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Scale organizational content with a response management platform

Scale organizational content with a response management platform

How many times have you written repetitive content in the past week? What about the past year? And, how is […]


Category: Content & Storytelling

Scale organizational content with a response management platform

Scale organizational content with a response management platform

How many times have you written repetitive content in the past week? What about the past year? And, how is your content creation process going these days? While we’re at it…what about the rest of your organization?

Marketers are using a response management platform to eliminate repetition in the content creation cycle and improve their content creation process companywide. But these improvements are not solely reserved for RFP responses.

Hear about some of the creative ways marketers are leveraging RFPIO to support and scale content efforts throughout every facet of their organization.

An accurate knowledge base with less SME involvement

You need up-to-date marketing content all the time. Whether you are building out FAQs for your website or creating one-sheets for your sales team, you must have accurate information about specific products or services.

Today you are likely using a mish-mash of content management tools and methods to keep the latest company content within reach. You’re also enlisting the help of your SMEs (subject matter experts) to update and approve content specifics.

SMEs frequently become bottlenecks in the content creation process as their expertise in high demand. They respond to RFPs, RFIs, security questionnaires—and they help team members like you who rely on their expertise day in and day out. The last thing any of your SMEs want to do is slow things down, but that is precisely what happens without an accurate knowledge base.

Jeff Skott is the Manager of Sales Solution Architects at LexisNexis and he is also a subject matter expert. An account manager recently told him, “Thank you so much for getting RFPIO because now I can just look up the answers I used to have to call your team about.”

A response management solution like RFPIO serves as a knowledge base. It makes expertise transferable and accessible, enabling your marketing team to find the right information quickly. All SME-approved content lives in a centralized answer library so you find accurate content without overly involving your subject matter experts.

Marketing Communication Coordinator Hope Henderson said anyone at Alera Group can simply “type in the product name or the question into RFPIO, then pull answers that have been audited by our subject matter experts.” It’s that easy when you and your SMEs use RFPIO as your go-to knowledge base.

Unify your organization with a single source of truth

Content is everywhere in your organization and you are the gatekeeper of every last sentence. You’re involved in the creation and polishing of branded documents across multiple departments. RFPIO’s unlimited user license model means that everyone at your organization has access to a single source of truth.

Soon after onboarding RFPIO, Sharon Ma of Yext used the platform for a multitude of response use cases: RFPs, vendor questionnaires, security questionnaires, and sales proposals. She quickly saw the opportunity to use the response management platform as a single source of truth for her entire organization, far beyond the Global Bid Desk department she managed.

Sales engineers and product managers experienced the same day-to-day challenges Sharon used to have when she manually responded to business queries—spending too much of their valuable time on a neverending search for documents.

Marketing Analyst and RFP Writer, Andrea Kameron, journeyed down a similar path with Reflexis. Andrea leveraged RFPIO to respond to RFPs and for other marketing uses, like creating marketing analyst reports. Her marketing team enjoyed the benefits of efficient content creation, while other departments still needed a solution.

Today Andrea’s enterprise organization uses RFPIO in many departments, from financial services to legal, from administration to customer support. Andrea said, “RFPIO basically touches every single aspect of operations within our company.”

Document automation for lean and agile project management

Continuous improvement, lean, and agile principles have advocated for document automation as a powerful tool for years. RFPIO integrates document automation seamlessly, not just for RFPs but other aspects of enterprise and project management as well.

Delaney Seebold, Business Development Coordinator with Boundless, said that with RFPIO, “our document library is always up to date. We can access the library for RFI answers and find the right verbiage and collateral.”

All of the hard-working individuals at your company don’t need dozens of variations of a document—and neither do you. As a marketer, broken document management processes bring more brand inconsistency than you can handle.

In the Definitive Guide to America’s Most Broken Processes, team members in various departments of the enterprise revealed the following challenges:

  • 49% said they have trouble locating documents
  • 43% have trouble with document approval requests and document sharing
  • 33% struggle with the document versioning

RFPIO’s document library stores the most updated and approved versions of documents in one place. Export functions also help you to format documents to your specific brand guidelines. Every department has what they need, when they need it. Over time, a centralized document library supports lean and agile project management in a way that manual processes can’t.

Your marketing team (and your organization) are ready for a better approach to content management and creation. Schedule a demo of RFPIO to achieve more with a single solution.

How an effective content management system keeps your remote team productive

How an effective content management system keeps your remote team productive

This is the second post in our series #StayConnected, introducing tips, tricks, tools, and features that help teams complete proposals quickly and efficiently, even when they’re not sharing a physical space. Read the first blog here: Keep Your Proposal Team Focused With These 5 Project Management Features.

Your proposal is due tomorrow morning—and here you are scouring through excel sheets to find the answer you know is in there somewhere.

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. A McKinsey report found that employees spend nearly 20% of their time looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues who can help with specific tasks.

That’s why successful proposal managers focus on establishing an effective content management system—the less time you spend searching for content, the more time you have to craft compelling messages.

According to the 2019 RFPIO Responder Survey, 82% of proposal managers said the most important way they’ve improved their RFP response process is by managing response content all in one place—and 89% said that the Answer Library was their favorite feature.

We’ve gathered everything we know about how proposal managers use content management systems to successfully complete proposal projects with a fully remote team. Read on for insider advice and best practices for keeping your remote team productive and connected.

Empower your team to access content from collaboration tools they’re already using

To make the most out of your content management system, give as many people access to it as possible (RFPIO’s unlimited user licensing model makes this easy).

Giving your entire company access to your answer library not only opens a vast, searchable knowledge base to employees and external partners—but also makes it easy to bring in subject matter experts to answer technical questions about your products and services.

Take this one step further by integrating your knowledge library with collaboration tools your team is already using, including Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Hangouts. Rather than logging into a separate application to search through your content library, empower your entire team to access a rich database with a few clicks of a button, from wherever in the world they are.

Enhance your content management system with intelligent search

After you’ve uploaded all your response content into your system, you may end up with several thousand question-and-answer pairs. Instead of asking your response team to comb through this massive amount of content using endless iterations of CTRL + F, expedite the process with intelligent search.

Similar to a Google Search, when you use intelligent search to locate an answer in your response library, the most relevant answers will appear first. Relevance is calculated based on a number of factors, including star rating, number of times used, and date updated.

Additionally—unlike a standard CTRL + F search in a document or spreadsheet—the results will include variations of your search term. For example, a search for “correspond” will return Q&A pairs containing “correspondence” and “corresponding”, as well.

When your team isn’t spending time hunting for answers, they’re able to focus on crafting compelling messages—and help your organization win more deals.

Automate content auditing to keep your knowledgebase accurate and up-to-date

Maintaining an accurate library ensures the best version of your content is ready before the proposal arrives, empowering your remote team to quickly respond to RFPs under deadlines.

The best way to make sure your content stays accurate and up-to-date is through regular content audits.

The most productive proposal managers do this at least once a year, and usually every 3-6 months. Of course, each organization is unique—if you experience frequent changes with pricing or product specifications, you may need to audit your content bi-monthly, monthly, or even weekly.

