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How to choose the right RFP software in 5 steps

How to choose the right RFP software in 5 steps

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify […]


Category: Tag: RFP Software

How to choose the right RFP software in 5 steps

How to choose the right RFP software in 5 steps

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”

Bill Gates reminds us of the important roles process and people play in efficiency gains through automated technology.

Responders continually seek out efficiency in their RFP response process. The most successful responders see the best results by collaborating within a single response management platform…RFP software.

Software selection process steps for RFP software

Since you’re reading this, RFP response automation is obviously on your radar. And you’re the lucky person tasked with figuring out a sustainable solution.

Whether you are a proposal manager leading the charge with RFP response or a VP of Marketing who owns the technology budget, make your RFP software comparison quest easier by following these software selection process steps.

1. Meet with your RFP response team.

Before you commit to an annual RFP software subscription, schedule a meeting with your entire RFP response team (subject matter experts, executive stakeholders, bid writers, etc.). The goal is to discover gaps and opportunities in your current workflow, then make improvements through RFP automation.

2. Prioritize RFP software features.

Now that you know what your RFP response team needs in order to thrive, it’s time to prioritize RFP software features. Divide features into two columns—”must-have” and “nice-to-have.” If having a holistic view of RFP projects is a top priority, project dashboards are a must-have. If communication is dialed in, then Slack or Microsoft Team integrations are a nice-to-have.

3. Explore RFP software comparison platforms.

Third-party validation is a key part of decision-making for any purchase, including RFP software. Think of G2 Crowd and Capterra as Yelp for software products. Use these RFP software comparison tools to compare and contrast features and check out customer feedback. Seeing use cases in the real RFP response management world will inspire ideas and validate decisions.

4. Make a data-driven case for RFP software.

Have no idea how many hours your team spends on RFP responses? Demystify these costs by tracking everyone’s time. Use our ROI calculator to find out how much you will save on both hours and resources with RFP response automation. Armed with data, you’ll rely on stats instead of emotions to make a strong case for additional budget to cover RFP software.

5. Understand the product and the service.

Once you have narrowed down RFP software providers, schedule a demo to see the solution in action and meet the team you’re considering working with. Bring your priority features list, along with questions that need to be addressed. Pay special attention to the user experience as the solution should be quick and easy for all RFP contributors to learn.

RFPIO clients best demonstrate their efficiency progress with RFP software.

Before using RFPIO, 49% spent several weeks responding to RFPs. Since using RFPIO, 31% finish RFP projects in a week and 37% complete RFPs in a single day. With the right RFP software, your response management team will experience similar efficiency gains.

Schedule a demo of RFPIO to start making progress.

Healthcare RFPs: Build trust through authentic storytelling

Healthcare RFPs: Build trust through authentic storytelling

“96% of top-performing marketers agree their organizations have built credibility and trust with their audience.” So, why should healthcare RFPs be any different?

A written document like a request for proposal may not appear to have the same pizzazz. However, an RFP response holds just as many creative possibilities as other types of content you produce. Additionally, healthcare RFPs are a revenue-generating opportunity with the potential to make a positive impact.

Healthcare continues to evolve rapidly while newer, more advanced organizations rise up to take hold of the industry. With that acceleration and competition, there is more pressure for your marketing team to perform.

RFP responses provide an opportunity to stand out in your evolving, competitive industry. With a focus on authentic storytelling in your healthcare RFPs, you’ll build more trust and increase your win potential.

“When you’re in the healthcare industry, you’ll be competing against other firms that have a lot of the same experience and knowledge that you have. You can all do the job and meet the requirements of the RFP. But how are you going to really stand out? One word: Trust.” – Lisa Rehurek,  Founder of The RFP Success™ Company

Healthcare marketing complexity with content creation

Healthcare marketers experience similar challenges to peers in other industries. The major difference is an added layer of complexity, thanks to strict compliance and heavy regulations. This has a direct impact on the content you create, including RFP responses.

Marketing Manager of TheraSpecs, Greg Bullock said his top content challenges are:

1. Communicating medical information in an authoritative way…with a user-friendly approach.

Medical content can be cumbersome, confusing and ultimately frustrating for the end user, which requires brands to communicate information in an approachable way. If you simplify too much, you lose the authority and expertise that is critical to establishing a strong reputation.

2. Keeping information medically up-to-date and accurate.

Generally, it is always a challenge to regularly update content and ensure that the information is still accurate. However, healthcare organizations have particularly unique issues given the wealth of new medical studies and anecdotal expertise that emerges regularly.

When responding to RFPs, you likely see similar content challenges arise. You need to make sure content is current and correct. You must strike the right balance between competence and conversation. You need to have branding that is clear and consistent.

Hit all of these marks and you are on your way to demonstrating why you are the partner they can trust. 95% say that if they trust a company, they’re more likely to be loyal patrons.

Building trust and credibility in healthcare RFPs

“When you’re in a highly technical industry like healthcare, there’s more to what you can bring to the table than just the specifications and requirements of the RFP. Healthcare companies and entities are under a lot of stress to keep up with regulations, compliance issues, stakeholder involvement, political ramifications, the list goes on.”

Lisa Rehurek, founder of The RFP Success™ Company and host of The RFP Success Show, has experienced the complexities of healthcare RFPs firsthand. She has long been a champion of responding to RFPs. Lisa continually encourages any organization bidding on RFPs to excel at building trust over and above their competitors.

“Yes, they’re looking for specific knowledge and expertise, but they also want a lifeline. Weaving in stories, writing in a more conversational tone, being authentic in your response to really get to the emotion of it, will help them visualize that you will be that lifeline. And with that, they can exhale. Trust is built.”

RFPs in healthcare: Bring your authentic voice forward

As a marketer, you’re creative by nature. If you look at your other marketing campaigns, you unearthed stories to communicate more authentically with your audience. You can achieve the same with your RFP content.

Ready to bring your brand’s authentic voice forward? Give these RFP components your full attention to build trust with your prospect and make their buying decision easier.

  • Cover Letter – Reveal key benefits they will experience while working with you and show your excitement for this future partnership. Use the client and company name often to personalize.
  • Executive Summary – Hook them with an opening statement about your solutions and explore the backstory of your company: mission, history, and purpose. (Once again, use the client and company name often.)
  • Our Approach – Explain your methodology and how your solution benefits your customers. Include relevant customer stories or testimonials for validation, focusing on the process and results.
  • Competitive Differentiators – Call out why they should work with you instead of one of your competitors, using comparison data and visual aids. It’s not a time to bad-mouth your competitor—just show you are the best choice.
  • Support / Customer Service – Highlight customer support offerings (help center, ongoing training, or educational webinars, etc). Insert customer story or testimonial that talks about their experience working with your team.
  • Brand Consistency – Not a section per se…brand consistency must be strong throughout. From messaging to design language, “on brand” content helps you earn trust.

Working in healthcare marketing is not a pass to create content without a pulse. Yes, you need to meet specifications and requirements. And sometimes, messaging might seem a little flat compared to more provocative industries.

At the end of the day, the goal is to show the human side of your brand and build a high level of trust with your prospect. Challenge yourself to make your healthcare RFPs better—more relatable, more relevant. Every RFP response is your chance to have a genuine conversation and to tell a story.

A response management platform ensures you have your best storytelling moments readily available. Schedule a demo of RFPIO to make a bigger impact on your next healthcare RFP.

