Like many of you, I have spent countless hours working with RFPs, and I have experienced the pain and frustration that come with the RFP response process. Every day I seemed to be living and breathing inefficiency, something I certainly didn’t remember in my job description.
As a product manager, I was spending nearly 30 percent of my time just responding to RFPs—and often there were many redundancies. Manually checking progress, updating my team and managing deadlines, consumed hours of time and created unnecessary frustration. It goes without saying that it really impacted my ability to focus on my primary responsibilities.
But as we all know, RFPs are a fact of life. Instead of focusing on the hardships of the process, we can find ways to improve it.
Technology Improves the RFP Response Process
Streamlining the RFP response process is one way we can win back time and dignity—not to mention saving on cost. Being up against close rates of less than 5% for RFP responses can be daunting, but the right technology and RFP response process can make all the difference.
RFP automation is causing a wonderful shift, helping RFP responders become more efficient with their time so they can focus on what matters the most…close rates that create a positive impact on revenue.
Technologies that exist today help minimize risk in everything we do, but first we have to embrace a mindset switch to utilize technology to improve processes like RFPs.
RFP Automation is Causing an Important Shift
In the late 2000s marketing automation caused an important shift in email marketing, changing the ability for marketers to become more efficient, reach a broader audience, and make a positive impact on revenue. According to a study by the Lenskold and Pedowitz Groups, 78% of successful marketers cited marketing automation systems as most responsible for improving revenue contribution.
The same effectiveness is possible with automating the RFP process. It’s a collective effort to respond to an RFP, with involvement from multiple departments that might include: sales, marketing, legal, finance, and technology. Often there is a proposal manager manning these projects to keep the various moving parts on track.
The financial impact with RFPs is a very real thing. Every year companies spend thousands of hours on manual processes that waste precious time and resources.
A prospective customer shared they were spending up to $40k per month manually processing an average of 15 RFPs. Automating the process cut the time spent on each proposal, saving them 20% of this cost, allowing them to increase their response volume while simultaneously creating a much happier team.
Nobody wants to think about losing $8k a month, and in the bigger picture that is a modest assumption. If you take a deeper look at how many RFPs you aren’t submitting because you don’t want to deal with the inefficient process, you’re losing even more.
Finding Better Solutions for RFP Management
When we set out to find a better solution for RFP management, over and over we heard that people wanted a tool that would help them improve collaboration and automate workflows.
There were RFP management tools that existed, but they weren’t easy to use. They also didn’t have the ability to interact with people in real-time or integrate with common sales tools, such as Salesforce. In an effort to solve the pain we were feeling ourselves, we started RFPIO.
Our integration keeps salespeople in the tool they work in regularly, and cuts out the need for another place they need to frequent to get information and communicate internally.
Integrating with Slack is one of the best ways to help teams quickly collaborate with each other. Nobody wants another email to keep up with, and having messages stacking up in yet another inbox inside of an RFP management tool can be equally frustrating.
I know there are many of us with RFP headache stories we can share. It all comes down to finding a tool that works for your business to help streamline the process, so you can refocus your energy.
Together, let’s solve the problem with solutions that will better our lives and our success rate as RFP responders.