These teams often lean on proposal automation software to automatically trigger these regular review cycles, sending out reminders to their organization’s specialists—including product management, sales, finance, legal, and IT teams—to double-check content they’re responsible for.

“Content management is the most important part of our RFP response process. We have processes and review cycles in place to make sure our content is always up-to-date. That way we can efficiently respond to RFPs when we have a deadline.”

Lauren Daitz

Sr. Manager, Proposal Department, HALO Recogntion

In a recent article, McKinsey reported that employees who spend less time traveling or commuting and have a better work-life balance are likely to be happier, more motivated, and ready to mobilize in extreme situations.

At RFPIO, we’re helping proposal teams adapt to a fully from-home work environment, by looking at remote work as an opportunity to be taken advantage of, rather than as a challenge to be overcome.

Click here to learn more about how RFPIO can help you optimize the opportunity of working with a fully remote team—and help your team stay connected and productive.

Emphasize your messaging with RFP brand storytelling

Emphasize your messaging with RFP brand storytelling

Stats and facts are powerful in messaging. But stories are remembered up to 22 times more than facts alone, which makes a pretty strong case for developing a brand storytelling strategy for your RFPs.

When responding to RFPs, we marketers typically think about making the messaging professional and concise. We also work hard to ensure accuracy and compliance. Your competitors’ marketing teams are going through these motions as well.

As we’re ticking off the messaging requirements boxes, we’re missing something with our RFP content. That je ne sais quoi that hooks the reader and keeps them engaged until the end. We’re missing the brand story. This is how you make your RFP content more impactful.

Use brand storytelling to build a trusting relationship

81% of people say trust is a deciding factor in their purchasing decisions. When we feel connected to someone or a brand, we develop trust. We are more likely to call on that person or turn to that brand when we need help in their area of expertise.

“Doing business” is not just about what you do. It is about who you are. Brand storytelling is designed to build trusting relationships and deepen the personal connection with your prospects. Below are two examples of how organizations are using brand storytelling to develop trust and connect with their customers.

IBM

IBM launched a health care initiative “outthink melanoma,” which focused on the early detection of melanoma. They developed an AI-powered product called Watson that could detect cancer with 31% more accuracy than the naked eye. This technological advance can mean the difference between life and death for thousands of people.

Going after a passion project alongside IBM’s “business as usual” technology made a huge impact on their customers. IBM showed not only do they care about being at the forefront of technology, they also care about helping people.

The New York Public Library

The New York Public Library used brand storytelling to increase their Instagram following by 75% in 2019 with their “Insta Novels” campaign. The library literally brought storytelling into their branded content by sharing full-length classic novels like Alice In Wonderland as Instagram stories.

Using Instagram stories to bring the classics beyond their brick and mortar library building, people around the world were able to have a memorable experience with their brand. It goes to show that even more established brands can succeed with a modern brand storytelling strategy.

RFP response examples that use brand storytelling

When you receive a request for a proposal, much like IBM and The New York Public Library, you have a choice about how you are going to tell your brand’s story. Are you going to tick off all the basic requirements? Or, are you going to try your hand at brand storytelling with RFP responses?

You might be thinking…the RFP questions we receive from issuers are always a complete snooze. What is your organization’s approach? What are your competitive differentiators?

It’s true that you will need to work a bit harder to find the story when you’re responding to RFPs. But, the point is…you can still find it. Below are some RFP response examples that will inspire you to infuse more brand storytelling into your content.

Tell your why

Because you’re a marketer, you already know all about Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why.” You might be sick of it, but guess what? It’s a classic gut-check for almost any content you produce, even RFP responses.

What is your organization’s why? Why did your CEO/Founder/President start the company in the first place? Why does your product or service exist? Why are you here?

If we use ourselves as an example (because we too respond to RFPs), our RFP response may look like…

Before founding RFPIO, we were RFP responders too. We often worked overtime to meet deadlines and we spent 30% of our time responding to RFPs manually. We understand how inefficient the process can be. That led us on a mission to make life better for response management teams like yours.

Share a testimonial

Customer experience is a big part of your story. We all read online reviews before we make purchasing decisions and your prospects are no different. Testimonials are an easy way to bring brand storytelling (and customer validation) into your RFP responses. An RFPIO example may look like…

Here is the detailed outline of how RFPIO’s customer success team supports your proposal management team. Lori Coffae, a longtime customer and content writer with SHI, is proof of our commitment to your success. “The team at RFPIO has been tremendous in terms of helping me get other people on board, helping to push the tool forward so we are all using it in the same way…I feel like Andrew works just for me and everyone on the team feels eager and accessible to help.”

Show you’re human

What are you doing in your business that goes above and beyond? In what ways are you giving back to your community? Your team does many great things together, whether you are team-building outside the office or going above and beyond for your customers. Show the human side of your business with RFP response brand storytelling. Our RFP response may look like…

Each quarter RFPIO gives back. Most recently we donated to March of Dimes and supported an organization that believes every baby deserves the best possible start. By giving back, we receive so much more. We not only love to serve our customers but we love to serve our community.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Simon Sinek is right. Reach your prospects on a personal level and demonstrate why you are the obvious choice as a partner. Use brand storytelling to build trust from the moment they read your first RFP response.

RFPIO saves you time, allowing you to focus on bringing more brand storytelling into your RFP content. See how our solution helps you produce quality content.

3 RFP content management tips to help you dominate

3 RFP content management tips to help you dominate

What exactly does good content management look like in the RFP world? It’s a trifecta of resources, data, and process.

Good RFP content management means preparing the best version of your content alongside your internal process to accelerate success. RFP responses are groomed in such a way that the content is compelling and fresh. Content is organized, so your team responds quickly and accurately.

By properly maintaining RFP content, you can:

  • Build confidence in your response process.
  • Gain the advantage when you’re under a tight deadline.
  • Save time and get back to what you do best.

The ultimate result of good RFP content management? Winning new business. The trick is to continually improve internal processes. That starts with investigating the RFP content management efforts you have in place today.

1. Define your RFP team

A successful RFP content management strategy begins with allocating the right resources—and defining roles and responsibilities so everyone is crystal clear about their commitment.

Process

Misalignment is common within organizations. Responders tend to ramp up too quickly with a shiny solution like RFP software, diving right into the next project without a dedicated process.

Discuss the overarching RFP content strategy with your team. If you’re using an RFP management solution, several factors need to be taken into consideration. A tool, even an intelligent one, is only effective if the response team is maximizing its capabilities with a grounded RFP response process.

People

The common thread with good RFP content management involves ownership and accessibility. Identify owners early on in the process and divvy up responsibilities among a set of core admins.

An internal contact will be the first line of defense with questions, while another admin will handle moderation workflow to ensure content in the answer library is being cleaned, amended, and deduplicated. A common mistake for teams is assigning too many moderators—don’t overmanage, just manage the content well.

Your SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) are also owners of specific sections of an RFP response. With RFP software, an admin can assign content to the correct SMEs so they can avoid viewing parts of the proposal that don’t concern them. Managing content is a happier time for everyone if they have this level of accessibility.