Join RFPIO to make the magic for Camp Kesem

Join RFPIO to make the magic for Camp Kesem

We recently had the honor of attending the annual Make the Magic fundraiser put on by the University of Oregon’s Camp Kesem organization. The event was held at the Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland on a Friday evening last month.

RFPIO has worked with Camp Kesem before, through the encouragement of our Customer Success Manager, Ryan Slee, who has been involved as a volunteer with the U of O chapter since 2012.

Kesem is a nationwide organization that conducts free summer camps for children dealing with the loss of a parent to cancer. Ryan is passionate about the organization and the kids they are able to support.

“Camp Kesem is a spot for the campers to seek strength, find strength in themselves, find strength in others, and build a long lasting support system with fellow campers who are going through the same thing.”

Through Ryan’s dedication we were introduced to Make the Magic, and were happy to offer our support, make up our own camp nicknames, and have some fun for this worthy cause.

Make the Magic Kylie Schultz

About Make the Magic

This was a beautifully put together banquet that was well-attended by about 200 people. The posh Multnomah Athletic Club provided a perfect backdrop for an elegant evening with dinner, drinks, presentations from a camper and parent, and a silent auction to raise money for the organization.

At RFPIO, we keep it pretty casual, so it was nice to see the team dress up and bring their loved ones, especially for an important cause like this.

Over 5+ Million children have been affected by a parent’s cancer. – Camp Kesem website

One of last year’s campers spoke to the crowd about her experience at Camp Kesem and how it’s changed her life. She explained that because of her stepmom’s cancer, she has had to be strong for her younger siblings, and Camp Kesem has provided her with a chance to let down her guard, have fun, and connect with other kids who know what she’s going through.

Her stepmom followed with a presentation of her own about how brave her daughter has been in the face of this difficult situation. They were powerful stories that highlighted just how much these families are facing, and the relief that Camp Kesem provides.

The night closed out with a silent auction full of prizes like a wine tasting package and a set of Oregon Ducks football tickets.

Make the Magic Tyler Kamerer

Making an impact

Ryan said it was one of their most successful fundraising events for Camp Kesem. “We are so pleased at the turnout and participation at this year’s Make the Magic. Through the silent auction, we raised $65,000, which is the highest amount we’ve ever raised and a record breaking number among the whole countrywide Kesem organization,” he said.

“I’m also very proud to report that we had a record number of camp counselor alumni attendees. People who get involved with this organization remain deeply connected to it.”

Make the Magic Mitchell Hipp

Ways you can help

There are several ways to support Camp Kesem. The University of Oregon chapter has created an Amazon Wishlist for this year’s camp, with items that you can donate directly. “These items are inexpensive and can go a long way in making it a memorable experience for the kids. The tealight candles are especially important because they are part of a remembrance ceremony. Any help is appreciated,” Ryan said. Find your nearest Camp Kesem chapter here.

Magic events for the Kesem organization are held across the country throughout the year. You can see if there’s one near you on their events page.

The RFPIO team is proud to partner with Pledge 1% to support non-profit organizations on a quarterly basis. Take a look through our blog to see other orgs to which you can donate time, money, or resources.

If you belong to an organization that is looking for corporate sponsorship, please send information via email to Ava@RFPIO.com or call our RFPIO office line at 971-470-3112.

Top 7 reasons to use RFP software for analyst questionnaires

Top 7 reasons to use RFP software for analyst questionnaires

Spring is a special time for marketing teams. Event season is around the corner, semi-annual budgeting and reviews are due soon, and lead volumes are starting to ramp up after the holiday season. But if there’s one thing that spring means for marketing, it’s analyst questionnaires & reports. You know—the all-powerful grids, benchmarks, reports, and quadrants that prove to the world that your solution is the best one out there.

Like most marketers I love analyst reports—at least the potential value they bring. They are instant pieces of rich content. Analyst reports bring credibility and brand recognition to a campaign, and they deliver a spike in confidence both internally and externally around your core offering. However, filling them out can be a challenging process.

You may be asking yourself what this has to do with RFP software? Well, this year I joined the RFPIO marketing team, and during my on-boarding product training, I kept thinking, “Why didn’t I have this for my analyst questionnaires?!” It immediately made the case to me for a robust response management platform to make the process easier.

I’d like to address some of the challenges analyst reports bring, and then give you my list of reasons why a response management solution like RFPIO can help you, my fellow marketer.

Marketing Analyst Questionnaires RFPIO

Analyst questionnaires require extensive resources

To be honest, I would sometimes dread seeing the yearly analyst questionnaires arrive at my desk. My job as a product marketer was busy enough. But in reality, these projects always required a team effort. Much like RFPs, marketing analyst reports require detailed answers from subject matter experts scattered across many departments.

Industry analyst questionnaires typically come in the form of an Excel document, with dozens to hundreds of questions. The questions range from basic company info to detailed summaries of annual user activity, and even the long term executive financial strategy.

As it turns out, even as a product expert I was only ever able to answer about 30 percent of analyst questionnaires independently. I would need to engage with 10 to 15 SMEs to answer a hundred questions, usually setting me back about 20 to 25 hours.

Marketing Project RFPIO Platform

Many of the questions I found myself searching for had previously been answered by an SME as well. RFx and security questionnaire answers were often forwarded to me with comments like, “Hey Phill, I answered that question in a recent RFI, you will find your answer in the attached document.” It didn’t make sense to duplicate efforts, but this wasn’t a very efficient process either.

Licensing analyst content to support sales and marketing efforts can also be very valuable. While ROI from these assets is often hard to directly credit, keep in mind that 57 percent of the purchase decision is complete before a customer even calls a supplier, and 67 percent of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally (Curata). This all means that it’s wise to invest in content that influences the buyer as early in their journey as possible.

But it’s not cheap. An average marketing team can expect to pay anywhere from $10,000 to over $100,000 per report, for various levels of licensing rights.

The analyst questionnaire response process takes time

Filling out the marketing analyst questionnaires and then waiting on results happens over a period of months. Here’s what that process typically looks like:

Early Spring: Potential participants briefed on report, given required materials to complete with strict deadlines.

Early Summer: Reports and questionnaires due back to analyst groups. One to three months for review & processing.

Early Fall: Drafts of completed analyst reports issued to participants, along with licensing options.

This is pretty standard across the board, for all the major players. Some of the most popular and influential analyst research reports for technology companies include the Forrester Wave Report, Gartner’s Magic Quadrants, IDC, and HSF, to name a few.

Allocating time and resources to the process of submitting analyst questionnaires usually limits companies to participating in one or two reports per year. And even then, they may not like the results enough to license the content!

Some opt out of participating in the questionnaires altogether, but that runs the risk of not being represented on the grid at all. And that can give your competitors a leg up. So even if you choose not to license a report, by submitting the analyst questionnaire at least your logo will be represented.

Instead of deciding which one to submit, or whether or not to submit at all, with response management software you don’t have to choose.

7 response management platform benefits to marketing

By leveraging RFPIO’s Answer Library, marketing teams can now participate in all questionnaires. I wish I had a time machine to go back and approach each of the above problems through the lense of response management software—specifically RFPIO. Instead, I will offer you the benefits that I didn’t realize were at my fingertips:

1. Saves Time
This is big. Multiple analyst questionnaires can be answered in less time and with fewer resources than a single questionnaire would require without response management software.

