When customers start using RFPIO’s RFP automation capabilities, most of them quickly expand response management to their overall sales intelligence program. They enable sales teams to generate personalized sales documents and proposals on a self-service basis. With easy access to a robust content library, sales representatives can (relatively) easily piece together pre-approved, pre-vetted content to create proactive selling documents.
In the spirit of transparency, we happened upon these added benefits somewhat by accident. We actually learned about them from our first enterprise customers, who had thousands of projects running in RFPIO. Upon evaluation of all the content they had accumulated in their Answer Libraries, they asked a seemingly simple question: With all this great content in RFPIO, how else can we use it?
Ever since, we’ve been fine-tuning features so that RFP automation software adds more value to the greater sales intelligence program for customers of all sizes.
How your sales representatives respond matters. For more conversions at higher price points, they need to respond quickly, with a personalized touch, and they need to do it efficiently so they spend more time on revenue-generating activities.
According to Forrester, there are three key elements to sales intelligence.
- Operational Intelligence: “What is happening and what has happened.” In other words, these are the KPIs that guide day-to-day activities (e.g., number of calls, proposals delivered, pipeline-to-quota coverage ratios, average deal size, etc.).
- Diagnostic Intelligence: Analyze the KPIs established in operational intelligence to gain a meaningful view of data and identify trends that may determine future performance.
- Interpretive Sales Intelligence: Use operational and diagnostic intelligence to guide and support revenue generation throughout the organization, from optimizing responses to prospects and customers to structuring compensation plans.
Based on this definition, RFP automation software can have a significant impact on sales intelligence. Here’s why.
Without data, nothing is driving your sales intelligence
Sales intelligence is all about identifying buyer signals and nailing the timing. Sounds simple, right? It’s not. Depending on your product or service and your market, the amount of analysis that goes into signal identification could range from hours to months, or even years.
Sales is like the rest of the intelligences that are all the rage right now. Artificial, business, military (I may be dating myself with this allusion, but I always think of Robin Williams in Good Morning Vietnam when I hear “military intelligence”), you name it, if it’s intelligent, then it depends on data. Similarly, sales intelligence relies heavily on data collection, management, and insight.
Your CRM is the central nervous system of your sales intelligence. Let me throw some borrowed knowledge at you (source).
- CRM is among the top three tools and technologies for creating personalized interactions with customers to foster loyalty and better marketing ROI. (Salesforce, 2017)
- 73% of marketers with a CRM system use it for a shared customer view between their service and sales teams. (Salesforce, 2017)
- High performers are happier with the level of collaboration between their marketing team and other departments and they’re also three times more likely than underperformers to extensively use CRM tools. (Salesforce, 2017)
Much of the client, opportunity, and product data that can be leveraged to personalize proposals already exists in CRMs. By integrating RFPIO and CRMs like Salesforce, sales reps can now generate personalized selling materials without leaving their CRM. RFPIO can link CRM data from client, industry, job title, product information, and opportunity fields to dynamic proposal templates that allow sales reps to hyper-efficiently generate proactive proposals.
A real-world use case is:
- Sales rep Alpha finishes their first phone call with a prospect. They enter what they’ve learned about the prospect, such as product interests or points of contact. These fields will be used to swap out the dynamic templates when the proposal is generated.
- The prospect has asked Alpha to send a solutions brochure to learn more about Alpha’s company and solutions. The sales rep will click on “create proposal” to get started.
- Alpha navigates their CRM (e.g., Salesforce) interface to select “Create Proposal in RFPIO” from a list of available document templates (NOTE: You’ll need to set up the document templates ahead of time, but once you do so, it’s just a matter of plug-and-play content!).
- Alpha completes the proposal builder without leaving the CRM to add content relevant to this particular prospect and include personalization variables. These can include contact fields such as name and title, relevant quotes and testimonials from companies in their industry, the specific solutions and prices that the prospect needs, implementation team, timeline, etc.
- Alpha clicks the “Generate” button.
- Voila! Alpha has a personalized, on-demand proposal to share, which will be much more effective than a boilerplate email or generic brochure. The generated proposal is then automatically published to the Salesforce page from which it was created. Now, it’s ready for the sales rep to download or share as needed.
Sales intelligence with RFP software integrated into your CRM enables more informed selling, allowing you to take advantage of the personas you’ve been developing and the hard-fought information you’ve been gathering on your prospects and customers.
5 sales intelligence advantages of RFP automation software
Let’s say you’ve integrated RFP software into your CRM. What benefits can you expect?
- Keep sales reps focused on selling: Are your salespeople spending less than 36% of their time selling? Sales VPs and directors want reps living in the CRM, focused on revenue-generating activities. By providing access to RFP content and automating its generation from the CRM, reps spend less time chasing down content or composing proposals.
- Gain leverage from content analytics: Track the content that’s being consumed, by whom, and how it’s being shared. Identify the most common and popular content to help inform future content development. Analyze trending queries, both internally and externally.
- Strengthen your account-based selling strategy: Make it easier for your sales team to collaborate on developing multiple contacts and relationships within a single account. Content analytics helps you track the buying signals throughout different levels of your most complex accounts.
- Personalize every response: With the data stored in your CRM combined with the high-quality content stored in RFPIO, proposal managers, marketing teams, or sales teams can create pre-approved content blocks that sales teams can piece together to create proactive selling documents. What would it mean to your team to send professional, personalized proposals with every response?
- Take a big lift off of proposal and marketing teams: No more one-off requests for content or proposal support from sales reps because they’ll be able to do it themselves. For example, Microsoft estimates that its RFPIO Answer Library saves up to 5,000 hours per year.
A rising tide lifts all boats
Advanced sales intelligence will also contribute to greater success with RFP responses. For proposal managers, customer data points from the CRM will help automate the completion of a proposal and inform bid decisions.
Natural language processing and analytics will help decipher what kinds of questions will be asked in an RFP. RFPIO can estimate what type of proposal to expect, compare it to past RFP responses from similar client profiles, and analyze how you performed in the past to determine your likelihood of success and how long it will take to complete. The proposal manager can also estimate resources and identify contributors that will need to be allocated in order to win the RFP and determine if it’s worth it to the organization to proceed.
What’s it gonna take?
We’ll need to connect the systems, so there is some administrative setup. However, we’ve already synced up with multiple CRMs, so we know what to expect.
Schedule a demo today, and we can discuss whether it makes sense for you to integrate your CRM with RFPIO RFP automation software.