It’s 7 pm on a Thursday. Jen, an RFP Manager at Unicorn Inc., just received the email she’s been waiting for all week from her product team. Now, she can finally put together the RFP response that is due tomorrow.
With a giant mug of coffee, Jen gets to work, copying and pasting responses from the entire team into the original RFP document. An hour later, she’s not even halfway through. Doing a quick stretch in between a stream of CTRL–C’s and CTRL–V’s, Jen makes a mental note that she needs to look into a solution that will help her with her RFPs. But when is she going to do it? She’s got two more RFPs due next week!
This is a classic example of a catch-22.
You’re always playing catch up with your RFP responses, and you know there must be a better way of doing them. But you delay looking into RFP response software because you’re concerned about the time and manpower – already scarce resources – that it will take to evaluate and implement the solution.
Responding to RFPs manually is not a very sustainable or scalable way of doing them. But if you invest a bit of time upfront to evaluate and implement an RFP response solution, you could save an average of 14 hours on each response going forward!
Step 1 – Map Out Your Current RFP Response Process
The RFP response process involves many moving parts – content storage and management, collaboration, final document preparation, etc. Take a bit of time to map out your current process and identify the areas where you and your team are facing the most challenges.
Doing this will help you narrow your search down to solutions that address your most pressing needs.
Step 2 – Get Your Hands on Available Resources
Many other organizations have successfully gone through the implementation process. Get your hands on supporting materials like ROI reports, customer success stories, and best practice guides to help you learn from other teams’ experiences.
Step 3 – Find the Right Partner
Implementing a new solution doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking. The right software partner will guide your team toward painless and successful implementation.
An experienced Customer Success team can take some of the implementation load off of you by:
- Providing your team with resources and best practices
- Offering you their expertise and strategic guidance
- Helping set goals and milestones that are important to your team through a customized implementation plan
- Having regular check-ins to keep everyone on track
Step 4 – Build Out Your RFP Content Library
Remember the Simpsons episode where Marge wins a house cleaning services package. Because she’s concerned about what the cleaning lady will think of her, Marge goes on a cleaning craze right before and ends up knocking herself unconscious. Well, building an RFP library has a similar effect on some people.
The good news is that you don’t need to have a perfect RFP library to start saving time with RFP response software, but you do need to be strategic and thoughtful!
In other words, don’t be like Marge.
Start by figuring out an effective library structure for your content. You’ll want to create a structure that makes your search process smoother and helps you easily maintain and update your content.
We have another blog post that goes over library structure best practices and the fine art of categorizing and tagging your content.
What you don’t need is for your library to be a huge data dump. If you bring too much information into your new RFP response library, you run the risk of having overlapping content which makes it hard to maintain and update it going forward.
Based on the hundreds of successful implementations our Customer Success team has done, they will tell you that there isn’t a ‘one size fits it all’ approach to populating your library with content.
Some organizations can benefit from bringing in content from their most recent RFPs, while others can use an FAQ template to start building out their content repository. But sometimes, the best option is to start from scratch and build a library as you go.
Here’s an infographic that highlights the key best practices for evaluating and implementing RFP software.
Download Loopio’s Guide to Implementing RFP Software to see how you can escape the Catch-22 and make implementing your RFP response software easier and quicker.