2. Mitigates Risk
The ability to complete all available questionnaires affords marketing teams the freedom to wait for all the results, and choose to invest in whichever licensing report tells their best story.

3. Improves Results
The recommendation engine within your RFPIO Answer Library draws from proven content already crafted by your subject matter experts, so you know what works.

4. Consistent Responses
You won’t be reinventing the wheel every time you fill out a questionnaire. With response management software our company’s voice will stay consistent and on brand across the board.

5. Project Management
All your concurrent projects and competing due dates are managed in a central location, to help you keep track of progress and monitor success.

6. Formatting Ease
Take back those hours you usually spend making fonts and spacing match up, and let RFPIO do the work. Then you can export right back to the source file or an approved template.

7. Familiar Platform
If your company is already using RFPIO, all this functionality is available to you right now. There are no add-on costs associated with using the platform for different types of projects.

If you’re struggling with analyst questionnaires, my fellow marketer, feast your weary eyes upon RFPIO. With a response management platform, you can challenge those old processes, make your job easier, and help your company tell its story in a more impactful way.

Interested in seeing a demo? Let us know.

RFPIO headquarters outgrows office in under a year

RFPIO headquarters outgrows office in under a year

Just a year ago this week, we made the announcement that RFPIO headquarters had moved into a larger office to make room for growth. Well, surprise! We did it again, after only 11 months. This will be the sixth HQ space. As I write this, I’m proud to announce that we are also moving our Coimbatore office into its third new space. Hello from India!

Sometimes people ask me if I had expected the company to grow this quickly. I may not have been able to see the future, but I always knew our product and our people would be successful. It’s no surprise to my team that my expectations are high, and they’ve consistently impressed me with their responses to the all the challenges that come with growing a company.

In the blog about last year’s move, we asked all the HQ employees what they thought of the new space. We couldn’t do that this year, or it would have been way too long. Instead, I want to talk about some of what’s changed and what hasn’t, and what you can expect from us in the future.

Holy Smoke RFPIO

Our India team observing the Holy Smoke ritual before officially moving in

How RFPIO has changed

Office Space
This new HQ office more than doubles our last space, giving us the room to accommodate almost three times as many people. We are already taking to it like fish to a fishbowl, and made a new hire in just the two weeks we’ve been here.

Now we are getting settled in to our new workspaces, taking in the magnificent Oregon views (a new benefit—lots of windows and outdoor space), and enjoying the extra room to stretch our legs. We’ve also upgraded some amenities. In the last office we were excited about having a sink and a full-sized fridge. Now we finally have a dishwasher. For a startup, these conveniences mean a lot!

Customers
Our user list has grown massively over the last year, in both volume and company size. We’re now at over 25,000 users on the platform and we’ve signed on Fortune 500 enterprise clients like Google, Visa, Salesforce, and Adobe. We recently announced a multi-year partnership with Express Scripts, one of Fortune’s top 25, and a major player in the healthcare industry.

Just this week we attended RSA 2019 to spread the word of our response management platform for security questionnaires and similar business requests. One of the things we were proud to share with conference-goers was our newly announced SOC 2 certification. This was a rigorous process that ultimately ensures our commitment to security for all of our customers.

Former Office RFPIO

We had to get creative about workspaces before the move

More change

Growth: Team and Revenue
In July of 2018 we announced our partnership with K1 Investment Management for a $25M round of funding. This strategic partnership has helped us scale the company wisely, while increasing our revenue ahead of schedule, keeping us in a strong financial standing. Our projections for growth have us more than doubling our revenue and current staff count by the end of 2019.

Honors and Distinctions
We know we’re a great company, but outside validation assures us that we’re on the right track. This year, RFPIO was named one of Oregon’s Top 10 Best Tech Startups, in good company with several local peers. We were given the distinction of market leader on G2 Crowd’s Best RFP Software grid, and have received almost 100 unbiased reviews on G2 Crowd and Capterra from our amazing customers.

RFPIO_James and Stephen

James and Stephen enjoying the view

How RFPIO has stayed the same

Customer support
We’ve added team members to all of our teams, which means that we can offer more to our customers than even before. The product is being innovated upon more rapidly, our internal processes have gotten tighter, and we offer more support services for all types of companies. Everything we do is in service to our customers and their needs.

Employee-focused culture
Much like our focus on customers, our employees make this company what it is. We still do quarterly philanthropy events, holiday parties, and team outings. Our benefit package has gotten more substantial. As a commitment to transparency we’ve implemented a monthly all-hands meeting and we’ve started a new lunch & learn program to keep everybody up to date on product news.

Convenience
Our new HQ office is located in the neighboring building to our former office. This means we are still in the heart of downtown Beaverton, which connects many public transportation options and major highways. We’d grown accustomed to our proximity to the neighborhood food carts, so our walkable lunch options remain close by.

New RFPIO Office_Hakeem

Hakeem getting settled in to his new space

The future of RFPIO

As I said before, I’m not sure exactly what the future holds, but I am confident that by this time next year we will be a bigger, stronger company with even more to offer. With teams across the U.S. and in India, we are innovating around the clock.

I’m so proud of what our technical, support, and revenue teams have built and introduced to the market. I’ve been humbled to hear customers say that we’ve brought them relief and have given them more time with their families—that’s the best compliment I can receive.

This new office marks a new chapter in RFPIO’s history, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. As I often say, folks, this is just the beginning!

If you’re in the area and would like to drop in, we would love to see you. The new RFPIO headquarters office is located at:

RFPIO, Inc.
4145 SW Watson Ave. #450
Beaverton, OR 97005

How to cure your longstanding RFP headaches

How to cure your longstanding RFP headaches

From Selling Power, by Ganesh Shankar

In a recent survey of sales professionals, we found that a staggering 84 percent of companies are still using manual processes for RFP responses.

The reality is, the burden on internal resources can increase quickly when you take on an RFP. If gathering critical answers for your RFP response is more about begging for help rather than tapping into an efficient flow of information, it may be time to take a hard look at your RFP processes.

The problem with manual-based processes often comes down to an inability to make effective use of previous answers. Files are spread across disjointed and disconnected systems. Even when they are organized, manually hunting through thousands and thousands of answers quickly becomes an exercise in frustration.

Finding answers to common RFP questions

Odds are, many questions included in RFPs have already been asked countless times. Being able to find and reuse quality, up-to-date content can relieve quite a burden on key stakeholders, as they won’t have to spend cycles researching and answering repetitive questions. Ideally, when you come to them for help, you already have relevant answers in hand for them to quickly review and refine.

One company that upgraded from their manual RFP processes was MasterControl, a supplier of quality and compliance-control software in a highly competitive market involving many RFP and security questionnaire responses. To stay ahead of the curve, MasterControl decided the time had come to devise a faster and more efficient RFP process. The firm started by assigning the task of evaluating the proposal response processes to an analytically-minded sales operations professional.

His research showed it took the company 32 hours, on average, to complete an RFP response. In 2017 alone, the company answered more than 100 RFPs, at an estimated total cost of $3,200 each – a more than $300,000 hit to the bottom line. The actual cost across the entire organization was likely much higher.

After evaluating a range of alternatives, MasterControl turned to cloud-based response management software that incorporates a centralized answer repository combined with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. When responding to imported RFP questions, the AI tool automatically populates the best-fit response directly from an answer library. By typing one or two keywords into the search bar, potential answers instantly populate – saving time manually hunting through thousands of documents and answers.

