Connect, learn and strategize at Responsive Summit 2023. Also, check out the blog about our rebrand.


Start Responding Like a Pro

The RFPIO blog is full of insights and best practices, giving you the tools you’ll need to streamline your process and respond with confidence.

From RFPIO to Responsive: An inside look at our brand evolution

From RFPIO to Responsive: An inside look at our brand evolution

RFPIO is now Responsive. Get an inside look at the next step in our evolution.

Category: Company & Events

From RFPIO to Responsive: An inside look at our brand evolution

From RFPIO to Responsive: An inside look at our brand evolution

RFPIO is now Responsive. That’s the headline, but it’s not the whole story. We’re excited to share the details of our journey including why we made the change, how we got here, what’s next and an inside look at our brand evolution.

Explore the story

From RFPIO to Responsive: The story behind the brand

Built on a shared vision to transform the way that businesses exchange information, Ganesh Shankar, AJ Sunder and Sankar Lagudu founded RFPIO in 2015. Armed with insights from first-hand experiences and their collective expertise in product management, software development and operational excellence, they set to work bringing RFPIO to life. 

In the intervening years, a lot has happened within RFPIO, our industry and the world. We’ve grown along with our customers, pioneered industry best practices and watched as the world embraced digital transformation.

We’ve always known that technology could deliver faster, better RFP responses that result in increased win rates and revenue. But RFPs are just the beginning. In the current global landscape, our customers need to be able to manage responses of all kinds with unparalleled efficiency, accuracy and confidence. And with our platform, they do. 

Since the beginning, customers have leveraged RFPIO to respond to all kinds of requests. We work with people in all roles, at all levels within a business. Sales and marketing teams create proposals and answer RFPs, RFQs and RFIs to win business. Security teams answer vendor risk assessments and SIG questionnaires to share vital information. Legal teams collaborate on due diligence questionnaires to illuminate and secure game-changing transactions. And crucially, we work with the CEOs, CTOs, CFOs and CROs who are seeking a single, unifying way to remove roadblocks for their teams and drive growth.

We believe that anyone who responds to any kind of query or question deserves to have a way to do that as efficiently and effectively as possible while protecting their organization from risk and ensuring compliance. Our new name, Responsive, reflects that core belief.

We empower every user, regardless of their position or department, to answer questions once and save their valuable time and energy for doing what’s most important to them. Our brand needed to more accurately embody that holistic sense of collaboration, clarity and efficiency.

This is more than just a new name and logo. It signals our deeper understanding of the fundamental human connection between colleagues, partners and organizations. You’ll see this evolution take shape in the way Responsive looks, how we communicate and how we develop our platform.

Being Responsive

Responsive, formerly RFPIO, CEO Ganesh Shankar Headshot

Ganesh Shankar
Chief Executive Officer

As Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of RFPIO, now Responsive, Ganesh Shankar leads by example. In partnership with co-founders AJ Sunder (CPO/CIO) and Sankar Lagudu (COO), Ganesh models the foundational company values established at the company’s inception — notably a dedication to serving customers, employees and shareholders.

This focus has remained constant as the company has grown. It’s manifested in long-term customer relationships, countless awards and a reputation for innovation. Driven to fulfil the company’s mission and realize our vision, Ganesh sees the new brand as the next stage in our evolution.

Why is RFPIO now Responsive? Why is the company name changing?

GS: When we selected the name RFPIO, it served us well. We needed a name that was short and meaningful. Because our mission was to make RFPs as simple and easy as inputs and outputs, RFPIO was the perfect fit. It made it immediately apparent to anyone we talked to what we were all about.

In the years since then, we’ve grown and seen customers use RFPIO beyond RFPs. The platform allows them to be collaborative and compliant working with the right people internally. They are able to minimize risk and redundancies to become more efficient and effective. 

We’re helping customers streamline and manage all of their strategic responses. We knew we needed a name that reflected the broader value of the platform. Shifting from RFPIO to Responsive reflects that holistic approach to the larger organizational need for strategic response management.

Why now?

GS: Given the challenging global economy, where everyone is expected to do more with less, we have a solution that helps our customers do just that. We want our customers to realize the highest possible ROI using the platform and that means leveraging its capabilities to answer more than RFPs. So this repositioning helps to communicate that.

Why did the name Responsive resonate?

GS: Responsive is more than a name, it’s a character trait. That really resonated with us because we’ve always been responsive.

One of our values is to be agile and nimble. To us, that means seeing what our customers need, hearing their feedback and putting it into action. We’ve been successful because of our dedication to launching high-quality products and features quickly to delight our customers — another one of our values. So, the name Responsive automatically clicked with us. It reinforces how we want our teams to be. We want them to always have the customer’s success in mind.

The name is also a reminder of how we will continue to be successful in the future — being responsive to our customer, employee and shareholder needs. All three are necessary, and the name speaks to each.

What can customers expect from Responsive moving forward?

GS: Our commitment to customers is the same — to always be responsive. It’s part of our company culture and will continue to be. We will continue to deliver the value our customers deserve and depend on. It’s really that simple.

What does the future look like for Responsive?

GS: When envisioning the future after our rebranding, we recognize that our customers, investors and employees are at the heart of our success. 

For our customers, this rebrand signifies an enhanced commitment to delivering exceptional experiences, best-in-class solutions and exceeding their expectations. We will continuously listen to their feedback, adapt to their evolving needs, and offer innovative products and services that improve their lives.

To our investors, the rebrand showcases our strategic vision and the potential for long-term growth and profitability. We are dedicated to maximizing shareholder value by leveraging our reimagined brand to capture new market opportunities, drive revenue growth, and maintain a solid financial foundation.

Our employees are integral to our future success. The rebranding reflects our unwavering commitment to providing a great place to work with a culture of collaboration and innovation.

