaf or hearing impaired living in India — and yet only 1,500 people of hearing know Indian Sign Language (ISL).

At the same time, the number of deaf and hearing-impaired people entering the workforce is expected to increase by 50% over the next five years.

When we saw these statistics… we decided we needed to do something to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for the deaf community.

The RFPIO India team attended a virtual sign language workshop, taking our first company-wide step towards inclusivity

In 2015, K Murali, who is hearing impaired, quit his clerical job to found a school that empowers the deaf and hearing population through education. Today, the school has nearly 50 students and five teachers, giving vocational training to deaf students in skills like website design.

In addition to empowering the deaf community through education, the organization also teaches Indian Sign Language to people with hearing, with the mission of creating a more inclusive society.

On July 3, we invited Sneha Murali (K Murali’s daughter) to host a virtual sign language workshop with the RFPIO India team. We invited all 93 members of the India team to join the 2-hour workshop, where Sneha gave an intro lesson, equipping the India team with the basic tools they’ll need to start communicating in Indian Sign Language.

We’re creating an inclusive environment, because we know we’re better together

The Indian Sign Language workshop is just a small part of RFPIO’s initiatives in creating a more inclusive community.

We believe that technology has the potential to create a more inclusive future—and we would like to be part of it.

Because we know that people work best when we’re working together—we’re happier, funnier, and smarter when we’re together. That’s why we’re committed to bringing everyone together. We know that we’re better together.

If you’d like to do more research on how to create an inclusive and welcoming community for people with disabilities in the tech industry, here are some excellent resources that can get you started:

How RFPIO is staying connected to our community

How RFPIO is staying connected to our community

RFPIO was founded to help, liberate, and empower our users. Our founders believed that a better way existed for RFP response. They knew manual spreadsheet tracking and antiquated software wasn’t keeping up with the modern needs of proposal and sales teams. 

From that deep desire to improve the lives of users, Ganesh, Sunder, and Sankar also understood the value of community.  From RFPIO’s beginnings, the team has actively sought ways to strengthen the communities we share space with—physically and virtually. Over the years, these communities have welcomed us, and every day we are grateful for them.

Our community has been going through some dramatic changes. As needs are arising we’re taking steps to offer support and encouragement. From free collaboration support for our customers to free training and support, our team has mobilized to offer our community the best we have to the community that has supported us.

The Oregon Community Recovery Fund shares our commitment to communities. We are proud to partner with this organization to lend a helping hand to those who could really use one. Together, RFPIO employees and customers raised $2,798 for the fund. Money raised went to support nonprofits working to fulfill a variety of needs including:

  • Basic needs: Keep people housed, fed, healthy, and safe
  • Jobs and economy: Create jobs and connect people to opportunities to foster economic recovery and vitality 
  • Childcare: Provide child care needs for children of all ages, including care for children of essential workers
  • Social and emotional needs: Support for social and emotional issues exacerbated by the crisis including mental health, child abuse, domestic violence, and substance abuse. 
  • School closure: Address lost learning opportunities including distance learning, instructional supports, and more. And provide ancillary services to augment school efforts for physical and mental health and nutrition.
Brighter classrooms for a brighter future

Brighter classrooms for a brighter future

On February 14, 12 RFPIO team members took a short trip to Veerasamy Mudaliar School, a government school not too far from the Coimbatore campus. Our goal? Brighten up the barren walls with whimsical paintings that simultaneously entertain and educate.

Our hope is that the paintings will not only create a lively, positive learning environment but will also fill the students’ brains with important information—even as their eyes wander around the classroom.

The headmistress, teachers, and students were thrilled with what we accomplished in just two hours! Over the next three weeks, our team will return to the school in shifts, with the goal of filling the walls with as many paintings as possible.

We can’t wait to see what the classroom looks like when we’re done!

RFPIO donates to March of Dimes, joining fight against premature birth

RFPIO donates to March of Dimes, joining fight against premature birth

Premature birth (birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy) and its complications are the #1 cause of infant mortality in the United States. In the United States, the preterm birth rate is 9.8 percent. In other words, 1 in 10 babies is born too soon.

March of Dimes is leading the fight for the health of all moms and babies and has helped millions of babies survive and thrive for the last 80 years. They support moms throughout their pregnancy, advocate for policies that prioritize their health, support radical improvements to the care they receive, and pioneer research to find solutions to the biggest health threats to moms and babies.

