57% of proposal managers share the same goal…improving the proposal management process to save time.
In the financial services industry, proposal management is still paper-based for many organizations. With digital transformation happening all around us, the opportunity to advance your RFP response process has never been higher.
Chip Kispert is an experienced consultant who has dedicated over 20 years to analyzing and improving the financial institution marketplace. He is the Founder and Managing Partner of Beacon Strategies, a premier consulting firm serving broker-dealers, asset managers, and supporting vendors since 2006.
Before you respond to your next round of financial services RFPs, read these insider tips to understand the nuances of your industry and discover new ways to save time through an effective process.
RFP financial services insider tips to practice
1. Take care of your RFP Content Library
One of the biggest challenges for our broker-dealers is taking care of their data. Keep your data organized, so you get to a point where you can compare that data and make it stronger. As a proposal manager, your RFP Content Library is a prime opportunity. This content is some of your most valuable data.
2. Structure RFPs from a quantitative standpoint
Have an answer set that is quantitative, rather than qualitative. Of course, qualitative is important for supplying additional concepts and context, but structuring your RFPs from a quantitative standpoint gives you something to measure. And you measure it with ease if you have an organized platform like RFP software to do the work for you.
3. Turn to the subject matter experts for guidance
Being the lead of your organization’s financial services RFP responses might be a new process for you. RFPs are complex in your industry, with questions about information security and GDPR becoming increasingly common in the vendor selection process. Always engage subject matter experts (SMEs) to get the most accurate response.
4. Have discussions about sales opportunities
Over the years you’ve seen a lot of RFPs that have been won because of the relationship. The relationship is important. But sometimes down the road, key pieces of the puzzle pop up and cause issues. It’s important to get all those elephants in the room during the sales process. Work together on organizational improvement by having open discussions.
5. Embrace RFP digital transformation
The first iPhone was released twelve years ago—look at the digital transformation you experienced with this tool since then. Digital transformation supplies the ability to repeat a process. When you embrace digital transformation with RFPs, you gain a sustainable RFP response process and become more effective and efficient.
6. Support digital transformation with RFP software
In our experience, very few Finserv organizations are using RFP software today. RFP software lets you use technology to adapt to the plug-and-play environment we live in. You quickly select a pre-packaged RFI (request for information) response that you can build upon. At the end of the day, RFP software supports your digital transformation.
7. Develop a data-driven RFP response process
Having a consistent RFP response process is key for your entire proposal management team. You also want your data to have quantitative packaging, with supporting qualitative explanations. A modern-day RFP process blends the quantitative with the qualitative to appeal to multiple personas inside and outside your financial services organization.
8. Gamify the RFP experience
When conveying your quantitative data in a financial services RFP, gamify the experience for your prospect. Give them results and trends shown in graphs and quadrants. Not only do proposal graphics break up your content, but they also present information visually to make a bigger impact.
9. Summarize content for decision-makers
Executives and decision-makers don’t have time to review 82 documents. Make it easy for them to choose you during the vendor selection process. Quantify and summarize at every turn. Be concise with your RFP responses and include data that is highly relevant to your prospect.
10. Take a look at what you’re trying to accomplish
Just because you’ve always done something a certain way, doesn’t mean it’s the right way to do it tomorrow. What are you trying to accomplish? What resources do you need to deploy? If there is an option to minimize resources you have to expend, take it—especially if it gives you a quantitative perspective, one that measures in addition to supporting context.