Through using such a response management platform, MasterControl was able to reduce required staff cycles when responding to RFPs by an impressive 40 percent. Additionally, as resource costs decreased, the company was able to free up budget and staff time for other business initiatives.

Although cloud-based response management technology is still emerging as a product segment, a growing number of companies like MasterControl are finding that it allows them to reduce their RFP response times and increase efficiencies. What’s more, using an adaptive learning engine means that, as companies respond to RFPs, their answer library grows in scope and scale. With more content and scenarios on tap, recommendations become more precise and the RFP response process becomes that much more efficient. The response solution can also support other aspects of the business, such as completing lengthy security questionnaires.

Each year, some part of your revenue may come from how well you respond to RFPs. That means it’s worth your while to find ways to explore technology solutions that can help you improve your chances of winning new business while also lowering costs related to producing RFPs.

If only we had RFP software, a cautionary tale

If only we had RFP software, a cautionary tale

We marketers adore our SaaS tools, don’t we? These magical solutions allow us to make even the most starry-eyed campaigns and projects humanly possible. As the co-founder and content strategist at Superneat Marketing, I can tell you that my business wouldn’t exist without efficient processes and automating mundane tasks. I have our software arsenal to thank for that each and every day.

Just when I thought I had it all figured out, guess what happened? Me and my business partner faced the inevitable irony of responding to an RFP for one of our clients. And, we had to do it all manually, with no magical RFP software to lean on.

Me, a content creator for RFPIO since 2016. Me, the person who has championed RFP software to empower responders to save time and energy—to win more, to succeed more. Me, the person who passionately warned thousands of responders to embrace technology and leave their manual ways behind forever.

Sigh.

This isn’t your typical case study for RFP software. This is the “un” case study for manually responding to RFPs, a cautionary tale if you will.

In this eye-opening, personal account (peppered with irony and intrigue) I reveal where it all went wrong. And how we definitely could have saved our sanity—and 100 hours—if we only had RFPIO.

Thank heavens, we had a solid RFP executive summary

I’ll start this cautionary tale on a happy note, because we keep messaging solution-focused here at RFPIO. We were ahead of the game in one part of the process, at least—our RFP executive summary.

An executive summary boilerplate was one of many deliverables from a larger marketing foundations project. We had the luxury of time during the content creation process. Even better? We had this executive summary template, an asset we created with the RFPIO team, to work with.

Basically, this template gives you the building blocks to craft a kick-ass RFP executive summary. Our most popular blog of all-time was about how to write a winning executive summary for RFP responses. Which is precisely why we created this nifty infographic.

The executive summary can be mystifying, so it makes sense that so many responders need help with this opening statement of an RFP. I was beyond thankful to have this infographic in my content marketing tool belt when it was time to write an executive summary for our client.

A really important RFP is due in three weeks…Help!

Then came the cry for help from our wonderful client. This RFP came out of nowhere, from an organization they had worked with for a decade who suddenly got the itch to send a formal proposal.

That meant the obvious possibility that their long-term client was sending that same request for proposal to their competitors. So, winning this RFP was kind of a big deal. (No pressure.)

When we received the email from our client, we paused to acknowledge the irony of the situation because you just have to sometimes in life. Then, we jumped in like spirited content marketers always do. We needed to nail this puppy.

We thought: “We’ve seen it all. We totally got this!”

First, our clients slaved over this RFP for two weeks, spending countless hours copying and pasting from historic RFPs until they pulled everything together. Then, it was our turn…to polish the content and the formatting. We had to hustle, drop everything else we were doing to prioritize the RFP.

Once we received the RFP from our client, we quickly realized It was going to take all of our marketing superpowers to pull this off before the deadline. Because the RFP was…wait for it…160 pages.

rfp response marketing

How RFP Software Empowers the High-Performing Marketer

The humbling content experience of an RFP monstrosity

After years and years of creating content in every possible format, I faced my Everest. This RFP was ginormous and I had limited time to work through it. One thing I’ve learned about quality content creation? It can’t be rushed.

It doesn’t matter who you are. Stephen King has published 58 novels—that’s A LOT of content. It’s an achievement to write one novel, let alone 58. But, Mr. King wasn’t alone in this notable achievement. He had a fastidious editing team working like crazy before a single page made it to print.

“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.” – Stephen King

In the end, I glued my you-know-what to my chair for an entire day and cozied up with this RFP monstrosity. I cleaned up the responses in a content fury—making them more concise and lovable. I attacked repetition and passive voice, my rapid-fire fingers pounding against the keyboard for hours until they were numb.

I was ten pages in when I yelled aloud: “If only we had RFPIO!”

My business partner chuckled at my manual RFP misfortune. However, his sense of humor was shortlived. His days were numbered, the deadline drawing ever closer. Soon his time came to format the RFP deliverable. Cue content marketer evil laugh…

Winning the RFP formatting battle without any casualties

“How goes the battle?” This was the brilliant subject line our client sent us when she checked on the state of the RFP deliverable as we approached the tight deadline. Truer words have never been spoken.

My business partner had to change all of the inconsistent formatting manually in a Word doc. It was a right mess, responses having been pieced together from a dozen different documents—some of which were ancient RFP history.

There were over 30 different font styles and 60 images. Every bullet and numbered list was formatted differently. This RFP had multiple personalities and we needed to show only one brand personality.

He copied everything as plain text and re-formatted the entire document page by page. To bring the document home, it took a 6-hour straight session with him strapped to his chair in a straitjacket (kidding).

And, guess what he said to me…“If only we had RFPIO!”

200 hours later, how RFPIO would have saved us

It sounds dramatic to say that RFPIO would have saved us, but it’s nothing but the truth. On average, happily productive RFPIO users cut their response time by 40 percent. Between the four of us—me, my business partner, and our clients—we easily spent 200 hours on a single RFP.

We always track our time, so we know what we put in. Our clients were writing and reviewing for weeks, so we can guesstimate what they put in. 200 hours? Holy smokes!

A response management platform like RFPIO has many glorious features. As a small team, I know the exact two features that would have saved us all. The answer library and the import/export functionality.

Our client had no centralized repository for RFPs. They hunted through years of folders and documents to find responses they could repurpose. As a result, the copying and pasting led to the ickiest formatting challenges. There was no easy fix for any of it. It took time to pull everything together—lots and lots of time and energy.

So, how would things have been different if we had RFPIO? Let me count the ways…okay, four ways…

  1. Import – We would have imported the Word doc in seconds and jumped right into the RFP project.
  2. Content – We would have found relevant content with a quick search of historic responses, or by filtering with tags or star ratings in our answer library.
  3. Collaboration – We would have invited our clients to review the responses within the platform, versus the many back-and-forth emails we used to collaborate.
  4. Export – We would have exported the responses into a branded template. The formatting would have been cohesive and beautiful. This process would have taken seconds, not hours.

Would we have preferred to spend half the time on that 160-page RFP? Would our clients have liked to do the same, so they could focus on the many other aspects of their business? You betcha.

Not even a month later, another RFP came along. And the cycle repeated itself, as it does for many organizations. The lesson to be learned here isn’t always an obvious one. It’s difficult to put a value on time. But our time is, in fact, a valuable commodity.

Technology like RFP software allows us to be more efficient. The power behind that efficiency is not only the ability to do more but to do it better than everyone else. I hope our cautionary tale of a manual RFP process inspires you to consider your options.

P.S. You can schedule a demo right here, my friend.

