As we enter a new year we set new goals, and aim for higher heights. Growth is a word you’ll hear a lot at the beginning of a new year. In order to achieve growth, you need processes that are built to scale with your growing business. The RFP response process acts as a critical part of the sales cycle, and if it isn’t scalable, your proposal and sales teams will have a hard time meeting their growth targets. We’ve rounded up some resources that will help scale your RFP response process in 2019.
“Ensure that you define a process which allows flexibility when it is required. The ability to respond to a dynamic environment will be a critical component of your ability to produce responses with a high probability of wins. Flexibility must envelop your people, technologies, and procedures holistically.”
-Matt Krumholz | Senior Manager, RFP Programs | LogRhythm
Decide whether to Respond to an RFP
Let’s start with the basics. Without a consistent structure in place to evaluate if an RFP is worth responding to, you’re going to spend a lot of valuable time working on proposals that aren’t a good fit for your business. Working this way is not scalable.
Establishing a go/no-go evaluation process is your first line of defence to guarding the time and energy of busy Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), sales, and proposal teams. With a go/no-go process in place, you’ll have a clear and consistent way to evaluate incoming RFPs that everyone involved in the RFP response process is aligned on.
This resource will help you determine the key factors to include when developing an RFP evaluation process, and also includes a sample RFP intake form for you to build off of.
- 6 minute read: 4 Ways to Determine if an RFP is Worth Responding To
“Not every deal is created equal; some have higher dollar size, some have better relationships some are a better fit than others. I wanted to have a great qualification process where we could determine which deals we had the highest likelihood of winning. I wanted to prioritize my time so I am using it in the most valuable way. I also wanted to enable sales and not act as a roadblock. So we developed a strong go/no go process.”
-Jessie Kingsford| Proposal Manager | Qualtrics
Optimize Your RFP Team Structure
There is no one-size fits all structure. How your RFP response team is structured will depend on your unique business needs. There are two common models followed: centralized and decentralized, but most RFP teams work somewhere in the middle with a hybrid approach. Both models have their pros and cons.
A decentralized model puts the onus of responding in the receivers hands. This works well when immediacy in response is most important or when sales teams readily have the information they need to respond. Centralized models put the RFP response in the hands of an RFP team or proposal manager. Centralized models allow for a more streamlined process where a shared workload can be advantageous for busy departments that collaborate on RFP projects.
Choosing a structure that works for your business goals is ultimately the way to go when preparing for scale. This resource walks you through the centralized, decentralized, and hybrid models so you can decide which works best for you.
- 7 minute read: Optimizing your RFP Response Process and Team for Success
Get Your Content Management in Order
Your content is the foundation of your response efficiency. If your content is clearly organized, easily searchable, and continually updated then your content management process will be ready for scale.
Determine where you stand
It may be hard to figure out whether your RFP content management process is solid, or in need of a little extra TLC. Before addressing the gaps in your process, you need to know what they are. This quiz will help you find out if your RFP content management process is ready for scale.
Put the right steps in place
An inefficient content management process can create knowledge silos across your team, leave room for copy and paste errors from one document to another, and foster stale content as a consequence of it going unreviewed. From the organization of your content library to implementing a content review process, there are a few structural changes that can be made to reverse the effects of a lackluster content management process.
This resource will help you fill the gaps in your content management process and build one that is ready for scale in 2019 and beyond!
“When building out or maintaining your library, be diligent in the types of content you keep in it. For example, do not add to your base of answers client-specific questions that will never come up again. That will only create more ‘noise’ to weed through when you are looking for the good content that is reusable.”
-Sarah Sinclair | Proposal Manager | Netskope
Foster A Culture of Collaboration
You can have the most thoughtful and organized RFP response process in place, but its true success lies with the culture fostered within your organization. Collaboration, not just within the RFP team, but with sales and SMEs as well, is key to success,.
Establishing a culture of collaboration starts with alignment across all departments. Alignment provides clarity across an entire company on how each departmental gear turns to keep the entire machine running smoothly.
This blog post offers more information on fostering a culture of collaboration
- 4 minute read: Collaboration is Key to Helping Sales Teams Close More
“Collaboration requires a mindset shift from thinking in silos to thinking of co-creating an ecosystem that supports everybody. If the corporate culture focuses on collaboration, you’ll get collaboration. However, if it’s not part of your company’s core values and beliefs, every department will live in a silo, and the company will not thrive.”
-Gerhard Gschwandtner | Founder & Publisher | Selling Power Magazine
Track Your Success
You’ve got a go/no-go process in place, your team is structured to meet the demands of your RFP process, you’ve organized your content library and initiated content review cycles, and your team is collaborating better than ever, now what?
Like all business processes, your RFP response process should evolve to spot roadblocks before they become a problem. But how do you do this if you are not tracking the health of your RFP response process?
Tracking metrics in the RFP response process will allow you to see patterns and proactively address them. There may be certain times of the year where the volume of RFPs you receive is low. Knowing this enables you to plan ahead when scheduling content reviews and other housekeeping. Scalability is about being agile and proactive in the maintenance of the processes you put in place, and metrics allow you to gauge how successful those processes are.
This guide shows you the metrics you could be tracking in your RFP response process.
- 8 minute read: Key Metrics to Track in Your RFP Response Process
As you set out to scale your RFP response process in the new year, be sure to focus on building consistent, well-organized processes that all teams involved in the response process are aligned on. An excellent place to start is establishing a go/no go process. From there, take a look at how your team is structured and see if a centralized or decentralized model works best. Ensure you have a healthy content management process in place and that all teams are collaborating seamlessly. Finally, be sure to track the success of the processes you’ve put in place with the use of key metrics.