When you’re a vendor, the fact that you have been shortlisted for a new project could be excellent news. However, even if the sales team respects the entire RFP process, participating in it can still prove difficult – unless you use an RFP automation platform, of course.
Within numerous teams we’ve talked to, responses are stored in random folders, on PCs belonging to various members of the team. This approach can be considerably improved.
We have encountered large teams which have put together a giant spreadsheet with all the questions that they have received in time, as well as all the provided answers. This is a better option than coming up with ad-hoc responses, but it still requires team members to spend hours reading documents and trying to come up with a proper response strategy, when there’s actually a better way of managing your RFP response process.
Implementing and using an RFP automation platform can help you avoid mishaps like losing emails, deliverability changes, not including the right people on an email or forgetting to include attachments.
There are numerous mistakes companies make when writing a request for proposal, but they can be avoided. Making everything about your company and not the customer, writing a boring executive summary, not meeting with Key Decision Makers, being slower than the customer expects or not keeping all the odds in your favour in the Excel matrix are just some of the errors that can cost your business. We have covered this topic in-depth recently, in an article about 5 common RFP mistakes to avoid when writing your request for proposal.
Using an RFP automation platform can help you avoid all these mistakes, but also take your entire RFP response process to a whole new level. Let’s see what the main reasons are why you should start using an RFP automation platform.
1. Submit improved responses, by easily getting in touch with SMEs
It’s crucial for an organization to identify the key stakeholders who able to offer relevant responses when it comes to different areas of the RFP, but also focus on the questions that they are prepared to answer.
Subject matter experts can offer very valuable input for RFP responses, but, unfortunately, their busy schedules doesn’t always allow them to help. By opting for an RFP management software, you can fully automate this process, by assigning questions, due dates and sending reminders, so they won’t forget that you need their help. In the end, it’s all about communication.
2. Consolidate knowledge and information
Using a centralized solution is a great way to ensure that everybody involved in the RFP response process can easily access all the data and documents they need.
An RFP automation platform means no more merging documents, but also the possibility to easily assign writers to their sections and questions, attaching additional files and embeding media in the responses.
3. Lower turnaround time for responses
By reducing or totally eliminating manual tasks, you automatically shorten the turnaround time for responses – which will help your team meet tight deadlines.
Automating the RFP response process will help you reduce the time spent searching through Word documents, as well as emails and spreadsheets, not to mention that it can also cut back on the time SMEs spend with the process.
One of the most important benefits is that you will use a searchable knowledge base, which, if you ask us, is absolutely critical. And it automatically leads to the facilitation of knowledge sharing, the effect of which will become noticeable throughout your organisation. Read more in-depth about how a knowledge sharing culture can improve your bottom line on our blog.
4. Create an efficient workflow
An instantly visible effect of implementing an RFP automation platform in your company is a more efficient workflow.
All the details of the RFP response process, including details like the initial call for proposals, deadlines and important documentation will be in one place. And that’s not all: you will also have a comprehensive checklist, showing you everything that needs to be done, at your disposal.
This will streamline the entire RFP response process, and also raise your chances of achieving your goals.
5. Promote efficient collaboration
The best way to do this is to ensure that everybody works towards attainment of the shared goal. The precondition is that both those writing the RFP and the subject matter experts clearly understand and agree on what and why they’re after. A clear means – ends structure which is acknowledged by all provides intrinsic motivation, and it makes people more willing to invest effort into goal achievement. Process documentation can make a significant contribution to grasping the goal structure.
These are just a few of the benefits that your organisation will enjoy after successfully implementing an RFP automation platform. Still, convincing your superiors that it’s worth investing in it can be a challenge.
The best approach is to present meaningful data and statistics, showing exactly why and how your company is losing time and other resources when it comes to dealing with requests for proposals. Then, focus on how this software can fix all those issues. Don’t resume to a simple “it’s good to have it”, but instead explain how it will create efficiency. We wrote a detailed piece on how to convince management to get the RFP software you need.
The key takeaway here is that an RFP response automation platform will completely transform the manual process a lot of companies are still using. Are you one of them?