RFPIO—like March of Dimes—believes that every baby deserves the best possible start. That’s why, this year, we’ve decided to donate money towards initiatives that will bring down the premature birth rate in the United States—and make sure that moms and babies have the help they deserve.

Visit the March of Dimes website to learn more about how you can help.

9 Dreamforce sessions RFP responders can’t miss

9 Dreamforce sessions RFP responders can’t miss

It’s official: fall has arrived. Besides the much anticipated (or dreaded) return of pumpkin spice-flavored everything, the end of summer also means the beginning of Dreamforce-mania 

And we couldn’t be more excited.

If you’re going to Dreamforce, come say hi! We’ll be holding down Booth 610. 

And if you are going to Dreamforce… you’ve probably already taken a quick glance at the available sessions, only to discover that there are more than 2,700. 

Lucky for you, we’ve scoured through all 2,700 different sessions to find the ones most useful for RFP responders like yourself.

The official RFP Responder guide to #DF19 sessions

RFP responders wear a lot of hats. In fact, your job title likely doesn’t even have the word “RFP” in it. 

So that means if you want to do Dreamforce right, you’re going to have to cover a lot of ground. 

We’ve broken the sessions into a few topics that are near and dear to any RFP responder’s heart.

Sales & marketing alignment 

More often than not, RFP responders fall smack in the middle between marketing and sales.

On the one hand, you need to make sure your company’s marketing messages are coming through in your proposals. 

On the other, you’ve got to make sure the RFPs you’re going after align with your company’s sales goals.

Here are the top Dreamforce sessions that address alignment:

Productivity 

Because coffee can only get you so far.

And because being more productive means you have more time to spend on things that actually add value to your life (think: friends, family, sleep).

Check out the Dreamforce sessions that can help make your team more productive:

  • Boost Service Cloud Agent Productivity 
    • See what productivity tools are available to you and what other customers are using to help users save time and work with records faster and more efficiently.
  • Increase Productivity with Screen Flows (1) 
    • Shave just one minute off a common task, and you could save hundreds of hours of productivity for your team! Learn how to turn your company’s multi-step business workflows into a highly efficient experience, using just clicks. 
  • Empower Your Teams with Virtual Assistants
    • Deep dive into how virtual assistants can help drive faster revenue cycles and improve sales results by enabling your teams to manage tasks through conversational user interfaces.

Collaboration & communication

Collaboration and communication are the bread and butter of high performing proposal management teams. 

It also sometimes feels less like collaboration and more like herding cats.

And clear communication? Fuhgeddaboudit.

Here are the top sessions for enhancing your team’s communication and collaboration:

Helping Beaverton teachers help their students

Helping Beaverton teachers help their students

Across the country, schools are abandoning cumbersome textbooks in favor of equivalents that can be downloaded and printed out for free. And this isn’t just for cost savings — EdReports.org found that Eureka Math, an online distributed math program that teachers can download and print out for free, was more aligned to national education standards than some traditional textbooks.

On the one hand, students no longer need to lug around 20-pound backpacks and schools are able to save substantial cash on textbooks that are not only expensive but also quickly become outdated. At the same time, however, schools are increasingly desperate for paper.

With 94% of US teachers spending their own money on school supplies — at an average of $479/year — RFPIO decided to step in and take care of their paper needs. RFPIO, including both founders and individual employees, collectively donated over 20 boxes of paper to Ridgewood Elementary School in the Beaverton School District. To put that into perspective, we managed to fill 2 cars with paper that we dropped off the Friday before school started. 

Sometimes it’s the little things that really make all the difference. If you want to support teachers, check out Donor’s Choose. You can donate to specific districts, projects (books for libraries, STEM tools, etc), or simply choose any classroom you deem worthy of your dollars!

A Passion to Improve: 2019 APMP Bid & Proposal Con Orlando Recap

A Passion to Improve: 2019 APMP Bid & Proposal Con Orlando Recap

At this point in my professional life, I’m comfortable saying that I’m a seasoned conference attendee. I’ve been to countless other marketing conferences, from Dreamforce by Salesforce to the “SiriusDecisions and Gartners” of the world.

Heading to Orlando last week happened to be my first time attending APMP’s Bid & Proposal Con (BPC). After many years of being the conference pro, I suddenly became the conference rookie. Seeing this proposal management event through a rookie lens was both eye-opening and inspiring.

