Our first-ever customer conference, Loopicon, brought over 150 RFP, Security, Marketing, and Sales professionals together in Toronto to foster connections and learn from one another.
The sheer diversity in roles and industries made networking at Loopicon a truly remarkable experience. Not only were attendees able to meet people in similar roles, but they also gained exposure to a range of other professionals sharing the same values and challenges. Industries from insurance and financial services, software and telecom, to education and healthcare were all present. Company sizes from 50+ employees to 10000+, and roles like Bid Managers, VPs of Sales, Sales Engineers, Directors of Compliance, Security Analysts, Directors of Technology all attended Loopicon with a common desire to make time for what matters.
If you missed it, or could only catch one of the two days- we’ve captured some highlights and key-takeaways here for you.
Meeting Our Customers
Working across borders can make meeting face to face rare. Loopicon was an opportunity for the Loopio team to meet many of our customers in person for the first time! Our Senior Leadership team had a great time chatting and getting to know our customers better as well.
If you missed it, our CEO Zak Hemraj, had a special message for all of our customers:
On day 1, Mark Roberge, Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School and Founding CRO at Hubspot, opened the conference with a thought-provoking presentation on crafting RFP responses for the digitally-empowered modern buyer. A modern sales team builds their process around supporting the buyer, and the RFP response should be crafted with the same approach. The first step in the RFP response process is not responding, but understanding where the buyer is in the buyer journey. RFP responses should be tailored to the buyer through a deep understanding of the “why” behind each element of the RFP. In Mark's words, “Reframe the RFP to be aligned with your unique value proposition or walk away”.
On day 2, Elay Cohen, Co-Founder of Saleshood, led a discussion on sales enablement that matters. Enablement, Elay believes, is a company-wide initiative, and it is important to realize that if you are part of the RFP of Security Questionnaire response process at your company, you are already doing sales enablement whether you realize it or not.
Elay also discussed the core competencies of sales enablement and how to nurture a coaching and learning culture within your team. He left behind a process map on Twitter for anyone interested in exploring the concept further.
“The Flip Side: Understanding the Procurement Perspective”
This was a highly engaging panel featuring some strong players in the procurement space. Some insights from this panel included:
- Though often viewed in a negative light, blind RFPs are meant to be a fair opportunity for vendors to present themselves. For the procurement team, it’s about finding the best value through a fair, open, and transparent process.
- Over the last decade, there’s been a shift that’s seen procurement professionals focus more on innovation and implementation over price. Increasingly, it is value-creation that wins over price.
- Often there will be multiple people evaluating an RFP response, including SMEs who tackle the more technical aspects. When multiple versions of the same question are asked, consider the fact that the response may be broken up on the procurement side for multiple people to review in parts. Those repetitive questions serve a purpose and it’s best to answer them in full rather than answer by referencing a previous answer (i.e. “see question 8).
“Building Teams and Processes for Scale”
This panel was interactive and involved the use of Sli.do to poll the audience and discuss the results with our panelists. Key insights from this panel included:
- Centralized, decentralized, or hybrid response model? Panelists discussed which works best for their respective teams. Overall, audience poll results indicated the use of a centralized model to be most effective.
- Content maintenance and upkeep remain to be the biggest challenge across all teams no matter the industry, role, or company size.
- All panelists agreed on the importance of having some form of training process in place to get everyone involved in the response process on the same page
Loopicon was packed with interactive sessions from a range of topics centered around the main challenges the audience faced: content management, collaboration, response process alignment and more. Here are some session highlights:
Winning Business: What You’re Not Doing Makes All the Difference
- Speaker: Hamish Mckenzie, Founder of Mckenzie Pitch Partners
- Key insight: Repetition builds reinforcement, and reinforcement builds retention. Repetition in an RFP is a good thing. A way to continually showcase that you understand the needs of the RFP issuer.
Why Security Questionnaires Should Be a Part of Your Sales Strategy
- Speaker: Linda White, Director of Cyber Security at UI Path
- Key insight: Over the last few years, we've been seeing an increase in the number of regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, PCI that organizations now have to adhere to. It's only a matter of time before your organization will have to respond to a Security Questionnaire so it's important to be prepared for it.
Building a Culture of Collaboration
- Speakers: Amy Appleyard, SVP Global Inside Sales at Carbon Black and Christie Fitzgerald, Solutions Consulting Manager at Sprinklr
- Key insight: Build out a process for collaboration. RFPs take a lot of work. Having a model for RFP collaboration that includes participation criteria and an outline of the response can help drive response efficiency
Keeping Track of Key Metrics in Your Response Process
- Speaker: Ellie Ransom, Solutions Consultant at Splash
- Different kinds of metrics paint a different picture of the health of your response process and allow you to make more informed decisions. Ellie went through key metrics her teams track and how tracking them impacts the sales process, resource allocation, and time spent per project.
Tips and Tactics to Maximize Efficiency when Responding to RFPs
- Speakers: Sarah Small, Solutions Architecture Team Lead at Veracode, and Rob Wunder, RFP Team Lead at IBM Watson Health Imaging
- Key insight: Have templates and materials on hand to make responding to RFPs as quick and painless as possible. Also leverage SME tiger teams (a team of specialists in a particular field brought together to work on specific tasks) to maintain your content freshness.
Land & Expand Loopio into Multiple Use Cases
- Speaker: Ben Chen, Sr. Sales Engineer at Clari
- Key insight: It’s common practice to have Security Whitepapers that can be proactively sent to a customer, that summarizes everything typically covered in a Security Questionnaire. Loopio has the ability to manage these proactive whitepapers.