Managing your content more effectively has the power to improve your whole RFP response strategy. Bold statement, right?
Well, we say this with confidence because we’ve seen both sides—when organizations do content management well, and when they have a little room for improvement. Depending which side of the spectrum an organization falls on, there is a noticeable impact on productivity.
It turns out content management isn’t reserved for marketers. Proposal managers can apply their own set of best practices to the RFP response process to achieve greater efficiency and revenue.
Unlike marketers, we proposal professionals don’t have millions of resources to help steer us in the right direction. So, what exactly does good content management look like in the RFP world? It’s a trifecta of: resources, data, and process.
Let’s dig into a few tips on getting ahead of your RFP content management game so you can get organized and increase productivity.
Why RFP Content Management is Incredibly Important
Good RFP content management means preparing the best version of your content alongside internal process to accelerate RFP response success. Responses are groomed in such a way that the content is compelling and fresh. Content is also organized, so you can respond to an RFP or RFI quickly and accurately.
By organizing and properly maintaining RFP content, you can:
- Build confidence in your response process.
- Gain the advantage when you’re under the gun.
- Save time so you can get back to what you do best.
The ultimate result of good RFP content management? Winning new business. That’s why we’re all here responding to RFPs in the first place anyway.
The trick is to improve internal processes continually as an organization. That starts with investigating the RFP content management efforts you have in place today.
RFP Content Tip #1: Gather Resources
A successful RFP content management strategy begins with allocating the right resources. Misalignment is common within organizations, since responders tend to ramp up too quickly with a new tool like RFP software and dive right into the next project without a strategy.
Dedicate some time to discussing the overall content strategy with your team. If you’re using a proposal 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 process.
Every team is unique and every instance is unique. 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.
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, versus going down a rabbit hole to find the information.
RFP Content Tip #2: Organize Your Data
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.
“82% feel more positive about a company after reading custom content.” – Demand Metric
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.
Tags make searching easier for your team to access the right information. Like project names, tagging content is also personal to each company and the same rules apply. Tagging responses by industry is a favorite for sales teams, since they can find specific content for the targeted industry they are working with.
Last but not least, star rating is a great feature within a tool like RFPIO to help 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.
RFP Content Tip #3: Develop a Process
Keep your content fresh and clean by establishing regular review cycles. Again, every organization is unique, but we recommend quarterly reviews of your answer library.
If your answers live in a spreadsheet, you can still be diligent about this review process as long as you refer back to Tip #1 and have the right resources managing your content.
For those with RFP software, you can typically use the default review cycle functionality to stay on top of your review cycles. Customized reviews are another option, and this is best for responses covering pricing or specs that need to be updated more frequently.
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, when the proposal lead 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 RFPIO is very intuitive and doesn’t require special training, there’s still something to be said about having everyone on the same page.
I recently attended one of our client’s trainings and was blown away by their amazing training process. Their review cycle training was a 15-minute session that included the entire sales team and they went over everything from expectations to tagging. As you can see, trainings can be quick and effective. And coaching up your team is definitely worth it in the long run.
If my high school basketball coach was sitting here today, he would say: “It’s all about the little things.” The details are what make a team successful—the same thing applies to RFP content management for response teams.
Looking at our content processes may not seem earth-shattering. But when you take a deeper look, you’ll notice ways your team can work more effectively together. If you skip this investigation, you are missing out on opportunities for improvement.
Optimize your content strategy for RFP responses and see where it takes your team. Our guess is that you’ll end up going one direction…up.