How to convince your boss you need RFP software now

How to convince your boss you need RFP software now

The first question will be, “Why do we need it?”

Tell your boss, “Because we can’t afford to gamble our relationships, and our contacts cannot afford to gamble on us.”

Now let’s crack open this fortune cookie and unpack its meaning.

In sales, relationships are everything. Many companies won’t even respond to an RFP if they don’t have relationships established with the RFP-issuing group. Sales professionals protect these relationships like they’re hoards of treasure. Much time and effort is put into cultivating them.

However, the art of the deal has changed over the many years I’ve been in the proposal game. The deal that used to be made via handshake with a high-powered decision-maker now has to be vetted by multiple stakeholders. A single decision-maker won’t gamble their career on selecting a vendor anymore—no matter how strong a relationship exists.

In a highly competitive RFP, multiple prospective vendors will have strong relationships within the RFP-issuing organization. You as a sales organization don’t want to gamble your hard-earned relationship by underperforming at the proposal stage and losing the deal.

In the modern sales landscape, your relationships plus a high-quality proposal will give you the best chance to win the deal. RFP software helps you create proposals that eliminate your contacts’ need to “gamble.”

Now that you’ve explained why you need RFP software, answer these three questions to close the RFP software deal with your boss:

  1. Which of our corporate initiatives does this investment support?
  2. What is the ROI and over what time period?
  3. Why do it now?

Build on these 4 initiatives

Find a way to align RFP software to a stated business imperative. Anything relating to revenue or margin impact is good thing, like the following:

Proposal value isn’t always obvious to an organization’s stakeholders. Aligning it with your business imperatives makes it harder for stakeholders to ignore the fact that response management is an essential cog in your sales lifecycle.

Cut to the chase: ROI in less than 2 months*

One of our more impressive recent data points is that Crownpeak saw a 5-6x ROI after using RFPIO for just a few months. If your bosses hang their hats on ROI, then don’t hold back. Calculate your ROI here to include an estimate in your pitch to your bosses.

Efficiency is going to be your primary ROI metric. With RFPIO, organizations increase response management efficiency by 40%, on average. Broken down by role, we are currently seeing the following:

  • 63% of salespeople said RFPIO enables them to automate their process, so they can make time to pursue new business with RFPs.
  • 71% of marketers said RFPIO helps them centralize company content for easy access.
  • Subject Matter Experts (SME) gained back 39% of their daily hours with RFPIO.

RFPIO doubles as a knowledge management tool, which will increase proposal production for sales and reduce the burden on SMEs from legal, IT, security, procurement, contracts and other departments that typically contribute to responses. It’s a cost-effective method to give everyone at your organization access to your answer library, while also empowering your proposal team to do more.

*On average, based on verified customer reviews collected on G2.

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See How Much You Can Save With RFPIO

Why now?

For you, it’s about leveling the playing field. Harking back to my earlier reference of an RFP where five proposals are delivered and three of them likely have relationships with the RFP issuer…In this case, at least one of the vendors that responds will be using RFP software. They will have completed up to 70% of the RFP using automated features, which means they can put 100% effort on the remaining 30%. How likely are you to win any race when you give your competitors a 70% head start? (Flipside bonus you’ll want to call out to your bosses: On the off chance that you’re the only one using RFP software, then you will have a 70% head start!)

For your bosses, it’s about showing accountability to their commitment to success. If sales is the lifeblood of your business, then a fine-tuned RFP process will be as valuable as a multifunctional CRM, an integrated marketing strategy, a highly responsive customer service system, or any other support system that is already included in your budget.

But are proposals really that important?

YES!

The most common pushback you may need to address is that a proposal is just one part of a complex and lengthy sales process. That is true, and the best proposal in the world will not win you the deal on the spot. But a poor proposal will likely cause doubt in the issuer’s mind. At best, this will extend the sales cycle. At worst, you lose the deal.

A good proposal provides the opportunity to encapsulate everything you have learned during the sales process. RFP issuers never say they’re hemorrhaging clients or cash or taking a beating from their competitors, even though you understand that’s probably why they’re issuing the RFP.

The proposal is your opportunity to document how well you understand the issuer’s underlying needs or pains. You can do it passively (“We help with client retention by…” or “We’ve helped X clients increase revenue by X%…” or “3 out of 4 industry leaders rely on us to….”), but stating your solution to an unspoken problem validates your expertise. Ultimately, that’s exactly why they should choose to work with you.

And the only way to communicate that information to all stakeholders involved in the decision is through your response to the RFP.

Ready your pitch

Twenty years ago, I expected RFPs to go the way of the dodo. Because of the Internet, you see. I thought that any generic information an issuer would need about a company could be found on the Internet. I was wrong. RFPs didn’t go away.

The way companies select vendors based on RFP responses is what changed. Out went the single decision maker, in came the decision by committee. The proposal management market is booming ($3.1B by 2024) and RFPIO has more than 1,000 customers only three years after signing its first.

RFPs have grown in complexity and require more customized responses. Part of a response is cookie cutter (another reason you need response management software), but the part of the response that requires more customization to explain your value—the part that shows you an issuer wants to deal rather than just kick the tires—is the part that you need to spend the most time on.

If you see any variation of this question, then you know the issuer is serious and in need of innovation: “What can your company offer that others cannot?

Want help prepping your RFP software pitch to your boss? We can help. Schedule a demo to get started.

RFP answer library: 10 before and after RFP software stories

RFP answer library: 10 before and after RFP software stories

What do buyers really think of bidding organizations? Well, er…some of the results from this survey weren’t so favorable for RFP responders. At the end of the day, nearly half of these buyers felt that bidders just didn’t do themselves justice in their proposals. However, there is light at the end of your RFP answer library.

With any organizational challenges, identifying the root cause of the issue is the best way to create a long-term solution. Buyers think RFP responses are not up to snuff because—let’s face it—they probably aren’t as amazing as they could be. RFP software gives your team more time to do a better job…your answer library is ultimately the key to your success.

Because you all love seeing real examples in the RFP response world, we combed through tons of RFPIO user reviews to gather and share authentic RFP content management solutions. What follows is a snapshot of RFP responders’ lives, before and after RFP software.

Customer-centric RFP responses increase win rate

Before RFP software

A proposal manager spent most of his time researching multiple documents and resources to eventually produce an “okay” answer. His SMEs were always short on time—they either provided rushed responses or ignored his emails when he needed input. They could never get ahead of the RFP deadline, no matter how many times they repeated the process.

After RFP software

An RFP answer library offered the gift of speed. Centralizing responses and organizing them with tags helped his team respond accurately in a client-focused manner. Instead of spending hours researching and gathering information, he used that extra time to focus on an RFP response strategy. In a short time frame, this organization improved its win rate with customer-centric responses that helped them stand out in a competitive market.

High organizational productivity to process more RFPs

Before RFP software

A director of presales support saw that her entire organization had room for improvement with their process for answering security questionnaires, RFPs, and RFIs. Since everyone was piecing content together in their own silos, her team produced less effective responses as a result. They didn’t accurately track the effort of their work, but they knew their RFP response time could be more efficient with a team solution.

After RFP software

All business units started contributing content to a centralized RFP answer library. She trained employees worldwide to use the application, integrating users from: IT, HR, Legal, Finance, Professional Services, and Education Services. RFx documents became consistent, and she was able to track progress. High productivity helped her team process more RFP projects than before.