RFP Response Process Steps

2. Organize your RFP content

Organizing your RFP responses and projects make collaboration better across teams and departments.

Many companies want to make sure that every Q&A pair is present, but you can end up with several thousand responses. Even with search functionality in RFP software, quality inevitably decreases when you have too many Q&A pairs living in the answer library—and accessibility is affected as well. So it’s important to strike the right balance between quality and quantity.

Project naming

Within your proposal management solution, a standardized naming convention for projects is very helpful for busy teams. A good way to go is “date_issuer_product name.” Whatever you decide, make sure it works well for your organization and that admins are consistent with the naming structure.

Tagging

Tags make searching easier for your team to access the right information. Like project naming, tagging content is also personal to each company. Tagging responses by industry is a favorite for sales teams, since they can find specific content for the targeted industry they are working with.

Rating

Last but not least, star rating is a great feature within RFP software that helps you manage your content effectively. This is your way to manually influence the recommendation engine within the answer library. Once you have culled your responses down to a more reasonable set of 200 Q&A pairs, rating allows you to further refine your answer library until you have the top 20 responses.

3. Future-proof your content

To future-proof your content, you need to keep content up-to-date and continually share knowledge within the organization. It’s time to dig into two of the most overlooked parts of an RFP response process—content audits and succession planning.

Content audits

Keep your content fresh and clean by performing regular content audits. Every organization is unique, but we recommend quarterly reviews of your answer library. If you experience frequent changes with pricing or product specifications, then you’ll audit your content bi-monthly, monthly, or even weekly.

For those with RFP software, enable answer library moderation and customize alerts to your preferred content audit cadence. You’ll receive a friendly email reminder when it’s time to clean house.

If you don’t have RFP software—and your answer library exists in a spreadsheet—you can still be diligent about content audits as long as you refer back to Tip #1. Make sure you have resources allocated to manage your content.

Succession planning

Succession planning is often overlooked by companies, but this is a big one. Do you know who is next in line to manage your RFP responses?

Find out now rather than later, in case your RFP content “gatekeeper” suddenly moves on. It happens, and you want to be in a position to keep your RFP process moving forward so you don’t miss out on opportunities.

Another process to standardize is training. Although RFP response software is intuitive and doesn’t require special training, there’s still something to be said about having everyone on the same page with content audits and tagging practices, etc. Comprehensive training safeguards your RFP response process as your organization evolves, and team members come and go.

82% of our customers said managing response content all in one place is the primary way RFPIO helps them achieve success. It’s your turn to dominate with RFPIO.

RFP response best practices for up-to-date and impactful content

RFP response best practices for up-to-date and impactful content

An RFP is so much more than a sales pitch—it’s an important opportunity to tell your organization’s story.

A quality RFP response tells that story with accurate, cohesive, engaging detail that demonstrates your competitive differentiators. But if your content is scattered, unorganized, or unpolished, telling this story raises unnecessary complications. The first step to creating this story is quick, easy access to high-quality RFP content.

Where do you turn? You need a well-maintained, dynamic RFP content library.

Follow these RFP response best practices so you know how to keep your content up-to-date and impactful. When the next RFP arrives, you’ll be ready to write a best-seller.

Curate quality narrative RFP responses

Congrats, marketer. You own the RFP content library, also known as the answer library.

Be proactive and ensure your answer library is filled with the most captivating RFP content possible. Use content that not only informs but also engages the reader, delivering your organization’s message clearly—and with finesse.

As a marketer, you know your message must resonate with your target audience. Content that reads like a bulleted FAQ list might be useful for technical information. But you’ll need more than that to capture your buyer’s attention and help win business.

Well-executed narrative content resonates with buyers the most. They see themselves in your organization’s story, which forges a connection. An issued RFP seeks that connection. Your prospect wants to know they need your product or service, so show them in your RFP responses.

Collect longer, narrative answers for your content library. As you go through more RFP responses, create a culture of training. Teach your team to recognize and create narrative content, capturing and organizing RFP responses proactively as a best practice.

Moderate and audit your RFP content library

High-impact RFP responses win deals. You must have current, marketing-approved content accessible to all contributors who are responding to RFPs.

You’ve been auditing brand and marketing content for years, so you’re already familiar with the value of content audits. The same value applies to your RFP responses. Regularly moderate your content to ensure accuracy and quality.

When auditing RFP content, ask the following questions:

  • Is this information current and accurate?
  • Does this convey the benefits of our services and/or products well?
  • Do the answers address business challenges others face?
  • How polished is the content?
  • How consistent is the tone?
  • Is the content easy to find?

Impactful RFP content is a team effort, and keeping it fresh and reusable is the name of the game. Schedule audits and delegate content to the relevant subject matter experts, so the most accurate content is always updated in your answer library.

We know regular content audits can be a big ask. 79% of marketers said they are focused on using automated technology to execute more with less resource strain.

Best-in-class RFP software like RFPIO helps you with scheduling and delegating audits to SMEs. You receive content audit reminders at a cadence of your choosing (monthly, quarterly, etc.) Built-in analytics, such as answer library reporting, shows you the overall health of your RFP content so you can audit content more effectively by knowing exactly where the opportunities lie.

Use a tagging strategy to organize RFP responses

Once you have a good RFP content library built up, you need a card catalog system…and that’s where tagging comes in. Tagging is complex, and it looks different for every organization. Without a plan, tagging will quickly spiral out of control. The key is to have an RFP content tagging strategy in place.

You might have a problem with people not tagging RFP responses at all—or they might over-tag, tag inconsistently or inaccurately. Get everyone on the same page to utilize this powerful mechanism and keep your content in ship-shape condition.

Reference these RFP response best practices for tagging, then tailor the strategy as needed for your organization:

  • Tag content based on organizational needs.
  • Confirm that tags make sense to everyone, so team members find the right content quickly.
  • Create a tagging guide for methodology and a list of frequently used tags.
  • To keep consistency, onboard new users with your tagging guide and relevant reference materials.
  • Use 2-4 tags per piece of content.
  • Continue training and enforcing the tagging strategy to keep it working long-term.

Avert chaos with an indexed, dynamic content library. Tags make auditing and finding the content a snap. Implement a solid tagging strategy as the nerve center of your RFP content management process.

Your organization is a vital, growing, changing organism…and so is your RFP content. Nurture your RFP answer library, and empower it to do more. When the next RFP comes along, your responses will be updated and ready to make an impact with your buyer. Discover how RFPIO streamlines content management and make a bigger impact this year.

RFP compliance: Stay accountable and empower team success

RFP compliance: Stay accountable and empower team success

Your expertise is in high demand. You act as the contributor, the project manager, the content creator—maybe all of the above. You’re a subject matter expert in the RFP response process and your expertise gives content substance.

Because RFP responses become part of a legal and binding contract if the bid is accepted, compliance is crucial. How do you stay compliant when collaborating on RFP responses? Learn all about RFP compliance below.

Subject matter experts, the co-owners of RFP compliance

“On good teams, coaches hold players accountable. On great teams, players hold players accountable.” Joe Dumars, an NBA Hall of Fame inductee, gives us something to think about, doesn’t he?