Overall, our rebranding signals a future where we build deeper connections with our customers, forge strong partnerships with investors and cultivate a thriving community within our organization. Together, we will create a shared future marked by growth, prosperity and collective achievement.

Finally, what does it mean to you to be Responsive?

GS: Personally, I take our commitment to our customers very seriously. When a customer signs up, we are committing to empowering their success. The word responsive directly reflects that focus and fuels that drive to help our customers meet their goals.

According to our customers,
we've always been Responsive.

“RFPIO’s team is so cooperative and responsive! Their goal is to truly be a partner to us in our RFP efforts.”

— Lauren, Customer review from Software Advice

“The feature set continues to grow and RFPIO is very responsive to customer feedback.”

John, Customer review from G2
“Whether we enter a support ticket or email with our account representative, the team is 100% responsive and ensures that our question/need is addressed … I could not ask for a better vendor partner.”

— Andrew, Customer review from G2

“Everything about our experience has been extremely positive. From the outset they were responsive and attentive."

— Customer review from G2
“RFPIO’s customer support and account management teams are extremely responsive, pleasant, helpful and have ensured a seamless implementation/adoption at every step of the way.”

— Jesse, Customer review from Capterra
Previous slide
Next slide

Becoming Responsive

Michael Londgren CMO of Responsive formerly RFPIO Headshot

Michael Londgren
Chief Marketing Officer

As Chief Marketing Officer, Michael Londgren draws from decades of executive experience guiding strategy and scaling world-class technology businesses. He has a passion for taking businesses to the next level and a proven track record.

His approach leverages his past successes building category-leading brands, delivering value to customers and driving hypergrowth. Michael empowers cross-functional collaboration and alignment, organizational excellence and innovative thinking — crucial skills for successfully shifting from RFPIO to Responsive.

What’s the ultimate goal for rebranding the company?

ML: The ultimate goal for rebranding to Responsive is to properly position the company given its expanded value proposition supporting multiple use cases. The name RFPIO served the company well early on when the primary use case the company focused on was RFPs. The platform has since expanded to support not only RFPs but security questionnaires, DDQs, RFIs and many other kinds of information requests. So, we needed a name that more holistically reflects our business-wide value proposition.

Generally, I wouldn’t recommend rebranding a company that already has such a strong brand and commanding presence in the market. But, in our case, the company has grown to support so many other important use cases that an RFP-centric name no longer accurately represented the tremendous value the platform delivers. 

How are you thinking about the category Responsive participates in?

ML: In our view, Responsive is the breakout leader in an emerging new category called Strategic Response Management (SRM). In fact, Aragon Research just published THE seminal paper on SRM titled Getting to Faster Business Results with SRM. Aragon’s paper does a wonderful job identifying the emergence of this new category, highlighting SRM’s value proposition, and arguing that SRM is the “next must have GTM solution.”

We are thrilled Responsive was named as pioneering the category and to see capabilities we deliver as core to a best in class SRM solution. We also feel that our Responsive name is more reflective of our overall leadership position in the category given the breadth of use cases we support.

A rebrand is a big undertaking. Where did you start?

ML: Our rebranding journey started with the realization at our executive leadership team level that we’d outgrown the RFPIO name. RFPIO had served us incredibly well early on because it did a nice job communicating what we were about: RFPs. However, it’d become clear that the name had become limiting and not reflective of our overall value proposition.

Once our team aligned on that realization, we pulled in an award-winning agency, Barrett Hofherr to assist us with our rebranding efforts. B/H helped us drive a process whereby we explored and refined our vision, mission, and value proposition while also coming up with a new company name and visual identity.

When looking for a new name, what were the criteria?

ML: We wanted a name that reflected our value proposition. It also needed to be authentic to our team and culture. It needed to be simple, memorable and available. Beyond that it needed to work on a global scale communicating value across all countries, segments, industries and use cases. 

The process we went through with B/H was thoughtful and thorough. You’ll laugh, but we actually built a model to weigh different options against these and other criteria to help inform our naming decision. When we landed on Responsive, we vetted both the name and logo extensively — with internal stakeholders as well as external customers, partners, analysts and other ecosystem partners.

What else did you do? Walk us through the process.

ML: While exploring name and then logo options, the team began working cross functionally to build the activation plan for the brand both internally and externally. This plan included sharing updates with our internal teams and the company as a whole over the course of our journey (and incorporating a lot of feedback along the way), developing and refining messaging, hosting internal brand workshops, building a new website, updating core materials, and outlining our roll-out strategy including website launch, PR announcement and social campaign. 

Moving forward, what we’re most excited about is truly bringing the Responsive brand to life through the voice of our customers as they increasingly adopt our platform and get value across a number of use cases in their business.

How have people reacted to the name?

ML: People across the board have reacted very positively. When we unveiled Responsive internally during a company-wide all hands meeting as our proposed new name, it was very exciting to see the Zoom chat light up with dozens of positive reactions to the news. When that happened, we knew we had a winner and had landed on the right spot.

Similarly, customers, stakeholders and experts that we’ve shared the name with have reacted positively as well. They agree that it’s more reflective of the overall value proposition.

What does Responsive mean to you?

ML: To me, to be responsive means to be empathetic, truly understand needs and respond accordingly. That’s what we do. That’s who we are. 

Responsive is a natural evolution from our beginnings. The name reflects the fact that we’re helping organizations respond across the board to information requests. But, importantly, it also signifies being interactive with customers and truly working to meet their needs. 

Responsive perfectly embodies our team and culture, the value proposition we’re extending to customers and the value proposition we enable our customers to extend to their audiences while using our platform.

Looking Responsive

Wil Dimpfmaier

Wil Dimpflmaier
Creative Director

As Creative Director, Wil Dimpflmaier was tasked with transforming the new name from a simple word and concept into a memorable, engaging and cohesive visual brand identity — no easy feat. The new look needed to represent the evolution from RFPIO to Responsive, staying true to the foundational ethos of the company.