Convenience improves RFP response completion time

Before RFP software

A senior solutions engineer typed the same RFP responses over and over again with every new business opportunity. The repetition should have made his job easier. Yet he still had to dig for historical responses to copy and paste them in the RFP. He used multiple computer monitors to find the information he needed as quickly as possible, using the Control+F function.

After RFP software

No more Control+F! With a searchable RFP answer library, he easily pulled information from a single source. Since he no longer depended on extra monitors to complete RFPs, he took advantage of working remotely— at home, or when he had downtime at the airport. This convenience made it easier for him to complete RFP responses on his preferred schedule to meet the deadline.

Time to tailor RFP responses for a stronger deliverable

Before RFP software

A business analyst identified key issues that could only be solved by an investment in an RFP content management solution. RFPs consumed too many resources and took too long. It finally got to a point where SMEs (subject matter experts) didn’t want to contribute, because they answered repetitive questions constantly.

After RFP software

An RFP answer library was the missing ingredient all along. Auto-response filled in repetitive questions with historic RFP responses for him upfront, lightening the workload for busy SMEs. Rather than starting from scratch each time, answer recommendations provided relevant content and SMEs only had to perform a quick review for accuracy. This saved hours for everyone, which they reallocated to tailor content for a stronger RFP deliverable.

An RFP answer library breaks down information silos

Before RFP software

A senior sales engineer saw that his team continually came up with workarounds to manage RFP and sales content. Information silos were prevalent across the organization, and it was slowing down their entire sales process.

After RFP software

His team quickly realized the functional opportunities with their new RFP answer library. IT team members loved how much time they saved just by looking up previous RFP responses. An added bonus they discovered was using the content library to store all internal FAQs, giving every team member one access point for company information whenever they needed it.

Approved content in an accessible RFP answer library

Before RFP software

A proposal manager felt that the quality of her organization’s RFP response content wasn’t up to par. She did her best to organize RFP responses in a series of Word docs and spreadsheets. She kept up with a spreadsheet of approved responses, but team members continued copying and pasting from various RFPs, resulting in copying and pasting errors and inconsistencies.

After RFP software

The RFP answer library and section templates allowed her team to save questions and blocks of boilerplate text. Managing and auditing RFP content was easier, so she was able to make approved content easily accessible for her team. Compared to copying and pasting, searching for the best response became a fast and intuitive practice for everyone.

Better RFP responses and better sleep patterns

Before RFP Software

A senior solutions executive realized tracking down past responses in his labyrinth of Google Drive folders took several hours for every RFP. He always questioned his selections, wondering if what he did find was the best possible response—or if the better option was buried deep in another folder. Unable to handle his workload during business hours, he worked late at night to submit RFPs at the eleventh hour.

After RFP Software

He fundamentally changed the way his team managed RFPs with an answer library. No longer did he burden valuable internal resources with repetitive questions. By leveraging the tagging and star system, his team felt more confident about their choices. He used search functionality to find answers in seconds instead of hours. Since he didn’t have to work late anymore on RFPs, overall he felt more rested and productive.

Cost savings on RFP response team resources

Before RFP software

A senior proposal manager recognized the rising internal resource costs of their RFP response process. On average, this organization responded to 2-4 RFPs per month and spent about 80-100 hours researching and answering highly technical questions. With employee hourly rates ranging from $25 to $50 per hour, resource budgets were out of control.

After RFP software

The cost savings on resource hours far outweighed the cost of the RFP software he purchased. When responding to imported RFP questions, answer recommendations automatically populated the best-fit response directly from the answer library. Typing in one or two keywords into the search bar produced accurate results. Resource costs decreased exponentially, freeing up the budget for his other business initiatives.

Complete control over the RFP response process

Before RFP software

A strategic sales support manager did not have a formal RFP response process or an RFP content management tool at her organization. She tried using other content management systems to organize their Q&A pairs but often ended up with duplicate answers. It was difficult to repurpose variations on the same RFP responses, so her team ended up customizing the answer every time.

After RFP software

A smarter approach to RFP content management brought immediate time-savings benefits to her RFP response team. She added alternate questions and answers with customized names (short response, excel response, division-specific response, etc.) She gained complete control over their RFP content and she felt new responses were stronger than in previous RFPs.

Winning more deals with quality RFP responses

Before RFP software

An enterprise account executive responded to many RFPs, RFIs, and VSQs. It was the nature of their business, and his team worked hard to meet short turnaround times in the hopes of gaining new business. Since numerous departments were involved in RFP responses, they couldn’t respond to as many opportunities and they weren’t reaching their sales goals.

After RFP software

A new ability to collaborate in real-time reduced turnaround on these RFP requests. The answer library stored typical Q&A pairs that could be added and customized in a few minutes. This improved process allowed his team to take on more RFPs than before. Responding faster—with more consistent RFP responses—helped them win more deals at a higher rate.

Rushing an RFP out the door doesn’t exactly leave much time for fine-tuning the deliverable with a strategic mindset. The good news is that we can positively shift the buyer’s perspective if we improve the way we manage our RFP content library. That means saying goodbye to your labyrinth of Google drive folders and being more methodical with RFP software.

Join thousands of other RFPIO users to become our next before and after RFP software success story. Schedule a demo of RFPIO to manage your RFP content like a pro.

This is how you master RFP software and close more deals

This is how you master RFP software and close more deals

You already know that RFP software is a central application for streamlining your RFP response process. This improved process allows you to minimize resources allocated to RFPs and reallocate that time you win back to other sales initiatives. Responding to more RFPs is one way to spend that extra time wisely, so you can increase your chances to win more deals.

RFP software is a key piece of sales enablement technology in some of today’s most successful organizations. Sales teams using RFP software are able to focus on what they do best….sales. This makes RFP software an essential part of your revenue driving engine.

We process RFPs all the time inside our own software application here at RFPIO. So, we speak from firsthand experience when we say that all teams can use RFP software for multiple sales enablement use cases.

When you master your RFP response process, you will close more deals. But, first…you need to master RFP software.

“Mastering the RFP response process is crucial to your sales enablement efforts. It’s also a defined need / process that can be optimized through discipline and enabling technology.” – Robert Pease, Heinz Marketing

RFP answer library: Your single source of truth

As a salesperson you need to know about your product, but you certainly can’t know everything. An RFP answer library helps you answer questions in real-time.

RFP software eliminates the need to ping Joe on your product team for the millionth time to find the answer you don’t know when you’re on a discovery call. Instead of panicking while your prospect is on hold, keep your sales conversation flowing instead with a swift search in your answer library.

A friend of mine at Smarsh told me a lot of their salespeople keep RFPIO open during sales calls. Before they adopted RFP software, they had to approach sales engineers or other technical subject matter experts anytime they needed to figure out a quick answer.

This feedback cycle happened by email, phone calls, chat, or meetings. It was challenging for both the salesperson and the SME, who were strapped for time with other priorities. Sales was trying to impress the prospect, but they didn’t have the best process for knowledge sharing to pull that off.

At its core, a solution like RFPIO is a content management platform. The answer library is where companies store their RFP responses. But, a content repository of this caliber brings value above and beyond the RFP process. Your answer library acts as a single source of truth for company knowledge.

Using your answer library for sales success

We’re sure you have knowledge sharing practices in place at your organization, even if you’re not using RFP software. Some salespeople store what they need in Google Docs or spreadsheets. This manual approach tends to be less about knowledge sharing and more about individual methods for organizing information.

