GEODIS is a leading global supply chain company, providing third-party logistics services to more than 150,000 clients in 168 countries around the world. Responding to Requests for Proposal (RFPs) is central to GEODIS business development, and is the main channel through which it attracts new clients, expands service offerings, and increases revenue.
GEODIS Americas maintains an in-depth RFPIO Content Library consisting of more than 2,000 Q&A pairs that proposal professionals use to respond to RFPs. In 2022, GEODIS Americas began an update project to refresh and consolidate information within the Content Library. The aim of this Content Library refresh project is to:
- Reduce the effort required from GEODIS Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to review and update Q&A pairs.
- Ensure that the information contained in Q&A pairs is consistent, accurate, and up-to-date.
- Win GEODIS more business through responding to RFPs with high-quality, comprehensive answers.
GEODIS Americas maintains its Content Library within the RFPIO response management tool. RFPIO has been central to the Content Library refresh project, and provides essential features and capabilities for finding information, updating answers, interacting with SMEs, and strengthening Q&A quality.
GEODIS has managed the Content Library refresh through six key steps.
1. Understand the need for a Content Library refresh
The GEODIS Content Library has become unwieldy over time. This is a natural result of incorporating information from diverse sources into a central repository. As multiple GEODIS SMEs write and respond to RFPs, their answers are copied into the Content Library to preserve their work and provide information for future responses.
This creates duplication in Q&A pairs. As SMEs create multiple responses on similar topics over a period of time, the Content Library captures each response as a separate Q&A pair, even if the answers are similar or identical. SMEs must regularly review every answer as part of an ongoing update process, including duplicates. Reducing duplication within the Content Library significantly reduces the associated SME’s time and effort.
The duplicate question overhead also exists for GEODIS proposal preparers who must decide on which of a number of possible Q&A responses is the “best” answer.
Multiple authors cause issues with the consistency and clarity of information in GEODIS Q&A pairs. Variations in writing style, depth of content, and other areas create differences in the style and tone of answers, which could be distracting when combined together into an RFP response document. This generates more rework to finesse final response documents before sending them to prospective clients.
These factors drove the need for the GEODIS Content Library refresh. GEODIS and RFPIO believe this is an excellent opportunity to use RFPIO features to find duplicates, engage with SMEs, rewrite content, and ensure consistency.
2. Use a strategic approach for a Content Library refresh
GEODIS decided to tackle the Content Library refresh as a self-contained, separate initiative to its operational proposal response work. The marketing team hired a consultant copywriter and project manager who could dedicate time and effort to lead the refresh project and work alongside the operational team.
The consultant reviewed the Content Library, using several RFPIO tool features to understand the scope and structure of GEODIS Q&A pairs:
- The Answer Library Report for information on total questions, Q&A pair owners, review timelines, keywords, and other details.
- Other RFPIO reports, including duplicate content, content search terms, and content usage reports.
- Q&A tags for details of how each Q&A pair was categorized and to understand how tags could be rationalized for better future Q&A management.
- Advanced and saved searches for filtering and drilling down into specific Q&A pairs.
This analysis led to a phased approach for the Content Library refresh, updating and consolidating individual Q&A pairs depending on how they were tagged in RFPIO. The consultant developed a project plan, style guide, SME communications, and a standard operating process for updating the Content Library.
“The GEODIS Content Library refresh would have been much more difficult and time-consuming without the RFPIO tool. RFPIO features have made it much faster and easier for us to identify duplicate content and develop a strong approach to enhance the Content Library.”
—Paul Maplesden, Consultant and Project Lead, GEODIS Content Library Refresh
3. Get SMEs and stakeholders on board
Refreshing the GEODIS Content library requires buy-in and support from SMEs and other stakeholders, as clear and effective communications are essential to a successful project. GEODIS decided on a multi-step approach to managing communications:
- Sending out communications about the project scope and aims to manage expectations and prepare all SMEs and stakeholders within GEODIS Americas.
- Targeting individual SMEs related to specific Q&A pair refreshes.