The best response management teams recognize that compliance is everyone’s responsibility. You, as the subject matter expert, need to see yourself as a co-owner of compliance. As long as you monitor RFP response content for accuracy before, during, and after an RFP project, approval should be fairly quick by the time an RFP reaches your compliance team.

You proactively contribute RFP responses, then manage that content through scheduled review cycles. Responses to your assigned questions must be precise, data-neutral, and internally compliant with current company policy. Additionally, responses must reflect your organizational values and be technically sound.

If you own the whole process of creating, maintaining, and auditing RFP responses, you create a robust answer library for the whole team to utilize at any point during an RFP response project. By creating a culture of accountability, everyone can rely on each other for the right content at the right time.

Hold yourself accountable for RFP compliance in 4 steps

As a subject matter expert, your time is precious. Understanding your team’s RFP response review cycle and content audit approach are key time-savers. Knowing your chain of command and speaking up if you see problems with the process are equally important for efficiency.

Below are some suggested steps that will offer guidance as you hold yourself accountable for RFP compliance.

1. Create an RFP response process.

An effective team clearly defines its RFP response process workflow. Review cycles might change based on content needs, but individual steps and team responsibilities are all clearly defined. For example, you might have:

  • Authors – Responsible for answering the question and curating that content. Usually, authors are subject matter experts.
  • Reviewers – Responsible for the final content audit within the RFP project. Reviewers are also the final say for what content should be kept in the answer library for future use. Reviewers are often proposal writers or on the marketing team.
  • Project Managers – Responsible for ensuring the Author/ Reviewer workflow is set up correctly and followed. Project managers should have a clear depiction of the project management strategy set up by the RFP software admin users—and continually use this strategy to guide the RFP project.

2. Establish RFP content best practices.

A good RFP content management team makes sure content is up-to-date and data is neutralized. They schedule regular training for SMEs to keep systems running smoothly and aligned with organizational best practices.

3. Commit to RFP content accuracy.

Accurate content is the backbone of RFP compliance. SMEs (subject matter experts) should participate consistently in review cycles and content audits. The goal is to ensure absolute accuracy for optimum proposal compliance.

4. Keep up with review cycles.

SMEs are responsible for keeping up with the review cycle of all technical content that goes out the door, including content for security questionnaires and RFP responses. Review cycles can be conducted at any interval, depending on the timeline established during the RFP response process.

RFP Response Process Steps

How RFPIO enables RFP response compliance

In the 2019 RFPIO Responder Survey, nearly half of subject matter experts indicated the main way RFPIO has helped them with their RFP responses was by enabling them to review content for quality and accuracy instead of writing repetitive responses. Let’s explore how RFPIO enables RFP response compliance through content review cycles and audits.

Review content for RFP compliance

Through the RFPIO platform, you are notified by email when your oversight is needed with RFP response content. You simply log in, review assigned questions or sections, and check for RFP compliance with current company policies and data neutrality.

Compliance teams strengthen their impact on RFP response success by utilizing sequential reviewers. A project manager, team leader, or proposal manager will be the first set of eyes on all the content. Then you come in and review that piece for internal compliance with things like terminology and company values.

Audit content for RFP compliance

By conducting regular content audits in RFPIO’s proposal management software, you help to create a robust answer library of accurate, compliant content which is easily accessible at any point in the RFP response process. The more the answer library is optimized, the stronger this knowledge repository becomes.

Another useful feature is the Answer Type Template, a customizable answer type that can be aligned with specific compliance pieces. Think of the Answer Type Template as your SME content auditing checklist. Data from these answers can be exported and manipulated into reports to efficiently target any compliance issues that need attention.

Fostering a culture of accountability with RFP compliance empowers your team to succeed. You’ll help protect your organization against liability and decrease RFP response completion time. When you take responsibility for compliance, you contribute to a winning team.

Schedule a demo of RFPIO to stay accountable with RFP compliance and empower your team’s success.

Tried-and-true RFP content management tips for finserv marketers

Tried-and-true RFP content management tips for finserv marketers

As a marketer at a financial services organization, you solve unique challenges every day. You make shrinking budgets work to attract and retain clients. You create a heavy stream of content to build consumer trust. You work within the tight constraints of compliance and regulations. And, you swim against the current in a mature industry that is slow to adopt automated technologies.

Responding to RFPs is one of the many ancillary functions of your marketing role. Yet another multiple hat situation, the RFP response process is where you serve as the facilitator, editor, creator, and decision-maker.

Just like any other content you produce, RFP response involves content management. For your content to be impactful, you need to organize, review, and improve constantly. Below, a proposal manager at a financial institution offers several RFP content management best practices to help you succeed.

43% of marketers said controlling RFP content quality was their top challenge in a recent RFPIO survey. How is your organization overcoming that challenge today?

RFP content quality will always be a challenge, especially in the banking technology environment where things change every day. The first thing we did to overcome that challenge was to change software vendors and start using RFPIO. This solution has taken the middleman out of a lot of what we do to make our RFP response process more manageable.

Having unlimited users makes it much easier for us to bring in subject matter experts (SMEs) from across the bank to answer technical questions about our products and services—without worrying about additional licenses. Through automated email reminders, I’m able to keep track of stale content and the SME responsible for updating content.

Tell us about your experience with maintaining RFP content in the financial services world.

Our product management team is responsible for updating any questions relevant to their particular products. Team availability is a primary challenge with updating RFP content. However, it’s not enough to just have a product expert—you need to have people who know how to write well and review content.

The financial services industry is a moving target. Technology changes so rapidly and sometimes laws and regulations don’t keep up the pace. Your RFP contributors must have legal expertise or compliance and regulatory expertise to make sure you’re not talking out of turn in any of those areas.

How do you use tagging in RFPIO’s answer library to organize your RFP content?

Tagging within RFPIO’s answer library works so much better than organizing questions and answers with folders. We had a folder system with our old RFP software—when I needed to find a question a year later, I never knew where it went.

With banking proposals, the bulk of the questions and answers will fall under a certain product or product set. So you tag your RFP content in the answer library with the name of the product, in addition to its larger product group.

Tagging makes it easier to delegate questions to subject matter experts as well. When an ACH question comes in, I search for the ACH tag and assign these responses to the ACH product manager so she can review the content for accuracy.

Overall, tagging allows you to connect the dots with all of your RFP content. You find RFP responses quicker and keep your content up-to-date. It’s the difference between Outlook and Gmail when you’re organizing thousands of emails.

RFP response management teams tend to have different internal styles with tagging. Describe yours.

Generally, the tags you choose for your RFP content are pretty obvious. There will always be a few outliers, but the majority of the responses clearly fall in a particular product bucket or problem bucket. Even then, usually there will be a product that’s an answer to that problem, like fraud prevention or ACH positive pay.

When I first imported all of our existing RFP response content into RFPIO’s answer library, I did the majority of the tagging. Now that our product managers update their content within the tool, I give them access to change those tags or add content as they see fit. Occasionally, I review the RFP content library to clean up any tags that look wonky.

In the same survey, managing company branding and positioning with RFP content was another challenge for 14% of RFP responders. What are some ways your team is maintaining brand consistency with RFPs?