Maybe you attended the conference and you’re ready to reminisce, or you didn’t attend and you’re curious about what you missed. Either way, I’m excited to share some of the insights and moments I experienced at BPC Orlando with you today.

How APMP’s Bid & Proposal Con is a conference unicorn

Sales and marketing exhibitor events tend to focus heavily on selling products and services. I won’t say none of that was happening at BPC in Orlando, being that our own team had booths where we gave demos of RFPIO.

However, the main difference between BPC and the other conferences I’ve attended was the emphasis on bettering the proposal professionals themselves. As usual, we ran with that educational focus in our booths as well. Because at the end of the day, proposal management professionals are less accepting of sales pitches and name-dropping. They want to learn how to improve in their roles.

Another thing that makes BPC unique is that it is one of the rare opportunities when proposal management professionals come together in one room—without being surrounded by 10,000 marketers and salespeople marketing and selling to them. Instead, they can focus on connecting with their peers and sharing knowledge about the day-to-day life of a proposal professional.

The expansion of proposal management thought leadership

As the proposal management industry expands, so do the thought leaders within the space. Not even five years ago, it was challenging to find resources and camaraderie. Thankfully, APMP has been leading the charge. Now an increasing number of proposal professionals are getting involved, sharing their expertise to help the entire community.

Some of the must-see BPC presentations came from RFPIO’s circle of friends, including:

  • Writing AUDACIOUS Content: Winning Proposals with Confidence – A lecture by our client, Lori Coffae, Content Writer from SHI
  • Realistic Solutions to Unrealistic Schedules – A lecture by recent RFPIO webinar guest presenter, proposal graphics expert, and Principal of 24 Hour Company, Mike Parkinson
  • Lessons from the Mouse: Adding Creativity to the Proposal Lifecycle – A lecture by friend, industry expert, and CEO of BZ Opportunity Management, Kevin Switaj (Check out Kevin’s government RFPs podcast here.)
  • Creating a Proactive Small Proposal Shop – A panel moderated by Kevin Switaj, featuring our clients—Lauren Daitz from HALO Recognition and Priscilla Swain from Casenet—both Senior Managers in their proposal departments.

My colleague, Chris Pulley, attended the Creating a Proactive Small Proposal Shop session. Both Lauren and Priscilla shared their experience with using a response management platform and how RFPIO has saved them an immense amount of time.

An attendee asked about the best way to start with response management software like RFPIO and Lauren had some great advice to share: “We had the same dilemma…we weren’t sure when to begin the process. The only advice I can give is that you should start!”

apmp presentation

Demystifying AI and the future of proposal management

We keep hearing “AI is coming, AI is coming,” but the fact is that the future of proposal management is happening. Our clients have been using artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities in the RFPIO content repository already.

For those unfamiliar with these capabilities, there is a lot of mystery around AI as a whole. During BPC, I presented on the Leveraging AI for Persuasive Proposal Writing panel, and the audience discussion was really interesting. There was a big debate about what AI really is and what it means for modern proposal management teams.

The conversation turned into the need for digital transformation in order to leverage some of these upcoming AI innovations. People who are not yet using a response management platform have not started digitizing their process. And, they’ll have a really hard time adopting any of these AI technologies.

Like the BPC audience, you’re probably wondering how long it will be until proposals start writing themselves. Well, we can’t predict where AI is going to be over the next ten years. Most immediately in the next few years, AI will be used mostly to do the repetitive things you don’t want to do, in addition to the ability to handle high volumes of data analytics.

Imagine a team of humans going through 20,000 of your previous proposals, connecting the dots between selections and outcomes. One BPC attendee popped up and said this analysis would take 30+ years for his team to complete manually.

So, AI isn’t replacing anyone’s job. AI is giving you the opportunity to accomplish things you couldn’t before.

A hunger for knowledge and preparing to evolve

Again and again, from conference attendees and the APMP team hosting the conference, I heard the same thing. There was an immense hunger for more knowledge about how technology will evolve the way we manage proposals.

People wanted to see what products were out there and they listened attentively during demos. We’re just starting to see the early adopters in this industry, the bell curve in terms of technology from proposal management teams.