Working with a team of talented designers and B/H while drawing inspiration from the sense of momentum and connection inherent in the Responsive name, the brand began to take shape.

The end result? A look that feels excitingly fresh, but reassuringly familiar. Drawing from previous design elements and embracing the bold colors, dimensional layers and engaging textures of Wil’s signature style, the Responsive visual identity is distinct, impactful and engaging.

What were your goals for the new look of Responsive?

WD: From the outset, I knew we needed to take a holistic approach to the design to ensure that the Responsive brand resonates wherever people engage with it. With that in mind, we had a few design directives we needed to incorporate into the new brand.

First, we wanted to preserve the essence of RFPIO while positioning ourselves for the future. Second, we needed to create a logo that speaks to our range of use cases and our broader vision of transforming how companies share and exchange information in the same way that the name Responsive does. And finally, we wanted our visual identity to invoke a sense of the growth, momentum and connection we deliver to our customers.

Walk us through the new Responsive logo.

WD: The new logo consists of an icon and wordmark allowing for greater flexibility in how we use it. The icon is made of three rounded triangle shapes — inspired by RFPIO’s signature arrow — in bold shades of green which create a subtle, stylized ‘r’.

We call this the Responsive trefoil. The three shapes represent the parties involved in information exchanges: requesters, responders and our platform that connects them. The three ascending shades of green and the forward spiraling motion of the trefoil represent the flow of information as well as the growth and transformation our platform delivers to our customers.

Additionally, you’ll see the trefoil shapes echoed in our wordmark as the tip of the ‘r’ and the dot of the ‘i’. These shared elements make for a very cohesive and distinct logo and allow for brand consistency when paired together or used individually.

New Responsive Logo and wordmark an evolution from RFPIO
What other visual changes accompany the new name?

WD: Having the new name and logo, we wanted to carry through the idea of growth, momentum and connection. With that, you’ll notice a few changes including updates to how we use our color palette, the incorporation of the trefoil and a shift in how we illustrate the platform.

Our color palette

The Responsive brand still leads with our signature green as the dominant color. However, we’re using our vibrant, secondary colors in new ways. By incorporating lighter backgrounds paired with high-contrast, bold colors we enhance the brand’s approachability and draw the eye in. For those who knew us as RFPIO, this palette will feel familiar, but by updating how we use them, we create a fresh look.

Responsive, formerly RFPIO, new brand colors blog image

The trefoil

Forward momentum has always been part of the company’s brand. We’re pushing forward into the future, evolving, growing and helping our customers do the same. Accordingly, you’ll see this movement reflected in the new logo and throughout the new site design.

I may be biased, but from a design perspective the trefoil is the perfect shape. It plays off the angular point of an arrow offering a strong direction and indication of growth, but also has a curve that gives it a sense of movement. At a small scale, we can use the trefoil as a detail in illustrations. And, at a large scale, we can use the curve to create flow within web pages and image designs. The trefoil really gives us a foundation and creates cohesion between brand elements.

Responsive was RFPIO, new brand imagery overview blog image

Platform illustrations

Obviously, depicting our software and communicating its value through imagery is crucial. The previous isometric style leveraged screen shots and product elements angled at an intersecting grid mimicking the point of the classic RFPIO arrow.

We wanted the new visual design to be more dynamic, even in our static images. The Responsive illustration style is more direct, layered, textured and engaging. We use these elements to highlight product details and connect the end user to the value we deliver.

RFPIO is Responsive evolution story with platform illustration comparisons

Evolve and grow with us

In the next few months, you’ll see more about Responsive on our website and social media. In addition, we’re still working hard to deliver even more value and innovation within the Responsive platform. So, join us and follow along. Be part of our story, because the best is yet to come.

How RFPIO celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month

How RFPIO celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month is a period from September 15 to October 15 in the United States for recognizing the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States.

It started way back in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson and was officially signed into law in 1988.

This year, the RFPIO team celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month in our own way, through cocktail making, pot painting, and a bit of trivia.

How RFPIO celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month

Our Hispanic Heritage Month Event was special for two reasons. First, because we were able to celebrate Hispanic culture. Second, it was our first company event since RFPIO acquired RFP360! It was great bringing the two teams together under one virtual roof and getting to know each other a bit better.

We gave everyone the option to do two different activities: Cocktail Making and Terracotta Pot Painting

Cocktail Making ?

For this one, we invited the great Robert Damian Scout to help us become cocktail-making pros. He showed us how to craft a couple of amazing classic cocktails made famous by a man named Don Javier Delgado Corona. He’s an absolute legend in the Hispanic community AND the bartender community worldwide. If you’re looking for a good story, look him up. You won’t be disappointed.

In the class, Robert showed us out to make two classic cocktails: La Paloma and Batanga.

Here are the recipes:

La Paloma
2 oz blanco Tequila (preferably Patron Silver)
½ oz fresh lime juice
1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
¼ oz r squirt of agave nectar (simple syrup works too)
Club soda
Pinch of salt
Tajin or chili salt (optional)
If you’re not a fan of tequila, a grapefruit shandy or beer also works great!

2 oz blanco Tequila (preferably Patron Silver)
¾ oz fresh lime juice
4-5oz of Coke (preferably Mexican Coke)
One whole lime

Shaker tin of any sort (anything with a removable and tight lid will work)
Cocktail Strainer (you can also use your hands)
One sharp knife, big enough to stir into your glass
Preferably a “collins” glass, but any pint-like glass will work

Terracotta Pot Painting ?

For this activity, we sent anyone a kit with a few mini terracotta pots and some paint pens.

We kicked off the event by exploring the virtual art exhibit hosted by the Smithsonian museum, Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art.

At this exhibit, we learned about how the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s galvanized Latino artists across the United States, who began creating new images of their communities and examined bicultural experiences. Until recently, this art was not considered part of “American” art—the exhibit at the Smithsonian attempts to change this.

