Deciding you want to make a purchase and then actually executing on that purchase doesn’t always happen in quick succession. For example, we don’t often have much time to think about options when it comes to replacing a flat tire, but looking for a brand new car involves research and contemplation.
Vendor selection in the business to business world is no different. Sometimes you have to make decisions without much lead time, in order to solve a problem. But if you’re able to look ahead, the best practice is to go at it with a plan.
The team at Routematch took a proactive approach to optimizing their RFP process by looking for an automation solution. They came up with carefully thought-out requirements and embarked on a journey to find the RFP software that would most closely line up with those needs.
We sat down with their Communication and Learning Specialist, Alexei Budsan, to talk about the positive results of Routematch’s strategic vendor selection process.
“I’m glad that I knew what I was looking for in RFP software before I sought it out. When I looked at the available options, it was clear that RFPIO was ahead of the curve. It really was a no-brainer.” – Alexei Budsan
Looking for a Better Solution
What does Routematch do, and what is your role at the company?
Routematch is a software company based in Atlanta, Georgia that enables connectivity in modern transportation. We provide the backend services for logistics of fixed route and on-demand transportation services. Cities and other regions come to us looking for ways to optimize routes to be inclusive to all members of their communities.
I’ve worn many hats at Routematch. I started as an instructional designer, providing education and structure training for those that went on the road. Then I spent time developing software documentation and eventually moved into sales and marketing, where I am now. That’s where the RFPs come in.
What’s been your involvement in the RFP process?
We wanted to be creative about our approach to responding to RFPs, and that meant looking for an automation solution. A couple problems we faced were dated content and inconsistent formatting.
So we looked at a few RFP software companies. I came across RFPIO, which had a profound difference in the marketplace. It matched up with our needs—you can keep your content fresh and the easy import and templated export take care of the formatting issue.
I’m glad that I knew what I was looking for in RFP software before I sought it out. When I looked at the available options, it was clear that RFPIO was ahead of the curve. It really was a no-brainer.
Determining Vendor Requirements
What else were you looking for with RFP software?
We did a lot of research and put together an entire matrix of capabilities and features that were important to us. RFPIO’s automation software hit every mark.
It’s a pretty long list, but a few important things were an easy to update content library, the ability to send reminders to collaborators and track changes, and a dashboard view. The integration with Salesforce and single sign on were also critical to our choice.
And, of course, the price had to be reasonable. With every one of those specifications and more, RFPIO came ahead.
What’s your advice for someone who’s looking for an automated RFP response solution?
I’d suggest getting as much buy-in from the people who are part of the RFP response process. You need some early, enthusiastic adopters in your organization to evangelize the system’s benefits and teach others how to use it.
“We can literally take an RFP at the beginning of the day—I’ve done this before—and have it printed and shipped by the end of the day.” – Alexei Budsan
Improving Processes and Seeing Results
How many RFPs do you think you’re answering in a month, and what are the kinds of organizations that you work with?
Typically we go through at least one or two RFPs a week, but it can be more depending on workflow or season. We serve cities, states, townships (like in Australia) and other regional areas.
Since you deployed RFPIO, how have things changed?
Just like anything else it takes some time for folks to get used to change. But everyone has really jumped on board.
We can literally take an RFP at the beginning of the day—I’ve done this before—and have it printed and shipped by the end of the day. And it looks polished. It’s not necessarily ideal, but it’s a benefit to the speed of the system.
It saves us time by streamlining the process. Now we have the right people on each project and they’re notified when necessary. The system almost runs itself.
It sounds like one of your main takeaways from the software is the focus on content?
Absolutely—it’s key to RFP success. We try to make sure that our content is always maintained, but it evolves, sometimes overnight. We are being more proactive now about tagging content appropriately too, so it’s easy to find and stays relevant. The auto-suggestion capabilities in the recommendation engine are a game-changer.
How has RFPIO made your job easier?
I worry a lot less about how the document will look once it’s gone through so many style changes and versions. With the template capability, I know that we’ll have consistency when it’s exported.
Did you know? People board public transportation 35 million times each weekday. – American Public Transportation Association
Achieving the Ultimate Goal
Anything you’d want people to know about Routematch?
We want to champion mobility, and be inclusive of all riders in the communities we serve. We’re striving for equality in the ways of getting here and there, and we encourage the use of public transportation systems as much as possible.
Alexei is a native of St. Thomas in the United States Virgin Islands. He’s lived Atlanta for several years, after graduating from the University of Phoenix with a Master’s in Technology Management. Before working for Routematch, a leader in Intelligent Transportation System software, Alexei worked for a shipping logistics provider as an instructional designer, and an internet service provider as a global trainer. Alexei joined Routematch 5 years ago and has coordinated training and software documentation. Most recently, he joined the sales department to manage proposals and coordinate sales conferences throughout the US.