Over the past few years, there has been a dramatic increase in technology solutions that specifically empower proposal professionals. People are ready for it and they’re learning everything they can about these products to find out how they will benefit and improve.

The BPC experience is all about a passion to improve

I’ll sum up the way I felt when BPC ended in a single word…excited.

While sitting on the long flight back to Portland, Oregon, I still felt excited about the general sense that everyone was at BPC to better themselves. They truly want to make themselves and their companies successful.

They were passionate about improving their proposal management teams, passionate about accepting and making changes with processes and technology, and passionate about supporting each other. That kind of passion is exciting to see—and I can’t wait to see it again at the next APMP Bid & Proposal Con.


Are you ready for the future of the proposal management industry? Schedule a demo of RFPIO to start evolving your response process.

Join RFPIO to make the magic for Camp Kesem

Join RFPIO to make the magic for Camp Kesem

We recently had the honor of attending the annual Make the Magic fundraiser put on by the University of Oregon’s Camp Kesem organization. The event was held at the Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland on a Friday evening last month.

RFPIO has worked with Camp Kesem before, through the encouragement of our Customer Success Manager, Ryan Slee, who has been involved as a volunteer with the U of O chapter since 2012.

Kesem is a nationwide organization that conducts free summer camps for children dealing with the loss of a parent to cancer. Ryan is passionate about the organization and the kids they are able to support.

“Camp Kesem is a spot for the campers to seek strength, find strength in themselves, find strength in others, and build a long lasting support system with fellow campers who are going through the same thing.”

Through Ryan’s dedication we were introduced to Make the Magic, and were happy to offer our support, make up our own camp nicknames, and have some fun for this worthy cause.

Make the Magic Kylie Schultz

About Make the Magic

This was a beautifully put together banquet that was well-attended by about 200 people. The posh Multnomah Athletic Club provided a perfect backdrop for an elegant evening with dinner, drinks, presentations from a camper and parent, and a silent auction to raise money for the organization.

At RFPIO, we keep it pretty casual, so it was nice to see the team dress up and bring their loved ones, especially for an important cause like this.

Over 5+ Million children have been affected by a parent’s cancer. – Camp Kesem website

One of last year’s campers spoke to the crowd about her experience at Camp Kesem and how it’s changed her life. She explained that because of her stepmom’s cancer, she has had to be strong for her younger siblings, and Camp Kesem has provided her with a chance to let down her guard, have fun, and connect with other kids who know what she’s going through.

Her stepmom followed with a presentation of her own about how brave her daughter has been in the face of this difficult situation. They were powerful stories that highlighted just how much these families are facing, and the relief that Camp Kesem provides.

The night closed out with a silent auction full of prizes like a wine tasting package and a set of Oregon Ducks football tickets.

Make the Magic Tyler Kamerer

Making an impact

Ryan said it was one of their most successful fundraising events for Camp Kesem. “We are so pleased at the turnout and participation at this year’s Make the Magic. Through the silent auction, we raised $65,000, which is the highest amount we’ve ever raised and a record breaking number among the whole countrywide Kesem organization,” he said.

“I’m also very proud to report that we had a record number of camp counselor alumni attendees. People who get involved with this organization remain deeply connected to it.”

Make the Magic Mitchell Hipp

Ways you can help

There are several ways to support Camp Kesem. The University of Oregon chapter has created an Amazon Wishlist for this year’s camp, with items that you can donate directly. “These items are inexpensive and can go a long way in making it a memorable experience for the kids. The tealight candles are especially important because they are part of a remembrance ceremony. Any help is appreciated,” Ryan said. Find your nearest Camp Kesem chapter here.

Magic events for the Kesem organization are held across the country throughout the year. You can see if there’s one near you on their events page.

The RFPIO team is proud to partner with Pledge 1% to support non-profit organizations on a quarterly basis. Take a look through our blog to see other orgs to which you can donate time, money, or resources.

If you belong to an organization that is looking for corporate sponsorship, please send information via email to Ava@RFPIO.com or call our RFPIO office line at 971-470-3112.

Join RFPIO to support the Beaverton education foundation

Join RFPIO to support the Beaverton education foundation

Like Van Gogh, Da Vinci, and Michaelangelo before us, last week the RFPIO team picked up our brushes and spent an afternoon painting office rooms at Terra Linda Elementary School in Beaverton. This artistic volunteer project was facilitated by the Beaverton Education Foundation (BEF).