We’d encourage you to explore the exhibit on your own here. It will run until March 2022.

After we learned a bit about the history of Latino art in the United States, we learned more about the significance of pottery in Latin America, but Mexico specifically, and how native indigenous pottery was influenced by Spanish techniques. And then… we took that inspiration and painted our very own masterpieces!

Each participant received two terracotta pots and 4 paint pens… and then we got to work. Here’s a sampling of our collective genius:

Hispanic Heritage Trivia ?

We finished off our event with some trivia!

Here are some of the questions we asked. See if you could get them right! (Scroll to the bottom of the blog for answers).

Why does Hispanic Heritage Month start on September 15th?

  1. September signifies the start of Fall in many Latin American countries
  2. It’s Pancho Villa’s birthday
  3. It marks the day many Latin American countries gained independence

When was the first time Hispanic Heritage Week (now Hispanic heritage Month) was celebrated in the US?

  1. 1988
  2. 1968
  3. 1990
  4. 1978

How large was the self-described U.S. Hispanic population as of 2019?

  1. 132 million
  2. 50.5 million
  3. 27.8 million
  4. 60.6 million

How many states had a population of more than 1 million Hispanic residents as of 2019?

  1. 8
  2. 10
  3. 12
  4. 14

According to a 2018 census estimate, the U.S. Hispanic population will reach this size by 2060.

  1. 81.2 million
  2. 91.8 million
  3. 111.2 million
  4. 124 million

What’s the largest city in Latin America by population?

  1. São Paulo
  2. Mexico City
  3. Lima
  4. Bogotá

What’s the highest waterfall in South America?

  1. Iguazu Falls
  2. Tugela Falls
  3. Gocta Waterfall
  4. Angel Falls

Which South American country do the Easter Islands in the Pacific Ocean belong to?

  1. Uruguay
  2. Paraguay
  3. Argentina
  4. Chile

All for a good cause

While drinking and painting are good fun, there was a greater purpose behind our shenanigans.

All participants were encouraged to donate money to Voto Latino, a grassroots political organization focused on educating and empowering a new generation of Latinx voters, as well as creating a more robust and inclusive democracy. We set out with a stretch goal to raise $1,000—and we surpassed that number!

As of October 8, we have $1,175 raised. The fundraiser will be open until the end of Hispanic Heritage Month on October 15. If you haven’t donated yet, but would like to, please visit our GoFundMe page.

If this sounds like fun… we’re hiring

At RFPIO, we like to have fun. If you also like to have fun, you’ll fit right in.

We’re hiring in pretty much every department. Check out our most current job listings here. If something catches your eye, please apply! We can’t wait to meet you.

Answers to trivia questions:
C. It marks the day many Latin American countries gained independence
B. 1968
D. 60.6 million
C. 12
C. 111.2
A. São Paulo
D. Angel Falls
D. Chile

To learn more…

Here are some resources you can check out.



A Latinx culture podcast about Mexican and Mexican-American history, folklore, traditions, and art. 

Anything for Selena

Marcia Garcia was 9 years old when Selena was murdered. 25 years later, she’s on a quest to understand what it means to love, mourn, and remember Selena. 

Code Switch

A podcast that tackles the subject of race with empathy and humor, exploring how race affects every part of society. 


Book: The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey, by Ernesto Che Guevara

Book: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz

Article: Dia de los Muertos


Documentary: Latino Vote: Dispatches from the Battleground

Documentary: Underwater Dreams

TV Show: Gentefied

Documentary: Discovering Colombia

4 steps to achieving work-life balance in your SME role

4 steps to achieving work-life balance in your SME role

Do you feel like security questionnaires and RFPs have taken over your life? This is common feedback we hear from subject matter experts (SMEs) involved in the proposal process.

You receive a request from your proposal manager at the last-minute and you drop everything to jump in and lend support. From there, it’s a mad dash to the finish line. To “catch up,” you end up working late into the workweek evenings—or even Saturday mornings—to contribute your response content.

So, how do you adjust your SME role in the proposal process to work in your favor? Let’s help you achieve work-life balance and get your weekends back.

1. Find the root cause of your work stress

Something is taking up all of your time…what is driving that? Maybe you feel generally overwhelmed, because you wear multiple hats in your SME role. You’re pulled in a million different directions and you don’t know which way to go first. Everything is a priority.

This feeling is very common for SMEs who respond to RFPs. There is no simple cure for overwhelm, but you can find the root cause of your work stress. Start by looking at how you and your response management team might improve your proposal process to save time.

Maybe you’re a really slow writer or you can’t stand writing. Creating content isn’t quick and easy for anyone, but it’s definitely easier for professional writers. If you don’t have internal proposal writers on-hand, maybe it’s time to outsource writers who gather informational bullet points from you then bring the response content together.

Once you understand what is taking up your time, the next step is getting support. Many subject matter experts are afraid to ask for help and they are worried they will not seem proficient. If you ask for help now, you will be less likely to say “no” later when you are overwhelmed by tasks.

You and your team are better off with an honest conversation about workloads, especially when everyone is dealing with the pressure of tight deadlines and burnout in the proposal process.

2. Play to your strengths to succeed

We all have strengths and weaknesses…that’s human nature. Figure you how to play to your strengths so you’re in a position to be as successful as possible. Who else should you get involved in the response process?

One person can’t possibly know everything there is to know about the organization. When providing the most relevant and accurate responses, it’s best for you to stay in your lane—and for other SMEs to provide responses to the other areas of the business you are not an expert in.

It’s better to be proactive with solutions, so you’re not saying to your proposal manager: “I’m too busy, so I can’t do that.” Instead say: “You know what? That’s not my area of expertise, but I know that X, Y, and Z can fill those roles and fill them well based on my interactions with them on previous proposals we completed together.”