There are other content management systems you might use internally to store sales content. While this is a step in the right direction, we often hear from salespeople that these systems end up being more of a workaround rather than a scalable solution. They are not user-friendly and the search functionality just isn’t as good.

That brings us back to RFP software—and our helpful friend, the answer library. Here are some clever ways you can use an RFP answer library for sales enablement on a daily basis.

Discovery Calls

We’ve already covered this, but it’s worth repeating. If you’re an SDR or BDR, hear us out: Use RFP software for your discovery calls and ditch the manual methods you’re using today.

When you don’t have the answer right away, this is one of the easiest ways to find that information. You can log notes and share them with your account executive, so they can take the opportunity from there. One of our coolest features we released recently is RFPIO Lookup, a Chrome extension that allows you to find sales content even faster.

Sales Emails

While we love to minimize email around here, there’s really no way to eliminate them altogether. At the end of the day, you spend a lot of time in your inbox talking to prospects and clients. You send repetitive emails throughout the entire sales cycle.

Quickly pull answers from your RFP content library, and feel free to store common email responses here. That pricing sheet or amazing ebook resource? You can store those in your answer library and send them along to your prospects at will.

P.S. If you need some email templates for your RFP response process, we have several emails in this blog that you can copy and paste.

Sales Training

We actually have several human resources teams that use RFPIO for onboarding. It makes sense, being that you have this huge content repository of company information available. The same use case applies to sales training.

Rather than repeating basic information, empower new hires to find the answer independently in your RFP answer library. Sales training assets can be stored here too.

sales enablement rfp software

Other ways RFP software supports your sales team

We could go on forever about the many clever ways to use your answer library as that single source of truth for your organization. But, let’s go deeper into the sales process with a few other RFP software features that are here to help your sales team be successful.

Pipeline Management

Sales managers, sales directors, and sales VPs need to keep close tabs on the pipeline. Since responding to RFPs is how we gain business, it’s good to know that RFP software offers a pipeline management system.

At any given time, you can see how things are progressing with an important RFP. If you’re wondering what your win / loss ratio looks like for the quarter, you’ll see those numbers in the executive dashboard. Compare year-over-year, and learn that you won $13M from RFPs this year versus $18M last year. When you’re looking at this data in Q3, create a more aggressive RFP response action plan to finish out the year strong.

User Reporting

Your sales operations team can access RFP software user reporting to look at the sales process from a larger encompassing view. Ops can even track the amount of time RFP responders are spending on RFPs. This isn’t about calling anyone out for negative purposes, but it will shed some light on internal roadblocks and opportunities.

When you use RFP software for resource management, you might find out it’s finally time to hire a dedicated proposal manager—or that you need to expand your existing proposal management team. If a salesperson continually jumps into RFP projects as a contributor, going above and beyond their regular job responsibilities, maybe it’s time for a gesture of gratitude or even a promotion.

“Sales teams using Slack experience a 25% increase in potential deals won per year per sales team member.” – IDC Research

Slack Integration

A Slack integration with RFP software is truly a lifesaver for busy salespeople. Any salesperson working on a deal needs to know exactly when an RFP is finished. With a Slack integration, you don’t have to wonder anymore since you see comments about a specific RFP project within Slack.

If you need to jump into an RFP project to review or clarify, simply leave a comment inside RFPIO and the comment gets pushed to Slack. The “RFPIO project” Slack channel will show your comment to that group. Communication is key for any RFP response process. A Slack integration keeps everyone aligned, increasing project visibility while decreasing emails.

Salesforce Integration

For a salesperson, the most important things you do inside RFPIO can be done inside Salesforce. Let’s say you’re the RFP point person and you usually pass off RFPs to a proposal manager, proposal writer, or proposal management team.

To get the project started, import an RFP from Salesforce directly into RFPIO and go about your intake processes. Rather than taking notes somewhere else, add basic details about the RFP to the Opportunity. All of the executive dashboard data points we mentioned previously are visible inside Salesforce.

Salesforce integration with RFP software keeps your team in the application they spend the most amount of time in. This allows your team to centralize sales content and simplify processes.

In conclusion, RFP software is really cool sales enablement technology. This solution addresses so many different organizational needs.You don’t have to be involved in RFP responses to master RFP software. You can use RFP software’s advanced capabilities anytime you need access to company information.

When you adopt RFP software, you’re making an investment to greatly improve your RFP response time. But, you’ll see the investment pay off in many other areas as well.

This is one of the best ways out there for managing content across your organization. You only have so much time to meet your sales objectives. Why not maximize each day with great technology like RFP software?

RFP software use cases that have transformed organizations

RFP software use cases that have transformed organizations

If you think RFP software is just for RFPs, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to clear the air and help you see just how many use cases your organization is missing out on.

The first step is understanding that RFP software is really an intelligent content management system. Capabilities of this kind of technology can reach far beyond responding to request for proposals.

You may have RFP software already, so what follows will help you uncover more ways to maximize the technology you invested in. You may be considering a solution, and this post will help you see the realm of possibilities.

Being that our name is RFPIO, a common misunderstanding we come across is that our solution is only for RFPs—when in fact our clients use the application for numerous projects across departments. Here are some real-world RFP software use case examples that have transformed organizations. Get ready to gain inspiration and efficiency!

RFP software for onboarding

Onboarding new hires is one of the most important first steps when an organization is building a strong team. From job descriptions to employee handbooks, from training materials to online courses…a lot of company information is needed throughout the HR process.

While basic company information may not change too often, it will still change. Roles within the company, and the necessary training to learn the nuances of that job, can change frequently—especially in a growing organization. Having access to the most current company information, and being able to revise HR-related content, are big time-savers for organizations.

RFP software like RFPIO was made to promote collaboration, so any number of users can access the solution. Since usage is not limited, we often see human resources teams using the platform directly for onboarding new-hires. It’s easy for them to learn, and they can quickly use or add content at will to support their hiring efforts.

RFP software for discovery calls

When it’s time to qualify a prospect, it’s up to an SDR (Sales Development Representative) or BDR (Business Development Representative) to pick up the phone and be ready for anything. A prospect will have any number of questions, many of them technical.

While sales should know a product or service inside and out, it’s impossible for them to know every detail. They turn to account executives or product teams for answers, or scour many Google docs and folders to locate information.

RFP software offers a single source of truth for teams within an answer library. Many sales teams we know keep RFPIO open on their computer screens during discovery calls, because they can rapidly search for any type of company or product information and instantly answer prospect questions.

RFP software for proactive proposals

To sell within a highly competitive industry, sales teams must be proactive. Even if a prospect hasn’t issued an RFP, if sales feels their organization is the perfect fit, they can take steps to stand out from the competition.

Creating a proactive proposal isn’t typically a priority for busy teams who are juggling opportunities with multiple prospects. Like any formality with a prospect…these things take time. At this stage in the sales process, it’s more about presenting your organization in a favorable light.

We love seeing how sales teams are assembling proactive proposals with minimal effort using RFPIO. Top content is one our client’s favorite features—they quickly identify the best and most current responses, filtering by star rating or review date. Since presentation is everything with a proactive proposal, they use customized templates to easily export the document with a beautifully branded finish.

