You Can’t Afford to Keep Your Old RFP Process: 4 Benefits of Technology

Author: 
Beau Wysong

RFPs are a pain. There’s really no way around it. Responding to proposal requests is a slow process that adds time to the sales cycle. For many businesses, the RFP process has changed very little over the years. Manual processes tie up the sales and marketing team for weeks as they sift through previous answers to repetitive questions, chase responses to new questions, verify the information and seek approvals, over and over again. When you add up the hours, it’s a costly process.

In today’s competitive landscape, sales and marketing teams must be even more efficient, collaborative and agile than ever ⁠— and RFP software delivers. With an RFP solution, businesses are more efficient, collaborative and successful. Beyond making RFPs less painful; establishing a quick, repeatable process for RFPs can have a direct impact on revenue. 

Here are four RFP solution benefits you may be missing out on:

The Advantage of Speed

For many, the first step to answering an RFP is digging through old proposals to try and match the questions with questions that have been previously answered. The constant copying and pasting of answers pulled from spreadsheets, shared Google docs and emails is a huge waste of time.

The biggest benefit of RFP software is how quickly it impacts efficiency. With quicker responses, you’ll have more overall opportunities to deliver consistent and compelling responses that are more likely to win the business. A centralized knowledge library for response content keeps your team from rewriting existing answers and allows you to collect data and keep the best answers for future use.

Most RFP software solutions are cloud-based for quick deployment. They start to deliver value the moment the standard answers and first proposal are uploaded into the system. The software analyzes the questions and recommends the correct answers, completing on average around 60 to 70 percent of the RFP. For unanswered questions, you can turn to RFP software’s collaboration tools.

The Power of Collaboration

Effective RFPs require significant collaboration between many subject matter experts (SMEs) and various stakeholders. But without RFP software, sales and marketing teams must track down and coordinate individually with every involved department. Chasing answers takes hours as the RFP travels from product management to legal to IT to finance and beyond.

RFP solutions make this easy by allowing real-time communication and collaboration between internal and external teams. Sales and marketing teams simply upload the proposal and can begin working on the document, assigning questions and notifying SMEs of the proposal request. 

RFP management solutions also enable teams to capture and capitalize on the knowledge and innovation of team. RFP answers are stored in the knowledge library for future use and updated anytime. As you receive more RFPs and your business grows, so does the power of your knowledge library.

The Efficiency of Automation

Automation is everywhere. From paying bills to adjusting the thermostat and now RFPs, automation gives you more time to spend however you want. But without an RFP solution, you may be missing huge opportunities for automation

Doing unnecessary analog work in processes where software can help holds your team back. Not to mention, manual tasks leave room for human error and inconsistency. Automating the RFP process frees your team up focus on more strategic, valuable work that can give your business an advantage.

Leading RFP technology uses artificial intelligence (AI) to identify common RFP questions and match them with the correct response, saving you from looking up each response individually. It can also send notifications, alerts and reminders to respond to new questions, refresh old content or prompt you to proactively update your vendor profile.

The Protection of Clear Communication

Incorrect and outdated answers can be slip through the cracks when you’re moving quickly to meet a rapidly approaching deadline. Inaccurate information introduces risk and can be costly. A single wrong or out-of-date answer can lead to exclusion from consideration, prolonged negotiations, delays in contracting or worse.

RFP software makes it easy for proposal writers from sales and marketing to view answer data including how often the answer is used, when it was last updated and by whom, as well as who approved the response. It also tracks changes and has user permissions to ensure that the right answers are coming from the right people. In addition, RFP solutions allow your team to easily track progress and set reminders so you don’t miss out on an opportunity.

RFP Software for the Win

RFP software accelerates your process to get you into consideration faster, close more business and give you even more opportunities to win. Almost every organization, regardless of size, will have to deal with RFPs. They aren’t going away, which is why it’s time to make them easier with RFP software.

Beau Wysong is chief marketing officer at RFP360. He leverages his extensive background in technology marketing and sales to drive business growth for the software company.