Your organization will be better served and more efficient if the appropriate team members respond to the appropriate questions and sections. Stick with what you know and help your proposal manager find right-fit resource alternatives so you don’t leave anyone hanging.

3. Have the right people and processes in place

You and your proposal management team will work better and faster when you have the right people and processes in place. Get more people involved and be sure that each contributor knows which part of the process they step into.

Technology like proposal software supports you and your proposal process. Proposal software unifies your entire proposal management team. Because there are unlimited user licenses, everyone works more efficiently within a dedicated response management platform.

Integrations with Slack and Microsoft Teams eliminate back-and-forth emails and unnecessary meetings. The searchable Content Library stores and organizes all of your existing responses, so you select relevant content, customize at will, then move onto the next task on your list of priorities.

Again, responding to security questionnaires and RFPs should never fall on one person…you or any other team member. Response management is absolutely a team effort. To win a deal, you must submit high-quality content. The only way winning content will happen is with a team of specialists banding together, owning specific sections that relate directly to their subject matter expertise.

4. Unplug, recharge, and do your best work

Achieving work-life balance is something we all want—but, it’s also something we all need. We live in a hyper-connected world, where it’s all too easy to “stay on” even when we’re supposed to be off. To do your best work, you need downtime to unplug and recharge.

If you’re responding to RFPs on the weekends, that takes you away from family time and personal time. I know that in my personal life, I need to have an outlet to reenergize. For me, that means playing golf. For you, that could be a completely different hobby, sport, getaway, or even blissfully binge-watching your favorite show on Netflix.

Unplugging can also mean taking 10-15 minutes on a weekday afternoon to take a walk. Even if you’re in the middle of working on a complex security questionnaire with your team, it’s okay to give yourself a timeout or shift something to the next morning so you can get back into the project when you’re fresh.

Communicate with your proposal manager to keep them in the loop. Reassure them that you will do your best work if you have a little more time to develop high-quality responses. Let them know exactly when you will deliver the responses, so they know you’re handling the assigned task.

Security questionnaires and RFPs aren’t going anywhere. Today’s organizations are seeing an increasing number of these documents during the sales cycle.

The goal with any response submission is to put your organization’s best foot forward. Take a breather and spend some time thinking about what support mechanisms you need in your SME role.

Working through this actionable plan will help you add more value to your organization. And you’ll finally achieve what you thought was unreachable before…work-life balance.


You deserve to get your weekends back. Reach out to our team and we’ll show you how RFPIO saves you time and helps you prioritize.

How to support the Oregon Food Bank with RFPIO

How to support the Oregon Food Bank with RFPIO

The RFPIO team is proud to call Oregon our headquarters’ home state. There are many positives to living in a state with such natural beauty and delicious coffee. But Oregon, like many states, has its problems―particularly when it comes to economic inequality.

According to an article in Portland Monthly from earlier this year, Oregon ranks 13th in the U.S. for food insecurity. Sixteen percent of households in the state―around 103,000―are affected by this issue. A report about hunger from 2015 from the Oregon Food Bank says that people are still affected by the Great Recession of 2008. High costs of living and stagnant wages have made it difficult for many people to get ahead.

Team Event RFPIO OFB
Food pantries like the Oregon Food Bank are helping to bridge the gap for those suffering from food insecurity. Their mission is “to eliminate hunger and its root causes…because no one should be hungry.”

We’ve worked with the Oregon Food Bank before through our ROI of Compassion campaign, and believe in their mission, so as part of our quarterly philanthropic initiatives and the season of giving, the RFPIO team spent an evening volunteering at the OFB this December.

OFB_James and Tyler
You never know exactly what you’ll be doing when you show up for a volunteer shift at the Oregon Food Bank. Our project was to fill up as many 2-pound bags of oats as we could in 2 hours. By the end of the shift, we’d bagged 11,026 pounds, equaling 9,188 meals or 139 meals per volunteer.

The OFB collects food from “farmers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, individuals and government sources,” and distributes the donated food through a network on 21 regional food banks and around 1,200 food assistance sites that serve the state of Oregon and Clark County in Washington state.

OFB Network
In solidarity with this organization and our fellow Oregonians, the RFPIO team asks those in the area to join us in supporting the Oregon Food Bank with a donation, volunteer support, or political advocacy. You can find more information at their website:

Podcast: Talking RFPIO on The RFP Success Show

Podcast: Talking RFPIO on The RFP Success Show

RFPIO’s Communications Manager, Josie Fey, recently sat down with Lisa Rehurek, founder of The RFP Success Institute and host of a weekly podcast called The RFP Success Show, to discuss the emergence of RFP software, RFPIO’s competitive differentiators, and the efficiencies it brings to companies in the RFP response process.

The RFP Success Show is a weekly podcast that provides, “information, strategy, or resources to help you win more RFPs and have some fun.”

The RFPIO team met Lisa at APMP’s Bid & Proposal Conference earlier this year, and invited her to speak at our User Conference 2018 this October in San Francisco. She has an extensive background in RFP responding and consulting, and is a proponent of using tools like RFPIO to make the process more strategic.

Here are some highlights from the discussion (edited for clarity):

What does RFPIO do?

Lisa: Let’s kick it off with you telling us a little about your background, and what it is that you do.

Josie: Sure, my name is Josie Fey and I am the Communications Manager at RFPIO. I’ve been here for a little over a year. The company has been around for just over two years, so we’re still kind of in startup mode but we’ve grown really fast.

I handle communications, marketing, public relations, and internal comms. We did have our User Conference recently—our first two—so I did a lot of interviewing and talking with clients while we were there too, and that was really exciting.

Lisa: Let’s talk about RFPIO, the technology, and what it does.

Josie: Very simply, RFPIO is a cloud-based RFP software that makes the process of responding to RFPs and security questionnaires and all varieties of those, easier, more efficient and more collaborative.