Our RFP response team does a very good job getting eyes on everything that goes out the door, making sure the correct font size and logos are there. RFPIO has robust formatting tools that help you automatically export your documents into a consistently branded deliverable. This exporting feature has made the formatting step much faster for our team.

Can you tell us about your current RFP content audit process?

Our RFP content audit process is a precedent that has been set for a while that we’re continuing to improve with RFPIO.

At a minimum, content should be looked at once a year. Certain content requires a quarterly answer, or a service changes out of the blue. In RFPIO, you set your preferred audit cycle, put expiration dates on the content, then trigger automated emails to alert the content manager.

There are different RFP content auditing techniques. Your subject matter experts audit the content to make sure it is factually correct. Your RFP writers audit the language and change the way a response is worded when necessary. Your compliance and legal teams also need to audit and approve the content.

We have roughly 1,400 Q&A pairs—that’s a lot of content for one or two people on each team to handle. Right now we’re taking a risk-based approach and having our compliance team members do spot checks on higher risk areas. I recommend picking your battles and focusing on specific initiatives as you audit your RFP content.

What was RFP content management like before you used RFPIO?

RFP content management was a nightmare before RFPIO. Because of the license restrictions we had with our previous RFP software, I ended up being the choke point. All of the RFP content writers and SMEs provided content that had to filter through me, because I was the one uploading everything into the tool.

Having the freedom to allow all of our RFP contributors to work within the platform—without allocating more budget for licenses—is a huge improvement. This collaborative focus puts the value on what is valuable to our managers, which is getting good proposals out the door.


Enjoy freedom in a collaborative platform where you produce quality responses and manage RFP content effectively. Give RFPIO a spin.

Healthcare RFPs: Build trust through authentic storytelling

Healthcare RFPs: Build trust through authentic storytelling

“96% of top-performing marketers agree their organizations have built credibility and trust with their audience.” So, why should healthcare RFPs be any different?

A written document like a request for proposal may not appear to have the same pizzazz. However, an RFP response holds just as many creative possibilities as other types of content you produce. Additionally, healthcare RFPs are a revenue-generating opportunity with the potential to make a positive impact.

Healthcare continues to evolve rapidly while newer, more advanced organizations rise up to take hold of the industry. With that acceleration and competition, there is more pressure for your marketing team to perform.

RFP responses provide an opportunity to stand out in your evolving, competitive industry. With a focus on authentic storytelling in your healthcare RFPs, you’ll build more trust and increase your win potential.

“When you’re in the healthcare industry, you’ll be competing against other firms that have a lot of the same experience and knowledge that you have. You can all do the job and meet the requirements of the RFP. But how are you going to really stand out? One word: Trust.” – Lisa Rehurek,  Founder of The RFP Success™ Company

Healthcare marketing complexity with content creation

Healthcare marketers experience similar challenges to peers in other industries. The major difference is an added layer of complexity, thanks to strict compliance and heavy regulations. This has a direct impact on the content you create, including RFP responses.

Marketing Manager of TheraSpecs, Greg Bullock said his top content challenges are:

1. Communicating medical information in an authoritative way…with a user-friendly approach.

Medical content can be cumbersome, confusing and ultimately frustrating for the end user, which requires brands to communicate information in an approachable way. If you simplify too much, you lose the authority and expertise that is critical to establishing a strong reputation.

2. Keeping information medically up-to-date and accurate.

Generally, it is always a challenge to regularly update content and ensure that the information is still accurate. However, healthcare organizations have particularly unique issues given the wealth of new medical studies and anecdotal expertise that emerges regularly.

When responding to RFPs, you likely see similar content challenges arise. You need to make sure content is current and correct. You must strike the right balance between competence and conversation. You need to have branding that is clear and consistent.

Hit all of these marks and you are on your way to demonstrating why you are the partner they can trust. 95% say that if they trust a company, they’re more likely to be loyal patrons.

Building trust and credibility in healthcare RFPs

“When you’re in a highly technical industry like healthcare, there’s more to what you can bring to the table than just the specifications and requirements of the RFP. Healthcare companies and entities are under a lot of stress to keep up with regulations, compliance issues, stakeholder involvement, political ramifications, the list goes on.”

Lisa Rehurek, founder of The RFP Success™ Company and host of The RFP Success Show, has experienced the complexities of healthcare RFPs firsthand. She has long been a champion of responding to RFPs. Lisa continually encourages any organization bidding on RFPs to excel at building trust over and above their competitors.

“Yes, they’re looking for specific knowledge and expertise, but they also want a lifeline. Weaving in stories, writing in a more conversational tone, being authentic in your response to really get to the emotion of it, will help them visualize that you will be that lifeline. And with that, they can exhale. Trust is built.”

RFPs in healthcare: Bring your authentic voice forward

As a marketer, you’re creative by nature. If you look at your other marketing campaigns, you unearthed stories to communicate more authentically with your audience. You can achieve the same with your RFP content.

Ready to bring your brand’s authentic voice forward? Give these RFP components your full attention to build trust with your prospect and make their buying decision easier.

  • Cover Letter – Reveal key benefits they will experience while working with you and show your excitement for this future partnership. Use the client and company name often to personalize.
  • Executive Summary – Hook them with an opening statement about your solutions and explore the backstory of your company: mission, history, and purpose. (Once again, use the client and company name often.)
  • Our Approach – Explain your methodology and how your solution benefits your customers. Include relevant customer stories or testimonials for validation, focusing on the process and results.
  • Competitive Differentiators – Call out why they should work with you instead of one of your competitors, using comparison data and visual aids. It’s not a time to bad-mouth your competitor—just show you are the best choice.
  • Support / Customer Service – Highlight customer support offerings (help center, ongoing training, or educational webinars, etc). Insert customer story or testimonial that talks about their experience working with your team.
  • Brand Consistency – Not a section per se…brand consistency must be strong throughout. From messaging to design language, “on brand” content helps you earn trust.

Working in healthcare marketing is not a pass to create content without a pulse. Yes, you need to meet specifications and requirements. And sometimes, messaging might seem a little flat compared to more provocative industries.

At the end of the day, the goal is to show the human side of your brand and build a high level of trust with your prospect. Challenge yourself to make your healthcare RFPs better—more relatable, more relevant. Every RFP response is your chance to have a genuine conversation and to tell a story.

A response management platform ensures you have your best storytelling moments readily available. Schedule a demo of RFPIO to make a bigger impact on your next healthcare RFP.

5 tactics for developing brand consistency in response management

5 tactics for developing brand consistency in response management

Today’s buyer is very selective when the time comes to purchase a product or service. Buyers not only expect more from brands, they also like to know what to expect. Why is every Target store set up the same? Why does McDonald’s feel familiar no matter what country you’re in? Because those well-known companies have mastered brand consistency.

Organizations that get this know that creating a consistent user experience helps customers and clients easily find what they need. Brand consistency is the foundation for a positive user experience because it delivers a sense of comfort and familiarity. This concept applies to B2C and B2B organizations—small, mid-sized, and enterprise.

