When we think of the sharing economy, we might think of companies who have popularized that concept, like Uber and AirBnB. But it also means the sharing of information, the knowledge that is passed along for the greater benefit of a community or organization.
We don’t live in a time where one person holds the keys to the castle, nor should we. In fact, with RFP response…one person holding the keys to the castle can be a point of weakness for companies. Information silos will only cause inefficiencies that spread through your organization, while greater accessibility to information promotes unity and growth.
Ready to improve your approach to RFP response? Here’s how you can overcome information silos by embracing the sharing economy with your RFP process.
Information silos disrupt your RFP response flow
Productivity for any RFP response team is strongly linked to having access to the organization’s collective knowledge base. Since RFP response requires strong collaboration between team members, the information passes through many people in various fashions.
RFP response is a cross-departmental effort. Information can flow well within certain departments but not be shared openly with others. When a restriction of information disrupts the flow for RFP collaboration, these silos will hold your team back from achieving their best work together.
“Sales reps average about 43 hours a month searching for information or content.” – Aberdeen
In addition, the expertise necessary to respond to an RFP often lives not in a shared folder but inside the mind of an SME (Subject Matter Expert). An SME can have technical prowess that nobody else in your company can begin to understand. And, it’s the job of the proposal manager to capture that information accurately, then translate it into a compelling response for the decision-maker who will eventually read it.
But, what if that SME leaves? So, does their expertise.
This is where having a centralized repository for RFP responses comes in handy. No matter what changes at an organization—be it an important role or product overhaul—the information will be safe and sound…and easily accessible when the next RFP arrives.
Wrangling your RFP responses into an answer library
Foundational knowledge about an organization’s products and services will end up in a variety of documents, from visual slide decks to data-heavy spreadsheets. They will be stored on shared drives and folders. Some can find these fairly easily, while other team members feel they are on a quest to find this information.
On top of that, information between people is naturally exchanged through conversations, like chats and emails. This knowledge is the most elusive, as it’s not even accessible to others in the organization when it’s stored in individual chat and email history.
Having a centralized knowledge repository like an answer library will help tremendously. This way the proposal manager doesn’t become a full-time RFP response wrangler on top of their other responsibilities. This also promotes the idea of a sharing economy with your RFP process, allowing your entire organization to have access to important company information.
The information hunt is tough for any busy team. Whether it’s information needed for an important sales call or RFP response, this type of knowledge base will save your team time so they can focus on performance and growth.
RFP software takes knowledge sharing a big step further
It’s a step in the right direction to have a dedicated knowledge repository. But the ongoing maintenance and quality control when a manual effort is involved comes with challenges.
Busy teams simply won’t have time to keep up with spreadsheets, so the content in the repository won’t be the most current information. Unfortunately, stale content will not do you any favors when you’re trying to land new business with a shining RFP response.
Here are a few questions you used to ask that you won’t have to worry about with RFP software:
- Repetitive requests to SMEs? That’s no longer necessary when you have an intelligent way to store your RFP responses. You can easily search to find the best response from your existing library, then you can assign the SME to review the content for accuracy.
- Lacking effective communication? Having the ability to @-mention users and using communication integrations like Slack keep the conversations tied directly to the RFP response project. And this is much quicker than email.
- Missing the most updated information? You won’t have to rely on your team to constantly update the answer library. Even better, you can schedule content audits, which send reminders to help you keep your knowledge base in great shape.
When you’re using RFP software, your answer library is on a whole other level. It serves as a gathering point for all of the content in your organization, so it’s both easy and quick to access for any team member.
It’s time to embrace the sharing economy with our RFP response process. That starts with taking a good look at the manual ways we are practicing today to collaborate on RFPs.
There’s no need for anyone to feel like a bottleneck when it’s time to meet a tight RFP deadline. And, there’s no need for anyone to feel left in the dark by not having access to company information.
With a renewed commitment to our approach, we can overcome information silos to work more effectively and reach greater heights.