There are two big things that RFPIO does: it’s a hub for collaboration, so you can contact people, assign out questions to subject matter experts and any other collaborators. It’s also a repository for your question and answer content. Everything stays in one place and can be recent and updated and approved. If you have your processes in place, it makes things that much easier in the response process.

“This software is world’s beyond where I came from, years ago, when the software was so hard and so arduous and not user friendly at all.” – Lisa Rehurek

How does RFPIO manage document control?

Lisa: One of the things I hear is that it’s so much work to get those answers updated in order to put them into the software. What would you say to that?

Josie: That does matter. It’s an automation platform but it needs people to make it work. It’s just like any kind of database, you have to be careful what you put in there. We talk with our clients about having a review cycle every so often—checking in on that stuff, making sure it’s the right content—but the beauty is that it’s all in one place. So everyone can go to the same place to check it out and it’s not two or three or however many people with different versions.

Lisa: Can people collaborate on a document at the same time? Like you can with a Google doc where people can be working on it at the same time, and it’s saving all versions that are happening. Does it work like that in RFPIO too?

Josie: Yes. The nice thing too is that, like Google, you can assign different sections to people. So most of the time it’s one person working on one question and a different person working on another, but they can do that at the same time for the same project.

Lisa: That’s really huge because one of the pains that my clients feel is document control. Who’s got the latest version and, “oh shoot I thought I made some changes in this, but I forgot to send them to you, and then I didn’t track them in tracked changes, so I don’t really remember what I made” and it can be a nightmare. This software really makes a difference with that.

Josie: Right. That’s one of the big benefits. There are also other formats of these documents. A security questionnaire that’s really long, a spreadsheet with lots of questions, looks different than an RFP, and we can support that too. You can import these documents and start working on them right from the document.

Lisa: You can import it right from the RFP itself?

Josie: Yes. You just import the document right in. We actually have a patented process for that. In fact, RFPIO stands for Request for Proposal Input Output. So that’s kind of the point. You can pop this document in, do all the things you need to do, work with people, get the content in there, do your formatting, either on the source file or on a branded template, and then output that beautiful document very easily.

Lisa Rehurek
Lisa Rehurek at RPFIO User Conference 2018 San Francisco

What are RFPIO’s competitive differentiators?

Lisa: That’s pretty amazing. You know, I have a lot of clients that are small businesses that think these softwares might be too big for them. What’s too small for RFPIO?

Josie: We work with companies that have just a one person team, and we work with enterprise level companies with teams of hundreds. The way we’ve set up our pricing model is different than our competitors, and in most cases, the better way to go. We do it not by individual licenses, but by projects. So if you’re a company that’s not doing a lot of projects in a year then this might not be right for you. But not having an individual license model means that you can scale.

Lisa: That’s a key differentiator to understand. There are other software companies out there that do this. Back in my early days, I worked with a company called RFP Machine. It was so hard, and of course the cloud didn’t exist back then. What stands out about RFPIO from your competitors?

Josie: I would say 3 main things:

Our technology. The import technology we have patented so we are innovators in that area. We also were first to put AI in what we call the Content Library, where content is stored. There’s a recommendation engine, so if you go in, kind of like you might notice from [Gmail]. It learns from you and understands, do you want to email this person? Because last time you emailed this person about this—contextually relevant information.

RFPIO can do that when you’re looking for an answer to a question; it learns. You’ve worked with Lisa on this before, do you want to assign her anything? Or, you’ve used this answer before, does this look like the right one? So it speeds things up even more, and makes things more efficient, because it’s smart.

Lisa: That’s cool.

Josie:  Second thing is, when we had these user conferences I had a lot of interviews with people and I heard over and over that our customer support is incredible. And I believe it, I work with these guys all the time. It’s really important to our founders to be people centric—and that’s for our team and our clients.

The technology can be wonderful but it’s the people that make this happen. We take a lot of feedback from clients, so if there’s something that’s not working quite right or isn’t intuitive, we talk to our development team and they may change it. And sometimes those requests turn around in a week, so clients are really impressed by that too.

And I’d say the third thing is that pricing model, that’s really a differentiator. I think that separates us from the competition because in many cases a company needs to scale up or down. We want this to be collaborative, so that’s why we did that.

Lisa: And you know what’s cool about that, I have a client, one in particular that comes to mind, and they’ve got 250 people and there’s always the core group of people that work on a proposal, but at any given time those 250 people could be assigned maybe 1 RFP in a year, so do you get them a license? Is it worth paying for a license for that one user?

Josie: It seems as though it’s easier for companies to predict how many RFPs they may get in a year. We know that we typically respond to this many, but bringing people in is different. With RFPIO you also have the ability to bring in people outside the company.

Lisa: Oh that’s cool, like a subcontractor or partner or something like that. I love that, that’s very cool.

How does RFPIO help with user adoption?

Lisa: One thing that stuck out to me when I talked to one of your clients was, she said they have easily saved 50% of their time using this software. And I’d like to talk about this, because back to my comment about people saying it’s too hard to get up and running, well it might take a little effort on the front end, but on the back end, here’s what it’s going to save you in the long run. Can you talk more about that time saving?

Josie: I think new technologies, no matter how easy they are to use or how intuitive they are, do sometimes—not scare people, but it’s like oh great now we have to learn a new tool.

Lisa: I think it is scary sometimes, or can be bothersome.

Josie: Right, or it seems like, this is going to add to my workload. Now I have to learn this new thing and work in this new system and I just don’t have time for that.

In the RFP world especially, by the time people get to us, they’re being challenged by this process already. So when I talk to people, they’re so grateful to know there’s even a solution available. I think sometimes with technology it sometimes creates a problem that it needs to fix, we all know examples of that. This is not that.