Brand consistency is a key factor in the ultimate success of your response management process, whether you are submitting an RFP (request for proposal), SOW (statement of work), security questionnaires or other form of proposals. Let’s dig into several ideas that will help you create a more consistent brand experience throughout the sales process.

Brand consistency techniques for better response management

The average revenue increase attributed to always presenting the brand consistently is 23%. Establishing brand consistency within the response management process allows companies to scale faster.

To build a cohesive brand experience in your response management process, everyone involved in responding to business queries should be aligned by a strategy. Brand consistency is a technique. And like any technique, it takes dedication to master it.

1. Create a messaging framework.

You have a messaging framework for all other marketing content. Your response management process should be treated with the same approach. Often this is not the case, as marketing teams fly into the process much later during review and finalization of the deliverable.

Every marketer should be prepared to put out fires, but that means being prepared well before the fire begins. Proactively create a one-page messaging strategy for each type of business query your team responds to. To serve as a reminder, be sure to include the goal of what your content hopes to achieve at the very top.

2. Optimize your most repetitive responses.

RFP issuers typically ask similar sets of questions, with perhaps a few variations or wild cards along the way. There is no need to create content from scratch every time you respond to a business query. In fact, reinventing the wheel with responses leads to brand consistency challenges.

Repurposing content is perfectly acceptable, assuming you go the extra mile by tailoring the response to address each prospect’s goals and needs. You know the repetitive questions already. Spend time perfecting these responses, so they are optimized and ready to go. And audit this content quarterly, versus setting and forgetting.

“Successful branding yields benefits such as increased customer loyalty, an improved image, and a relatable identity.” – TSL Marketing

3. Standardize information with brand guidelines.

Brand guidelines act as the North Star in standardizing all of your organization’s communication efforts. Yet, typically the response management process tends to go rogue and operate outside these guidelines your marketing team has painstakingly developed.

Contributors from multiple departments respond to questions in an RFP, using their favorite fonts. Headers and lists are mismatched—and you end up with a huge formatting mess. Keep your cool and remember that responders like SMEs and salespeople aren’t nearly as connected to the brand as you are. Make sure responders have a copy of brand guidelines and that they understand how to implement them in everyday situations.

4. Store all content in an accessible location.

Knowledge sharing in our content-driven world is becoming an increasing challenge for organizations. Cloud storage solutions can only do so much. Everyone has their own way of organizing folders and files, leaving a maze of content to navigate.

The best way to create a “grab and go” option with company information is to keep it accessible in one location—preferably an answer library in a response management platform. An answer library stores brand-approved content, allowing responders to quickly hunt down information through searches or filters. And, you get to have a much better handle on brand consistency.

5. Automate your response management process.

Responding to business queries is a notoriously time-consuming activity for you and other contributors. Automating with strong technology really opens the door to a repeatable and scalable process.

A response management platform like RFPIO automates everything, helping teams cut their response time by 40%-50% on average. Even if responders get wildly creative with formatting, you can export into a custom branded template in seconds then perform a quick sweep of the document. Automation frees up your time to produce the highest quality deliverable possible—and, of course—move on to other priorities on your to-do list.

Brand consistency holds a ton of value in steering your approach to response management. How you present these sales documents to a prospect influences whether a potential client becomes your future client…or your competitor’s client.

You already know that people who love your brand then become advocates for your brand. Creating a positive feeling through content that is “on brand” has the power to build relationships and earn trust. It’s time to cultivate a positive brand experience with your response management process too.

Achieving brand consistency is a cinch with RFPIO. Schedule a demo right here and we’ll get you all set up for success.

How to format a proposal

How to format a proposal

In today’s climate of information overload, it’s more important than ever to ensure your message gets across to your reader.

Proposals, and especially RFP responses, are selling documents that are intended to move the customer towards a decision in your favor. You need to use every available technique to ensure your proposal is read and understood, so that the document achieves its mission.

This post does not focus on actual proposal writing techniques. But, it does cover proposal writing formatting, which can significantly contribute to the impact your document makes. Here are some key proposal format techniques you should consider to gain the upper hand over your competitors, win over your reader…and capture more business as a result.

People don’t actually read proposal documents

In 2005, I commissioned a research study with a grad student from the University of Portsmouth in the UK to research and validate proposal document formatting techniques. The goal of the study was to find out what formatting techniques worked and which didn’t when people read and evaluated documents.

One main outcome of the research proved this: People don’t actually read documents in detail…they tend to skim them. So the key points must quite literally catch their eyes as they fly past.

When you realize that skimming is how people will consume your content, you will understand why following these proposal formatting do’s and don’ts can make a big difference.

14 proposal format do’s

Let’s get into some of the do’s of proposal document formatting, so you can make your messaging easier to grasp.

1. DO use serif fonts for paper-based communication.

While you may favor other font styles, consider switching to serif fonts which have been tested and proven as the easiest to read.

2. DO use sans-serif fonts for online communication.

The winner for on-screen readability, sans serif fonts is the best choice for digital content.

3. DO use a double-space between sentences.

Double-spacing makes your proposal document much easier to skim.

4. DO insert paragraphs every 3-5 sentences.

Always break up monolithic blocks of text, since lengthy paragraphs can overwhelm your reader.

5. DO use graphics/images with discretion.

Too many graphics or images make proposal documents look like picture books, and divert emphasis from the text. If you do use images, make sure they have relevance.

6. DO use graphical timelines to illustrate processes.

To bring your process to life within a proposal document, a graphical timeline can really help. Rather than talking about an implementation flow, show it instead.

7. DO use plenty of clear headings.

Use headings and subheadings in fonts of different sizes and colors to demarcate text and paragraphs.

8. DO use a clear table of contents.

A table of contents permits the user to understand the structure of the document and quickly locate the information they need.

9. DO use the client’s name in a 3:1 ratio.

Your client wants to feel that the proposal document is about them, written for them, and focused on their situation. Overuse of your company’s name makes the document appear self-centric. Especially in the executive summary, use the client’s name in a 3:1 ratio vs. your organization’s name.

10. DO learn how to use punctuation correctly.

If you aren’t the best at punctuation, find a reviewer that has a good grasp of grammar rules—especially commas and semicolons. When so used, they serve to insert “mini-pauses” in the document, increasing readability and reading velocity.

11. DO consider using a one-third/two-thirds layout.

Compelling testimonials and key metrics deserve the spotlight. Use a one-third margin layout for important text call-outs (aka “vignettes”) to draw the reader in.

12. DO use consistent formatting.

Many documents, especially those with multiple contributors like RFPs (request for proposals) and SOWs (statements of work), can suffer from abrupt font size or style changes. This is known as the “patchwork quilt” effect, and it does not give a favorable impression.

13. DO use your client’s logo.

Using your client’s logo in headers and footers is a great way to leverage design elements for personalization. A word of caution…use your client’s logo:

  • Only if you have permission to do so.
  • Only if you have ensured you are using the client’s current logo, in accordance with their corporate branding standards.
  • Only if you can have a crisp, non-pixelated high-resolution version.