The BEF is an organization that coordinates supplemental academic programs for all 53 schools in the Beaverton school district. “BEF helps bridge the gap between what public funding provides and what is needed to provide a well-rounded, quality education,” according to their website.

Executive Director Kristine Baggett says one of the ways they do this is by organizing micro-projects that attract volunteers outside of their immediate scope (parents & school staff). And that’s how RFPIO got the chance to help.

Volunteer Paint Day RFPIO

Baggett said Terra Linda is the host of this summer’s Camp Achieve program, for students who need a little extra help getting up to speed in all school subjects before the start of the year in the fall.

The school staff wanted to make sure the facility was bright and fresh for hosting the camp so they started painting and realized it would require a few more hands. They mentioned this project was long overdue, only to say the paint was “older than the volunteers!”

The RFPIO team spent the afternoon at Terra Linda, spread among two office rooms where we taped cabinets, learned the art of cutting in the edges, and updated the gloomy walls with a fresh coat of bright paint.

Terra Linda Elementary volunteer painting RFPIO

How you can help the Beaverton education foundation

If you have a team of volunteers, the BEF has opportunities throughout the year to help, including signature programs like their long running phone-a-thon in October, hosted by local high schoolers, Camp Achieve summer camp, and after school programs for Beaverton middle schools.

You can also offer assistance throughout the year with micro-projects like the painting day at Terra Linda Elementary. These projects vary in scope and can be anywhere from a couple hours, to helping out for a few days. Another way to help is by making a tax-deductible donation on the BEF website, directly through the donate button or to fund a specific micro-project of your choice. The micro-projects are often matched by local corporate donors, to maximize the effort.

To our local Portland and Beaverton readers, please join us in supporting the Beaverton Education Foundation (beavertonedfoundation.org) to help give area students a more well-rounded and positive educational experience.

RFPIO headquarters outgrows office in under a year

RFPIO headquarters outgrows office in under a year

Just a year ago this week, we made the announcement that RFPIO headquarters had moved into a larger office to make room for growth. Well, surprise! We did it again, after only 11 months. This will be the sixth HQ space. As I write this, I’m proud to announce that we are also moving our Coimbatore office into its third new space. Hello from India!

Sometimes people ask me if I had expected the company to grow this quickly. I may not have been able to see the future, but I always knew our product and our people would be successful. It’s no surprise to my team that my expectations are high, and they’ve consistently impressed me with their responses to the all the challenges that come with growing a company.

In the blog about last year’s move, we asked all the HQ employees what they thought of the new space. We couldn’t do that this year, or it would have been way too long. Instead, I want to talk about some of what’s changed and what hasn’t, and what you can expect from us in the future.

Holy Smoke RFPIO

Our India team observing the Holy Smoke ritual before officially moving in

How RFPIO has changed

Office Space
This new HQ office more than doubles our last space, giving us the room to accommodate almost three times as many people. We are already taking to it like fish to a fishbowl, and made a new hire in just the two weeks we’ve been here.

Now we are getting settled in to our new workspaces, taking in the magnificent Oregon views (a new benefit—lots of windows and outdoor space), and enjoying the extra room to stretch our legs. We’ve also upgraded some amenities. In the last office we were excited about having a sink and a full-sized fridge. Now we finally have a dishwasher. For a startup, these conveniences mean a lot!

Customers
Our user list has grown massively over the last year, in both volume and company size. We’re now at over 25,000 users on the platform and we’ve signed on Fortune 500 enterprise clients like Google, Visa, Salesforce, and Adobe. We recently announced a multi-year partnership with Express Scripts, one of Fortune’s top 25, and a major player in the healthcare industry.

Just this week we attended RSA 2019 to spread the word of our response management platform for security questionnaires and similar business requests. One of the things we were proud to share with conference-goers was our newly announced SOC 2 certification. This was a rigorous process that ultimately ensures our commitment to security for all of our customers.

Former Office RFPIO

We had to get creative about workspaces before the move

More change

Growth: Team and Revenue
In July of 2018 we announced our partnership with K1 Investment Management for a $25M round of funding. This strategic partnership has helped us scale the company wisely, while increasing our revenue ahead of schedule, keeping us in a strong financial standing. Our projections for growth have us more than doubling our revenue and current staff count by the end of 2019.