- Using built-in RFPIO communication tools to provide updates, direction, and ownership for individual Q&A pairs.
GEODIS developed communications explaining the aims of the Content Library refresh, particularly reducing the time and effort required from SMEs through removing duplicate questions. In addition to emailing these communications, GEODIS took advantage of several RFPIO SME engagement features, including:
- Investigating each Q&A pair impacted by that phase of the refresh, and emailing the owners and moderators of that pair as captured in RFPIO.
- Using RFPIO comment and mention functions for each pair to keep everyone updated on its status.
- Analyzing SME review cycles for each updated Q&A pair to ensure it meets company and SME needs.
This approach ensured that all SMEs knew when their Q&A pairs were being consolidated and rewritten, and let them know exactly what actions they needed to take. The consultant leading the project also provided regular weekly updates to the proposal team and marketing director to keep them informed on project progress.
4. Establish a repeatable process for updating Q&A pairs
GEODIS developed a step-by-step, repeatable process to ensure a consistent approach to consolidating and rewriting each Q&A pair. The key steps of this process are:
- Establish which areas of the Content Library refresh this phase should focus on. Prioritize key lines of business during a proof of concept to validate the process and secure stakeholder buy-in.
- Identify duplicate Q&A pairs for this phase, together with the relevant SMEs.
- Consolidate and rewrite information from multiple duplicate answers into a master answer.
- Archive old, duplicated questions out of the active Content Library.
- Promote and link together master answers.
GEODIS found the following RFPIO features particularly useful in developing a standard process:
- Running duplicate content reports for an overview of identical questions and answers.
- Reviewing content usage statistics to identify the most popular content and possible master answers.
- Adding Q&A tags to mark and identify specific Q&A pairs for archival or promotion to master answers.
- Carrying out phrase, advanced, and saved search queries to search and filter by multiple criteria.
- Establishing URL links for each Q&A pair for definitive identification and tracking.
During the development of this repeatable process, GEODIS worked with RFPIO Customer Success to ensure that the process was following best practices. RFPIO offered multiple suggestions to enhance the process and to take full advantage of the platform’s tools.
“Responding to RFPs in a consistent, accurate, and comprehensive way is central to winning more business. The RFPIO tool, coupled with the Content Library refresh project, supports our growth ambitions.”
—Michelle Johnson, VP of Growth Marketing, GEODIS Americas
5. Carry out the Content Library refresh
The refresh project uses several techniques and approaches to review and then remove, update, or consolidate each Q&A pair within the library as part of a phased approach.
Identify all Q&A pairs related to the specific topics in each phase
Q&A pairs were reviewed and updated by area, as captured in RFPIO. These pairs were identified and analyzed through:
- Tags assigned to each Q&A pair within RFPIO.
- Advanced searches, filtering, and sorting within RFPIO.
- Titles and content of each question and answer.
- Owners and SMEs for each Q&A pair.
Update communications were sent to all relevant SMEs and stakeholders through this process.
Decide on removal, update, or consolidation of each Q&A pair
Once all Q&A pairs were identified for a specific topic, the project management lead consolidated answer information from each Q&A pair into a master document. This master document was updated based on several best practices:
- Consolidates information from several duplicated or substantially similar Q&A pairs into one “master” Q&A pair.
- Rewrites answers to ensure a consistent approach, style, and tone both within and across Q&A pairs.
- Ensures that master answers comprehensively capture all of the relevant information from the original Q&A pairs.
- Updates information back into RFPIO and marks that Q&A pair as a “master answer,” using tagging and titles.
- Removes any related Q&A pairs so that only the master Q&A pair remains.
Use RFPIO tools to manage the consolidation, archival, and promotion of Q&A pairs
GEODIS used several RFPIO tools to manage Q&A updates:
- Tagging Q&A pairs for promotion to master answers or for removal and to ensure correct and consistent tag usage for master Q&A pairs.
- Archiving of duplicate or similar Q&A pairs into an archive collection to remove Q&A pairs from the active library while preserving them for historic reference purposes.