14. DO use plenty of white space.

A dense, information-packed document can put off your reader. When in doubt, space your content out.

 benchmark-blog-report

The 2021 Benchmark Report: Proposal Management

Learn about the state of proposal management, and see what teams need to do to be successful in 2021

Read the report

12 proposal format don’ts

Now it’s time to explore the don’ts of proposal document formatting. Break these bad habits and you’ll increase the effectiveness of future proposals.

1. DON’T use fully-justified text.

Use justified left, ragged right. Irregular spacing between words slows down reading speed. This isn’t a novel—it’s a skimmable document.

2. DON’T use landscape orientation for text.

The human eye has to sweep too far, again, slowing down reading speed and reducing comprehension.

3. DON’T over-fancify the presentation.

Think very hard about using PowerPoint as a vehicle for written proposals or RFP responses. (This is prolific in consulting and creative agencies). Your stunning document may inadvertently make the evaluator’s job harder.

4. DON’T use twin or multiple columns.

Leave multiple columns to the NY Times. The eye has to perform too many sweeps, resulting in fatigue and loss of concentration.

5. DON’T write long sentences.

Comprehension of text rapidly decreases after 17-20 words, requiring your reader to re-read sentences to understand them. More often than not, they don’t bother to re-read and the information is not fully conveyed.

6. DON’T overuse bullet points.

This is a big one. The ideal number of rows in a bulleted list is three, with a maximum of five on any one page. When you get up to ten or more bullet points, the content tends to be scanned and skipped.

Your reader’s brain considers the list to be unimportant and moves on—exactly the reverse of the intended behavior!

7. DON’T overuse bold, underlining, and italics.

As with bullet points, font altering should happen sparingly to attract the reader’s eye to essential points. When font styles are overused, the reader’s brain dismisses them.

8. DON’T use intermingled red and green text.

In consideration of readers that may have color blindness, avoid getting creative with red and green text. Approximately 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women in the world are color blind, so it’s more common than you think.

9. DON’T use acronyms without defining them.

You may define an acronym early in the document, and consider that to be sufficient. But people often don’t read the whole document. To be safe, define the acronym during the first instance on every page where the acronym is used.

10. DON’T use hyperlinks in paper-based documents.

While hyperlinks can be effective within electronic proposal documents, links spelled out in paper documents only adds to user workload and removes immediacy of information transfer.

11. DON’T use internal references in documents too frequently.

This is where you say “See answer to question #5” when the user is on question #312. Using this technique may seem easier for you when you’re responding to hundreds of RFP questions, but you’re only increasing your reader’s workload and reducing the speed of evaluation.

12. DON’T use low-contrast font colors.

Light grey is the perfect “what not to use” example with fonts. Low-contrast font colors are harder to process, especially for older readers. Also, these fonts do not print or copy well.

When you format for a proposal, remember the goal—the proposal is intended for your prospect, not you. Make your reader’s job as easy as possible by using document formatting techniques that create a skimmable—and pleasant—reading experience.
When you execute well, your reader will pause and hear what you have to say. Then you’re that much closer to gaining the competitive edge you need to win new business.

Formatting any type of business query is easier with our response management platform. Schedule a demo to get started with RFPIO.

Using the RFP process to improve content effectiveness

Using the RFP process to improve content effectiveness

Our latest for The Marketing Scope, by: Ganesh Shankar (RFPIO) and Lori Coffae (SHI, International)

Do you develop content once and then walk away forever? Are your customer needs exactly the same from year to year? In your dreams maybe, but in reality, we all know those are ridiculous questions to even ask. As a marketer, you know your company’s content is never static. It gets developed, reworked, and revised constantly. Content requires attention, consideration and testing. It’s no simple task to stay on top of steady change and making sure that you are improving your content effectiveness as well as keeping sales teams up to date.

For many companies, the intersection where marketing content meets the field organization is the request for proposal, or the RFP. If you work in a company that responds to a large number of RFPs, one surprisingly effective way to curate, manage and share content – one that is often overlooked – is through this very process: the RFP response.

The RFP response process can give marketers a chance to gain valuable feedback from your most important audience – your potential customers – on the impact of the company’s content. Sound like a stretch? Today, proposal managers (professionals who own the RFP response process for a company) gain deep insight into the content that leads someone to action compared with content that doesn’t initiate any type of result. Put simply, marketers can use the RFP process to improve content effectiveness.

Taking advantage

The RFP process can help create cohesion to your content across a variety of elements like voice, message development, and tone. When content is moved to a centralized answer library, you can start to compare and assess content effectiveness based on what really matters – win rates. This assessment is enabled through the use of response management software with an intelligent, centralized answer library. With such a system in place, marketing and sales teams can begin to learn the effectiveness of various messages with different types of customers, helping shape future responses in unexpected ways.

Marketers can use the RFP process to ensure that sales teams are armed with the latest answers – even technical content – reducing the need to call a scarce resource like a technical expert every time.

When integrated into sales tools like Slack or Salesforce, an answer library becomes a single source of truth for responses to customers. Having a repository of content to address specific questions becomes an increasingly valuable asset over time. Instead of having to reinvent the wheel every time your company responds to an RFP or launches a new email marketing campaign, they can go into the content repository to tap into the strength of your most powerful content.

In addition, marketing leaders can cultivate accountability, ownership and responsibility for teams owning the content. Marketers can assign someone on the team to be a reviewer of a particular piece of the content. This way, the rest of the team has visibility into who added or edited the content, changes that were made and when. With a good content library, you’ll see who is working on what content, and you can assign a moderator to ensure facts are facts and company branding is on point.

Take measure

A good first step is to set aside a few hours to review all of the materials in your content library. Why? Because identifying and using your best content will improve your chances of winning RFPs. But for marketers, the key is understanding the nuances of how content resonates with target audiences. A good rule of thumb is to do a content audit at least once a year to keep your content fresh and increase content effectiveness.

Marketing owns a company’s brand and the key messages that can be delivered through a variety of channels including the website, social media, white papers, case studies, YouTube, public relations and email campaigns. Once you have a better idea of which content is valuable, you’ll be in a much better position to update your content library so that everyone in the company is able to provide consistent messages to your audiences.

When you review your content, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the content address your customer’s business challenges?
  • Is the value that your company’s products or services offer coming across clearly?
  • Does the content read well? Does it tell a cohesive story?
  • Is the tone of the content consistent throughout all of your marketing materials?
  • Has the content performed well in RFPs over the past year? How much interest has there been?

Final thoughts: It’s like gardening

As I mentioned in the beginning of the article, content is never static. It requires attention, consideration, and cultivation. It’s like being a gardener where your content answer library acts as your greenhouse, housing your content, keeping it protected from the elements, and providing it a fertile environment in which to grow. By thinking about your precious content like a garden, you’re being sensitive to its environment – what grows in Florida doesn’t work in upstate New York.

While the RFP team may reach out to the leaders of the marketing department to participate in an RFP, marketing executives should also see the opportunity that an RFP presents to fine-tune marketing content and messaging and increase content effectiveness.

RFP Answer Library: 10 Before and After RFP Software Stories

RFP Answer Library: 10 Before and After RFP Software Stories

What do buyers really think of bidding organizations? Well, er…some of the results from this survey weren’t so favorable for RFP responders. At the end of the day, nearly half of these buyers felt that bidders just didn’t do themselves justice in their proposals. However, there is light at the end of your RFP answer library.