People are so grateful for something like this. When it comes to saving time—I’ve had clients tell us they spent hours just making sure fonts are the same. It’s document control and content management and making sure everything has the same voice. And when everything is in the same place, it’s a lot easier for the people reviewing it to make sure that everything sounds right and it flows right and you’re putting your best foot forward.

And then also communicating with people. All of our inboxes are full and we’re constantly being inundated, but if someone gets this particular notification that says, please just answer this one question, it saves everybody time. Those are the two main things that people tell us, it helps them collaborate better and save a lot more time.

Lisa: Yeah the formatting issue is interesting because, with version control, no matter what, when we’re shoveling around a word document, I maybe have spent a bunch of time formatting it and then in a final look, somebody may have changed something. And just in the transition from them back to me, all the headers get out of whack and the headings are changed or a font gets changed on one page, oddly. So you’re saying the RFPIO helps prevent that?

Josie: Yes, absolutely. You can have it branded in your own way, and there are ways to templatize your documents as well.

Lisa: Nice. The other thing I noticed when I was getting the demo is that it doesn’t have the feeling like, you know back to what my experience was like with RFP Machine, it felt like at that time that we had to do everything for it to really work. But with RFPIO, it felt like you could kind of start easy, and small, and you could start with one piece of the puzzle and learn that, and then maybe move on to this next piece. You don’t have to learn the entire system all at once. Is that a correct statement?

Josie: Absolutely, in fact, another hats off to our customer support team. Part of the process of onboarding new customers is to have them send us an example RFP that they might respond to, some questions and answers that they’ve used before, and then we go through an example process.

We help them populate their database a little bit, we try to get all the stakeholders, all the people that might get involved—there are different roles that people are assigned in RFPIO, which helps manage access—we go through the process of that first before we send them off on their own. By the time they’ve gone through the initial onboarding and training, they should have their teams figured out, their roles figured out, their Content Library content started, and have gone through a project so they know what they’re doing.

user interface

What’s RFPIO’s user experience like?

Josie: It’s so intuitive. Our founders all responded to RFPs before they decided to do this.

Lisa: So they felt the pain!

Josie: They were very aware, so they really thought through the user experience too. Like, when somebody inputs this document, what’s the first thing they’re going to want to do? And how does this process go? So they made it really intuitive and easy for people in a way that just makes a lot of sense.

Lisa: Your user interface is amazing. It’s super easy and super intuitive. I was very impressed with that. A lot of time with these technologies they get overthought and over processed and the user experience gets lost in that. I was very impressed with that piece of it, so kudos.

Josie: We do take user feedback really seriously, and there are lots of different ways they can provide us with that feedback, so we’ve made changes based on that stuff. They’re the ones who are using it, so, they’re the experts really. We want to make it easy for them and save them time. Because the more time they save, maybe the more RFPs they can do and the more money they can make. So it’s good for business to be efficient.

Lisa: It is, and it’s good for the team too. Because the team gets tired of bidding on things that they lose, or bidding on things at the last minute, the arduousness of bidding, where the process is a hot mess, you know, dealing with people that are not getting their stuff back.

There’s a lot to be said for the pressure that it puts on the team that’s responding. And that can cause problems down the road if the team’s not happy. So there’s a whole lot going on here.

It was really clear to me too, and I know that I’m kind of tooting RFPIO’s horn here a lot, but it’s because I was very impressed. Not just from my interaction at the user conference, but also with my experience with you guys at APMP and how you guys connect with your clients.

Hearing what your clients had to say, and their experiences working with your customer support team, that is also something that gets lost in translation with technology a lot. Here’s a technology you’ve bought and now you’re on your own. You guys are really hands on and very close to the ground.

Lisa: So how long does it take to get a technology like this up and running?

Josie: The nice thing about RFPIO is it’s just a turn-key solution, cloud-based software. So, you just sign in and you’re ready to go. But like I said, we don’t just leave it at that. It’s very easy to get it up and running, there’s no deployment that you have to do, but we also make sure that we’re there for customers in that first phase to make sure they know what they’re doing, and can ask questions, and run through a couple projects before they’re off and going.

But, most of the time they tell us—again they’re so ready and anxious for a solution that they’re just on it—but as soon as they get it they can just sign in and start working.

Lisa: It is true, I think in the RFP world in general we’re always in reactive mode. One of the things I try to work on with my clients is getting them into proactive mode. And it’s really hard, and they need tools and resources like this, in order to help them do it.

I would encourage anybody listening, if you’re thinking, “well we don’t answer enough RFPs in a year,” just pick up the phone and schedule an appointment with RFPIO. Because you never know.

Anything like this that can bring in potential efficiencies—the people I talked to at the San Francisco user conference, they were talking about significant time savings. It can and should be done and this is the perfect tool to do that, so I am excited that you were here, Josie. Thank you so much for being here.

Communicating business value and aligning teams at APMP

Communicating business value and aligning teams at APMP

Last week we traveled south to San Diego for the Association of Proposal Management Professionals’ (APMP) annual Bid & Proposal Conference. “The world’s largest conference for proposal, bid, tender, capture, business development and graphics professionals,” according to their website.

These are the people that we work with every day. It was our second year at the event, and since last year, our presence and impact within the proposal management industry has grown.

We were thankful for the opportunity to share thought leadership on two panel sessions with other industry experts: “Communicating Tangible Business Value Propositions,” and “How to Wrangle Your Subject Matter Experts.”

David Blume_RFPIO_APMP

Communicating tangible business value propositions

A poacher turned gamekeeper
As an accomplished sales professional, David Blume, RFPIO’s Senior Sales Director, knows what it’s like to just want to get the RFP out the door and focus on “real” sales opportunities. To demonstrate his evolution in this area, he gave a hunter’s analogy. In the past, he was a poacher—focusing on the highest quality sales and using laser focus to attack.

Now, David considers himself a gamekeeper, managing the whole perimeter of the RFP process and all the wild elements that come along with it.