“RFPIO can be utilized to manage both Q&A RFPs, as well as unsolicited proposals. Each project includes a ‘tasks’ page where all non-submission tasks can be tracked (e.g. intent to bid, follow-ups, etc.) It has already helped us cut the response/review workflow time in half. As a small team who ships a lot of projects, this is a game changer for us!”- Carah Counts, CareATC

RFP software for sales emails

Sales teams live in their inboxes more than they would like to admit. Whether they are describing features, answering questions, or following up after submitting an RFP…they compose and send hundreds of emails every day.

Even with numerous forms of communication like Slack or LinkedIn, email conversations will inevitably come into play. While there is no way to eliminate email, there are ways to use technology like RFP software to your advantage. Which is exactly what some of our smartest clients do to enable their sales teams.

RFPIO has a great feature that recommends email content. RFPIO Lookup helps sales manage answer library content across all web pages and applications when using a Google Chrome browser. Sales teams can leverage this feature to speed up email responses, and ensure they are presenting quality information that will inform and impress prospects and clients.

RFP software for marketing content

Modern marketing teams greatly depend on content for countless initiatives. Marketing owns: brand guidelines, blog content, email campaigns, testimonials, case studies, ad campaigns, social media content, public relations…and, the list goes on.

We’ll use our own example for this one. When submitting for software awards, repetitive questions kept coming up. Rather than copying and pasting from various documents or creating new answers for each submission, our marketing team used RFPIO to store responses to these questions…

  • Basic company / contact information
  • Product / service value proposition
  • Competitive advantages
  • Employment data
  • Financial data
  • Customer testimonials
  • Awards and achievements

With each award submission, marketing saved time by repurposing previous responses in minutes. Marketing teams are usually familiar with technology like RFP software, because they are involved in the messaging side of the RFP response process. It’s worth stopping to explore how a collaborative, content management platform like RFPIO can be utilized even more.

RFP software for SOWs

Although SOWs are specific to project scope, they don’t need to be created from scratch each time. This is a common trap teams fall into, but there are ways to use technology like RFP software to work smarter with SOWs.

Projects lean toward the complex side. In a recent report by Project Management Institute, only 22% said projects within their organizations had a low level of complexity. Figuring out how to convey the project scope with a highly complex project can be difficult, but it is not impossible when teams have a strong toolset to work with.

rfp project management

Source: Project Management Institute

When our clients use RFPIO to complete SOWs, they are spending much less time than before with documents and spreadsheets. Section templates consist of standard content that can be repurposed and used for different stakeholders. Reusing and assigning content within the application greatly improves workflow for SOWs, from content creation to the review process.

“Running our SOWs through RFPIO has helped us keep our documents better organized. The team can quickly review their assigned sections and they don’t have to scroll like they would do in a Google or Word doc. The time-savings has just been awesome.”- Hayli Hay, Metal Toad

RFP software for grants

Similar challenges and solutions discussed in the previous SOW section also apply to teams writing grants. At a nonprofit organization, resources are typically even more scarce. Grant writing can take a lot of time away from other priorities. The key here is to repurpose your content with the help of technology like RFP software.

Using a manual process will only hold a nonprofit team back from reaching their true potential. Funding is critical for the longevity of any nonprofit organization, so the grants they submit must be accurate and compelling. Grants must be submitted often to keep funding opportunities coming in.

We see nonprofits using RFPIO’s answer library to access powerful stats and current financials to strengthen their grant content—without searching endlessly for these numbers. A sequential review process is also helpful in case a team of one needs to get approval from other directors or a board before submitting.

RFP software for security questionnaires

While sales teams may live in their inboxes, team members who face security questionnaires reside primarily in spreadsheets. Security questionnaires are becoming more common as privacy and security concerns move top of mind for any organization beginning a partnership with another.

On average, a security questionnaire will consist of hundreds of questions—sometimes, thousands. These are the numerous types of security questionnaires…

  • Security Questionnaires and Security Questionnaires Lite – Standardized Information Gathering Questionnaires
  • VSAQ – Vendor Security Assessment Questionnaire
  • CAIQ – Consensus Assessments Initiative Questionnaire
  • VSA – Vendor Security Alliance Questionnaire
  • NIST 800-171 – National Institute of Standards and Technology Questionnaire
  • CIS Controls – Center for Internet Security Questionnaire

….and any variety listed here can be completed efficiently in RFPIO.

Our clients depend on auto-response and bulk answering to cut completion time dramatically, since the solution does a majority of the responding upfront. At the end of the RFP security questionnaire, teams finish up with the source export, which allows them to export back into the original source with clean data.

“RFPIO not only has more flexible configuration for those compliance questions, it does store responses. As far as I can tell, RFPIO is the ONLY software you should be considering.”- Anthony Rossi, MasterControl

“Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed.” Peter Drucker said those words, and we couldn’t agree more.

Every organization has complex projects, and every team is searching for ways to make processes more efficient. Your resources are valuable, and you want to ensure time is spent optimizing strategies rather than managing tasks.

RFP software is an unbeatable time-saver across organizations. We hope these real-world use cases inspire you to think outside the box, so you can utilize automated technology in new ways and achieve higher levels of success.

RFPIO talks growth with Beaverton mayor

RFPIO talks growth with Beaverton mayor

The RFPIO team has called Beaverton home from the beginning. But our relationship with the city has grown even stronger since our most recent move to the Beaverton Building, where we’ve had a chance to connect more closely with local leadership.

Recently, Beaverton Mayor and RFPIO advocate Denny Doyle stopped by to see how things are going with the company and congratulate us personally on our latest round of funding.

We sat down with the mayor to discuss his current initiatives to promote diversity in the Beaverton community, the city’s burgeoning population and business opportunities, and the infrastructure he’s promoting to support and power that growth.

James Doyle and Mayor Denny Doyle

RFPIO’s James Doyle and Mayor Denny Doyle

Prioritizing diversity

Since his election in 2009, Doyle has prioritized making Beaverton a more diverse city and accommodating citizens of all backgrounds to contribute to the community’s growth. One of the ways he’s pushed this initiative is by putting together an official Diversity Advisory Board.

Through the hard work and oversight on the advisory board, they are now publishing local forms in nine different languages including Spanish and Farsi, which has gained attention from officials across the country.

The reason for this push for diversity? Because the people are Beaverton’s best quality, according to Doyle. “It’s a world community here,” he said. We want to encourage people of all backgrounds to join the boards and commissions, and make their businesses grow.”

Fun Team Photo RFPIO

We have fun

Booming business growth

RFPIO is not the only one in Beaverton growing exponentially. Since Doyle moved to the suburban community in the 1980s, he said the population has more than tripled. He looks at this as a huge opportunity to prioritize business and construction projects to ensure economic strength and vitality.

Doyle said they are trying to create an “18 hour downtown,” to keep and attract young people to the community. Part of this initiative is the Patricia Reser Center for the Arts and a boutique hotel that’s currently under construction.

“That’ll be the first new thing built in this region in 35 years,” he said. “It’s been a lot of fun getting to this point.”

Josie and Mayor Doyle

Discussing Beaverton’s potential

Keeping up the momentum

To support the business community, Doyle has gathered a development team to scout locations and encourage new business owners to stay in the area. His background in the technology industry, before he was elected to office, has given him perspective on how to make Beaverton’s unique business community thrive.

So how can RFPIO help contribute to Beaverton’s momentum? Mayor Doyle says to “just keep hiring people! We’re all about growth and we’re trying to adapt to the workplace desires and needs of this generation,” he said. “You can help us do that.”

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