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A Guide to Implementing RFP Software

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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.

The Catch

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.

"Im so swamped with RFPs" So... "I need to find a solution to help me save time" But.. "I don't have time to find and implement a solution" Because... "I'm so swamped with RFPs".

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!

Graph showing a 28.73 percent decrease in response time (47.67 hours before Loopio, and 33.97 hours after implementing Loopio).
Average number of hours spent on an RFP 
Source: Loopio RFP Response Software value guide

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:

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.

Marge Simpson cleaning the floor with a mop.
‍[image source: http://bit.ly/2zwjQxz]

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.

Structure

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.

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.

Summary

Here’s an infographic that highlights the key best practices for evaluating and implementing RFP software.

1. Stop delaying the inevitable and look for a solution that will help you save time. 2. Make a list of your teams top 3 RFP response challenges. 3. Look at possible solutions that have features to help solve these challenges. 4. Use available resources (case studies, reviews, ROI Reports, etc) to assess the solution and learn from other customers that have successfully gone through the process.

Implementation Process: 1. Trust the experts. The customer success team has extensive experience and expertise. 2. Don't panic when it comes to your RFP library. Break this step into manageable chunks and do them one at a time. 3. Your RPF library is not a content dump. Figure out a library structure that makes the most sense for your content and organization. 4. Build out your library using one of these approaches: Bring in the most up-to-date from your top 3 RFP's, Bring in an existing FAQ or a "Golden RFP Content Template", Start from scratch and build out your library as you go.

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.

Download the Guide

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