Honors and Distinctions
We know we’re a great company, but outside validation assures us that we’re on the right track. This year, RFPIO was named one of Oregon’s Top 10 Best Tech Startups, in good company with several local peers. We were given the distinction of market leader on G2 Crowd’s Best RFP Software grid, and have received almost 100 unbiased reviews on G2 Crowd and Capterra from our amazing customers.

RFPIO_James and Stephen

James and Stephen enjoying the view

How RFPIO has stayed the same

Customer support
We’ve added team members to all of our teams, which means that we can offer more to our customers than even before. The product is being innovated upon more rapidly, our internal processes have gotten tighter, and we offer more support services for all types of companies. Everything we do is in service to our customers and their needs.

Employee-focused culture
Much like our focus on customers, our employees make this company what it is. We still do quarterly philanthropy events, holiday parties, and team outings. Our benefit package has gotten more substantial. As a commitment to transparency we’ve implemented a monthly all-hands meeting and we’ve started a new lunch & learn program to keep everybody up to date on product news.

Convenience
Our new HQ office is located in the neighboring building to our former office. This means we are still in the heart of downtown Beaverton, which connects many public transportation options and major highways. We’d grown accustomed to our proximity to the neighborhood food carts, so our walkable lunch options remain close by.

New RFPIO Office_Hakeem

Hakeem getting settled in to his new space

The future of RFPIO

As I said before, I’m not sure exactly what the future holds, but I am confident that by this time next year we will be a bigger, stronger company with even more to offer. With teams across the U.S. and in India, we are innovating around the clock.

I’m so proud of what our technical, support, and revenue teams have built and introduced to the market. I’ve been humbled to hear customers say that we’ve brought them relief and have given them more time with their families—that’s the best compliment I can receive.

This new office marks a new chapter in RFPIO’s history, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. As I often say, folks, this is just the beginning!

If you’re in the area and would like to drop in, we would love to see you. The new RFPIO headquarters office is located at:

RFPIO, Inc.
4145 SW Watson Ave. #450
Beaverton, OR 97005

How to support the Oregon Food Bank with RFPIO

How to support the Oregon Food Bank with RFPIO

The RFPIO team is proud to call Oregon our headquarters’ home state. There are many positives to living in a state with such natural beauty and delicious coffee. But Oregon, like many states, has its problems―particularly when it comes to economic inequality.

According to an article in Portland Monthly from earlier this year, Oregon ranks 13th in the U.S. for food insecurity. Sixteen percent of households in the state―around 103,000―are affected by this issue. A report about hunger from 2015 from the Oregon Food Bank says that people are still affected by the Great Recession of 2008. High costs of living and stagnant wages have made it difficult for many people to get ahead.

Team Event RFPIO OFB

Food pantries like the Oregon Food Bank are helping to bridge the gap for those suffering from food insecurity. Their mission is “to eliminate hunger and its root causes…because no one should be hungry.”

We’ve worked with the Oregon Food Bank before through our ROI of Compassion campaign, and believe in their mission, so as part of our quarterly philanthropic initiatives and the season of giving, the RFPIO team spent an evening volunteering at the OFB this December.

OFB_James and Tyler

You never know exactly what you’ll be doing when you show up for a volunteer shift at the Oregon Food Bank. Our project was to fill up as many 2-pound bags of oats as we could in 2 hours. By the end of the shift, we’d bagged 11,026 pounds, equaling 9,188 meals or 139 meals per volunteer.

The OFB collects food from “farmers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, individuals and government sources,” and distributes the donated food through a network on 21 regional food banks and around 1,200 food assistance sites that serve the state of Oregon and Clark County in Washington state.
OFB Network

In solidarity with this organization and our fellow Oregonians, the RFPIO team asks those in the area to join us in supporting the Oregon Food Bank with a donation, volunteer support, or political advocacy. You can find more information at their website: www.oregonfoodbank.org.

Reflections from the RFPIO User Conference 2018

Reflections from the RFPIO User Conference 2018

It’s here again, that time when we reflect upon where we’ve been and where we’re going as we set our sights on a brand new year. As the RFPIO team looks back on 2018 and considers how much we’ve grown and what we’ve accomplished, one of our proudest achievements was organizing and hosting our first-ever user conferences, to great success.

We knew it might be ambitious to put together not one, but two, big events in only our second full year. But the RFPIO team doesn’t shy away from a good challenge, and we were itching to spend some time with our customers face-to-face.