- Updating the “Alert Text” associated with each Q&A pair to notify SMEs of its status as an archived or master answer.
- Adding in alternate questions for better searchability for proposal preparers.
- Including URL links within each answer for cross-references between related Q&A pairs within the RFPIO tool.
- Linking related answers together through the RFPIO “Related Answers” function.
- Reviewing content owners and moderators for the master Q&A pairs.
Complete the Q&A pair rewrite for that phase of the Content Library refresh
Following the update of Q&A pairs in each phase, GEODIS closed out that part of the Content Library refresh through some final steps:
- Updating the SME review cycle for the new, master Q&A pairs.
- Mentioning SMEs within the RFPIO comments for each master Q&A pair and requesting they carry out an initial review for the updated and rewritten content.
- Understanding any lessons learned from that part of the project.
- Finalizing any communications with SMEs and stakeholders.
- Moving on to the next phase of the Content Library refresh.
6. Show the value of the Content Library refresh
GEODIS has primarily tracked the effectiveness of the Content Library refresh through the reduction in the number of Q&A pairs that SMEs need to review. Due to the number of duplicate Q&A pairs, SME review cycles, and the content in each answer, reducing the number of pairs directly correlates with reducing the time, effort, and cost of SMEs reviewing those pairs.
To date, GEODIS has reduced the number of Q&A pairs in RFPIO by almost 80%.
|Subjects with the Highest Percentage of Q&A Pair Reduction|
|Safety and materials handling||CSR and sustainability||Employee training and inclusion||Business continuity|
GEODIS expects to maintain a Q&A pair reduction rate of between 70% and 80% over the life of the Content Library refresh project. At the lower end of this estimate, this means it’s likely that the current Q&A library would be reduced from 2,000+ pairs to around 600. On average, it’s common for RFPIO customers to reduce Q&A pairs by 50-70% after their initial review of all Q&A pairs in their libraries.
Anecdotal feedback from SMEs and proposal preparers has also been very positive, with comments on the quality and comprehensiveness of the master Q&A answers within the RFPIO tool.
“Our team of 200 subject matter experts has a full-time job on top of supporting content in our answer library of 2,000 question/answer pairs. Both of these jobs are important to maintain and grow our business. Minimizing the content assigned to them for review is a top priority. The library refresh project, supported by the RFPIO tool, minimizes their content reviews, enabling them to spend that time creating quality updates. Its’ a ‘win’ for them and GEODIS.”
—Penny Lane, Senior Proposal Manager, GEODIS Americas
On track for a best-in-class Content Library
GEODIS originally selected RFPIO as its RFP response tool for several reasons:
- Ease of use and administration, particularly for SMEs across multiple business areas.
- Robust integration with existing tools, operations, collaboration, and review processes.
- Quality and range of features, documentation, and support.
- Content management, search, and reporting capabilities.
These same qualities and features have proven central to the Content Library refresh, as shown in the table below.
|Before RFPIO and Content Library Refresh||After RFPIO and Content Library Refresh|
|Difficult to administer and prepare RFP responses due to inconsistent information and variations in tone and content of RFP answers.||RFP answers have a consistent approach and style, with each containing comprehensive information on specific areas.|
|Duplicate or similar answers to questions make it challenging to choose a “best” answer for an RFP response.||Consolidation of duplicate answers creates a single master answer for each area that reduces the effort required to prepare RFP responses.|
|SMEs must spend considerable time and effort reviewing substantially similar content across multiple, duplicated RFP answers.||Reduction in the number of answers on specific topics has radically reduced the time and effort required as part of the SME review cycle.|
|The quality of RFP responses was based on substantially varying input from multiple sources and authors||RFP response quality has improved due to stronger tagging, searching, filtering, and other RFPIO features.|
GEODIS continues to work alongside the RFPIO business to continue building its Content Library into a best-in-class resource.
To learn more about how RFPIO can power content governance for your sales processes through intuitive collaboration and intelligent deduplications features, schedule a demo at www.RFPIO.com.