With any organizational challenges, identifying the root cause of the issue is the best way to create a long-term solution. Buyers think RFP responses are not up to snuff because—let’s face it—they probably aren’t as amazing as they could be. RFP software gives your team more time to do a better job…your answer library is ultimately the key to your success.

Because you all love seeing real examples in the RFP response world, we combed through tons of RFPIO user reviews to gather and share authentic RFP content management solutions. What follows is a snapshot of RFP responders’ lives, before and after RFP software.

Customer-centric RFP responses increase win rate

Before RFP software

A proposal manager spent most of his time researching multiple documents and resources to eventually produce an “okay” answer. His SMEs were always short on time—they either provided rushed responses or ignored his emails when he needed input. They could never get ahead of the RFP deadline, no matter how many times they repeated the process.

After RFP software

An RFP answer library offered the gift of speed. Centralizing responses and organizing them with tags helped his team respond accurately in a client-focused manner. Instead of spending hours researching and gathering information, he used that extra time to focus on an RFP response strategy. In a short time frame, this organization improved its win rate with customer-centric responses that helped them stand out in a competitive market.

High organizational productivity to process more RFPs

Before RFP software

A director of presales support saw that her entire organization had room for improvement with their process for answering security questionnaires, RFPs, and RFIs. Since everyone was piecing content together in their own silos, her team produced less effective responses as a result. They didn’t accurately track the effort of their work, but they knew their RFP response time could be more efficient with a team solution.

After RFP software

All business units started contributing content to a centralized RFP answer library. She trained employees worldwide to use the application, integrating users from: IT, HR, Legal, Finance, Professional Services, and Education Services. RFx documents became consistent, and she was able to track progress. High productivity helped her team process more RFP projects than before.

Convenience improves RFP response completion time

Before RFP software

A senior solutions engineer typed the same RFP responses over and over again with every new business opportunity. The repetition should have made his job easier. Yet he still had to dig for historical responses to copy and paste them in the RFP. He used multiple computer monitors to find the information he needed as quickly as possible, using the Control+F function.

After RFP software

No more Control+F! With a searchable RFP answer library, he easily pulled information from a single source. Since he no longer depended on extra monitors to complete RFPs, he took advantage of working remotely— at home, or when he had downtime at the airport. This convenience made it easier for him to complete RFP responses on his preferred schedule to meet the deadline.

Time to tailor RFP responses for a stronger deliverable

Before RFP software

A business analyst identified key issues that could only be solved by an investment in an RFP content management solution. RFPs consumed too many resources and took too long. It finally got to a point where SMEs (subject matter experts) didn’t want to contribute, because they answered repetitive questions constantly.

After RFP software

An RFP answer library was the missing ingredient all along. Auto-response filled in repetitive questions with historic RFP responses for him upfront, lightening the workload for busy SMEs. Rather than starting from scratch each time, answer recommendations provided relevant content and SMEs only had to perform a quick review for accuracy. This saved hours for everyone, which they reallocated to tailor content for a stronger RFP deliverable.

An RFP answer library breaks down information silos

Before RFP software

A senior sales engineer saw that his team continually came up with workarounds to manage RFP and sales content. Information silos were prevalent across the organization, and it was slowing down their entire sales process.

After RFP software

His team quickly realized the functional opportunities with their new RFP answer library. IT team members loved how much time they saved just by looking up previous RFP responses. An added bonus they discovered was using the content library to store all internal FAQs, giving every team member one access point for company information whenever they needed it.

Approved content in an accessible RFP answer library

Before RFP software

A proposal manager felt that the quality of her organization’s RFP response content wasn’t up to par. She did her best to organize RFP responses in a series of Word docs and spreadsheets. She kept up with a spreadsheet of approved responses, but team members continued copying and pasting from various RFPs, resulting in copying and pasting errors and inconsistencies.

After RFP software

The RFP answer library and section templates allowed her team to save questions and blocks of boilerplate text. Managing and auditing RFP content was easier, so she was able to make approved content easily accessible for her team. Compared to copying and pasting, searching for the best response became a fast and intuitive practice for everyone.

Better RFP responses and better sleep patterns

Before RFP Software

A senior solutions executive realized tracking down past responses in his labyrinth of Google Drive folders took several hours for every RFP. He always questioned his selections, wondering if what he did find was the best possible response—or if the better option was buried deep in another folder. Unable to handle his workload during business hours, he worked late at night to submit RFPs at the eleventh hour.

After RFP Software

He fundamentally changed the way his team managed RFPs with an answer library. No longer did he burden valuable internal resources with repetitive questions. By leveraging the tagging and star system, his team felt more confident about their choices. He used search functionality to find answers in seconds instead of hours. Since he didn’t have to work late anymore on RFPs, overall he felt more rested and productive.

Cost savings on RFP response team resources

Before RFP software

A senior proposal manager recognized the rising internal resource costs of their RFP response process. On average, this organization responded to 2-4 RFPs per month and spent about 80-100 hours researching and answering highly technical questions. With employee hourly rates ranging from $25 to $50 per hour, resource budgets were out of control.

After RFP software

The cost savings on resource hours far outweighed the cost of the RFP software he purchased. When responding to imported RFP questions, answer recommendations automatically populated the best-fit response directly from the answer library. Typing in one or two keywords into the search bar produced accurate results. Resource costs decreased exponentially, freeing up the budget for his other business initiatives.

Complete control over the RFP response process

Before RFP software

A strategic sales support manager did not have a formal RFP response process or an RFP content management tool at her organization. She tried using other content management systems to organize their Q&A pairs but often ended up with duplicate answers. It was difficult to repurpose variations on the same RFP responses, so her team ended up customizing the answer every time.

After RFP software

A smarter approach to RFP content management brought immediate time-savings benefits to her RFP response team. She added alternate questions and answers with customized names (short response, excel response, division-specific response, etc.) She gained complete control over their RFP content and she felt new responses were stronger than in previous RFPs.

Winning more deals with quality RFP responses

Before RFP software

An enterprise account executive responded to many RFPs, RFIs, and VSQs. It was the nature of their business, and his team worked hard to meet short turnaround times in the hopes of gaining new business. Since numerous departments were involved in RFP responses, they couldn’t respond to as many opportunities and they weren’t reaching their sales goals.

After RFP software

A new ability to collaborate in real-time reduced turnaround on these RFP requests. The answer library stored typical Q&A pairs that could be added and customized in a few minutes. This improved process allowed his team to take on more RFPs than before. Responding faster—with more consistent RFP responses—helped them win more deals at a higher rate.

Rushing an RFP out the door doesn’t exactly leave much time for fine-tuning the deliverable with a strategic mindset. The good news is that we can positively shift the buyer’s perspective if we improve the way we manage our RFP content library. That means saying goodbye to your labyrinth of Google drive folders and being more methodical with RFP software.

Join thousands of other RFPIO users to become our next before and after RFP software success story. Schedule a demo of RFPIO to manage your RFP content like a pro.

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