RFPIO has clients all over the world that we would have loved to visit, but we decided to start in the United States first. Early in the planning process we surveyed our U.S. customers to gauge interest, and determine the most convenient location. We ended up going coast to coast and held two events, one on October 4 in New York City and the other on October 25 in San Francisco.

It was no small feat putting together a program that would wow our clients and give them more tools for response management. We had breakout sessions for best practices with the platform, held a client-lead panel discussion, a town hall for questions with the executive team, and more. Ultimately, we had three main goals:

  1. Build community among our users and the RFPIO team
  2. Provide thought leadership on RFP process and strategy
  3. Offer product training our users can take back to their teams

Through a mighty effort from the RFPIO team and many enthusiastic and generous customers, we had two very successful days of learning, networking, and having fun.

KV-Ryan-User Conference-NYC

RFPIO’s Khalees and Ryan S.

Community

Building community among our users was a high-priority goal. Many of the people we work with are lone wolves in their RFP response efforts, so this was a chance to meet other folks who experience what they do every day.

One of our first sessions of the day was a panel discussion with a few selected client representatives. In New York, the discussion leaned heavily toward RFP process. For Susan Stein of ServiceNow, RFPIO has helped her automate the proposal response process, reduce the time that solutions engineers have to spend on projects, and collaborate more easily with other stakeholders. “They call me the great cat herder!” she told the crowd.

Alexei Budsan of Routematch Software said that he’s saved time and believes more strongly in the quality of his RFP responses. “It’s possible to step away and feel good about the content.” That same sentiment came up in San Francisco, as the discussion focused heavily on the power of having a solid and ever-updated content library.

Chances for networking presented themselves throughout the days’ events too, and by the evening festivities, many connections had been formed.

Client Panel-RFPIO-NYC

Alexei Budsan (Routematch), Susan Stein (ServiceNow), Elizabeth Duke (Informatica), Josie Fey (RFPIO)

Thought Leadership

It was important for us to give our guests some outside perspective when it comes to RFP management. We invited two of the industry’s premiere thought leaders to give presentations that would speak to building a strong process and organization, agnostic of any tool or methodology.

In New York, we hosted B.J. Lownie, co-founder of Strategic Proposals and a pioneering consultant in proposal response. His presentation was called, “The Proposal Support Function: From Stepchild to Strategic Partner,” and he gave tips for building confidence in proposal support, and how to communicate that importance to management. B.J. recently joined us to give his presentation again over webinar. You can watch that here.

In San Francisco we were joined by Lisa Rehurek, founder and owner of The RFP Success Company. Lisa’s presentation, “Ninja Tricks to Capture the Evaluator’s Attention,” was about getting into the mind of the person issuing the RFP, and how to reflect that in your content. After our user conference, Lisa invited us on her podcast, The RFP Success Show to talk all things RFPIO.

Cision-RFPIO-Case Study

Gavin O’Donoghue from Cision leading a breakout session

Training

The afternoons were made up mostly of breakout sessions, for customers to get firsthand knowledge from the customer success team on how to use RFPIO to implement the strategies and processes we’d been discussing all morning.

Some of our best attended workshops were about best practices for maintaining a clean answer library, training your team, how to use export templates, and collaborating on projects, among many more.

In New York, we were lucky to have a customer run one of the breakout sessions to talk about his success with implementing RFPIO in an enterprise setting. Gavin O’Donoghue was one of our first power users, as the global RFP manager at Cision, formerly PR Newswire. The organization’s growth since the acquisition presents its own challenges, which is a familiar scenario for many of our enterprise clients, and Gavin was able to offer some unique insight.

RFPIO User Conference_Likes

“What did you like about the RFPIO User Conference?”

Lessons Learned

We couldn’t have asked for better turnout, more beautiful weather, or lively and energetic locations for these events. And we definitely couldn’t have done it without the hard work of our marketing, customer success, and executive teams.

In discussions with various clients throughout the day, we heard over and over how much our customer success team has made people feel like they are consistently being heard, and how impressed they were that their product suggestions were often added to the solution―many times just shortly after they’d given their feedback.

The sense of community and connection was incredibly powerful to people, and we are glad to have provided that opportunity. Join us at the 2019 User Conference!

Read more about RFPIO’s company culture here.

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