When your organization invests in new technology, you want to make sure the investment is worth it. One of the best ways to get the most out of RFP software is by focusing on a better user experience for your team.
From branding your instance to managing integrations, as with any software, great features become underutilized when times are busy for RFP responders. Since you’re already working in a powerful solution every day, why not look at how you can take full advantage of that technology?
Today we’re taking a shotgun approach to some of our most robust features that we commonly see collecting dust—when they definitely shouldn’t be.
If you don’t have RFP software, it’s good to know how certain features will elevate your current response process so you can make a case for this technology at your organization. If you’re new to RFP software—whether RFPIO or another platform—we’ll show you the possibilities your team can start pursuing quickly through an improved user experience.
Why Focus on User Experience with RFP Response?
During a meeting the other day, the RFPIO team was talking candidly about why RFP responders should care about engaging in this deeper level of functionality. The crux of the matter is: By truly understanding the features in your solution, your team can achieve maximum benefits.
Source: BDO Technology Outlook Survey
On the surface, you might be thinking about user experience in the traditional sense. A good user experience involves less friction and encourages efficiency. These points are absolutely valid, but here are a few other side benefits worth mentioning.
First off, focusing on user experience in your RFP software brings user adoption to the next level. Unearthing an underutilized feature or two will spark conversation internally for you to step up your existing RFP response process.
It also increases adoption. The more familiar and comfortable you can make the solution, the more team members will be inclined to accept new technology and adopt it. Most importantly, taking the time to improve the user experience in your solution sets you up for future success. Using the technology the way it was meant to be increases your effectiveness companywide.
5 Ways to Enhance Your User Experience in RFP Software
Once your team has officially on-boarded with your proposal management solution, it’s time to look at the many ways you can make it your own. The best RFP platforms holds a wealth of customization options already.
By expanding your knowledge, you can take advantage of features you may have wondered about—and others you may not have even noticed.
1. Brand Your Instance
Familiarity increases user adoption, which is why customizing your instance with your logo and branded colors do matter. It seems like a simple tweak, but when you brand your solution appropriately, your team will feel more comfortable.
Another way to make the solution your own is by color coding project type and stage. At a quick glance, you can view your pipeline and stages by color categories. Carrying your brand through the exported templates is also important. The look and feel of the deliverable should align with your brand before submission to the issuer. These are simple things that can make a big impact.
2. Manage Integrations
We live in the age of integrations. All technology needs to talk to each other, to cut down duplicated efforts and promote a seamless experience from start to finish. A good discussion to have with your team is what kind of integrations will be most beneficial during the RFP response process.
The integrations we have chosen for RFPIO are entirely based on feedback from our clients, in addition to our firsthand experience with RFPs. But our integrations are always evolving to keep up with the requirements of responders in the field.
- CRMs – Salesforce is the most common CRM platform, but not everyone uses it. We support these organizations by offering PipelineDeals and Pipedrive. CRM integrations allow you to enter information in the tool your sales team works in daily, so nobody has to re-enter data and slow down the response process.
- Single Sign-On – This is a great way to have a set of specific users and manage your rolodex of internal employees. It even helps with succession planning in case employees leave, so you don’t have to create and remove credentials constantly.
- Cloud Storage – There are no file upload limitations when you’re bringing in content from the cloud. For example, commonly in healthcare RFP responses will be 50+ pages and contain lots of images. With cloud storage integration, you don’t have to worry about file size restrictions, making the import far easier.
- Language Pack – Obviously, not everyone’s native language is English. We have many clients in Europe, and a single office might speak multiple languages. Our language pack allows you to change the specific UI at the user level for five languages: French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese.
- Microsoft Teams – With Salesforce integration, you can only start a project there and kick it off. However, you can use the entire power of RFPIO within Microsoft Teams.
- Sharepoint Online – We recognized that so many clients love Sharepoint and have historical data living there. Within RFPIO, you can easily search for your Sharepoint content without moving the data over.
3. Adjust Security Settings
At the system level, session timeouts are great if you walk away from your computer, at a coffee shop or in the office. IP restrictions offer an extra layer of security as well, since you provide a specific range of IP addresses that are approved.
Sign-in restrictions guide how you want users to sign in, through passwords, Salesforce, Google. Sign-up restrictions work with a specific email alias for invitations within the platform. If you only want @rfpio.com as an email alias, the system will only send to those addresses. That way emails don’t go out to personal emails by mistake.
At the content level, we would really like to see more RFP responders take advantage of these security features. So many folks throw 500 or 3,000 questions into their answer library, and don’t set restrictions with viewing or editing rights.
Adjusting security settings here gives you the ability to restrict sensitive content and section templates by role type (team members, team managers, and admins). Think about the content you’re working with today, and whether more security measures should be in place.
“74% of Tech Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) say cloud computing will have the most measurable impact on their business in 2017.” – 2017 BDO Technology Outlook Survey
4. Develop Merge Tags and Custom Fields
Merge tags are the best. Project metadata might include: type, stage, due date, client name, etc. Depending on the focus at your organization, you can update generic tags by defining merge tags (i.e. city or product1) so your instance is customized to fit your organizational needs.
Custom fields are helpful for teams as well. Whether you want to track a project ID number or several subsidiaries, create fields to organize those details. For Salesforce users, you can map custom fields at the opportunity level.
5. Leverage Collections
Collections are a neat way for you to create siloed walls within your answer library. Assign certain pieces of content to a collection, so approved users have access to it.
Let’s say you have several locations set up globally, with different RFP responses specified for each in your answer library. With collections, the European office won’t have access to the content specific to the Asia office. Pretty cool, right?
Phew…still with me? As you can see, there are so many ways to customize your RFP software solution. Proposal management teams who are more vested in the overall user experience will find better user adoption and reap more benefits as a whole.
Think about how you can go deeper to get the most out of your RFP software. Your team will be stronger in the long run if you maximize the technology you already have in your hands.