Aligning teams internally
It’s not that sales and proposal teams are at odds. They are both in pursuit of new revenue.

David said the difference is in their horizons—RFP teams want to build a repeatable process and improve capabilities over the long-haul to support future business. Sales executives are focused on the next one or two quarters, so their time and attention are likely centered elsewhere.

And oftentimes, sales cycles can be long and complex—a proposal is just one element to that process. However, its impact is generally underestimated. An RFP gives you the chance to articulate:

  • Your understanding of your prospect’s needs.
  • How you can help them solve that problem.
  • The tangible value you will deliver.
  • Why they should choose you over your competition.

This calls on both sales and proposal teams to align. Your company’s value should be communicated throughout the sales process, and the RFP should be the icing on the cake. Align your resources internally first, and RFP wins can be truly shared across departments.

A message for the marketers out there: When developing case studies, try to include quantified evidence to support your company’s value proposition. You’ll appeal to sales teams especially if you can include a dollar value.

Are all RFPs worth it?
As you’re evaluating an RFP, make sure you know precisely what corporate initiative the investment supports, what you expect the return on investment to be, and why you’re pursuing it at this moment.

An exercise: Find out the the monetary value, win or lose, of the all of the business influenced by a proposal (RFP response or sales generated) in the last year. What would an extra deal a month mean for your organization’s bottom line?

Once you’ve decided an RFP is a viable opportunity and your sales and proposal teams are working together to deliver your value proposition, make sure your message is:

  • Quantified (use real numbers wherever you can)
  • Evidence-based (show, instead of tell)
  • Differentiated (describe how you stand out from the competition)

“An RFP is not a quote, or a bill of materials. It’s a critical selling document designed to move the deal forward,” David said. “It has the potential to persuade (or at least reinforce the solid work done by sales and others), and to quantify business impact and value.”

How to wrangle your subject matter experts

Like herding cats
Ganesh Shankar, RFPIO’s CEO, knows it’s not easy to manage subject matter experts. After all, he used to be one. From his perspective, the elusive SME is focused on their primary roles, and may not have the time or interest to offer input into the sales process.

Proposal managers, we know how hard this makes your job. You’re stuck between sales and product teams and marketing, trying to manage an important revenue-generating process. It takes a village to respond to RFPs and requires a special kind of tenacity to solicit input from people across your organization, over and over again.

20 Stats That Will Make You a Better Proposal Manager

But when it comes to the people in your company who understand the technicalities of your product or service—the SMEs— there are implications of non-responsiveness. These are “ready made opportunities,” and avoiding them will have consequences.

So how do you get them to pay attention to you and answer the questions you need, in order to support an opportunity for the whole company?

Ganesh Shankar_RFPIO_APMP
Communication and ownership
Try implementing a system of communication in your organization where the subject matter experts are looped in from beginning to end of the process, avoiding surprises and allowing them to take ownership. This way, they can see and feel the impact of the proposals they’ve responded to, whether they are positive or negative.

Let them use their own tools
When it comes to content management, organizations should understand which tools their busy SMEs are working in from day to day. Consider utilizing integrations so they can collaborate without having to learn a new tool. If you’re using RFP software like RFPIO, you can integrate technologies like CRM and collaboration and cloud-storage tools.

Define a Service Level Agreement
Only approach an SME with a proposal if it’s been qualified to the company’s agree-upon standards. Once you’ve determined it’s a worthwhile opportunity, give as many details as you possibly can. Let them know exactly what the document is, what they are being asked to include, and approximately how long it should take, so that everyone is on the same page. Make sure to give them some lead time, too. Don’t ask for input at the last minute.

The responsibility here doesn’t fall entirely on the proposal manager, though. If the proposal team has kept up their end of the agreement, the SME should be responsive and clear about their timelines and contributions to the RFP process.

9 Challenges Every SME Shall Overcome with RFP Software

From Ganesh’s point of view, these are the three best ways to try and manage difficulty getting responses from subject matter experts, and relieve you from your frustrations in the RFP process. Forget wrangling, and start working harmoniously.

APMP reveals the state of the proposal management industry

APMP reveals the state of the proposal management industry

What is the state of the proposal management industry? Recently we were fortunate to sit down with APMP’s VP of Business Development and Operations, Christina Lewellen, who shared her take on the industIt’s an impressive event. Over the last decade we’ve seen an evolution and maturing of the profession—not only with the caliber of the presenters who share best practices, but also with the professionals. The professionals in the proposal management space are really carving this out as their career.ry as a whole.

In this podcast interview, Christina shares the latest trends in the proposal management industry, along with plenty of insights and resources to help our fellow responders in the field. Sit back and enjoy!

Listen to the podcast…


Read the interview…

/about/” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>RFPIO team is well connected with the APMP community already since we’re members. Can you share a bit about APMP with the rest of our audience in case they’re not familiar?

APMP is a global association. A lot of people may not realize for the first twenty or so years of our existence, we were primarily a volunteer run organization. About six years ago, the association started experiencing significant growth and the leaders decided to bring in a professional staff to help APMP go to the next level.

Today we have more than 25 chapters all over the world and nearly 8,000 members. We focus primarily on serving as a professional association by providing resources. We serve proposal and bid managers, but also business development and capture professionals, graphics folks, and really anybody who touches the proposal at any stage of its development.

Take charge of your RFP response process. Check out this proposal manager success guide.

We attended our first Bid & Proposal Con in New Orleans a few months ago. It was great to meet so many proposal professionals at our booth. There were about a thousand people from all over the world—and in fact, APMP had a record-breaking year. What does this increase in attendance mean for our industry?

It’s an impressive event. Over the last decade we’ve seen an evolution and maturing of the profession—not only with the caliber of the presenters who share best practices, but also with the professionals. The professionals in the proposal management space are really carving this out as their career.

APMP bid & proposal con
The event continues to grow year over year, and certainly we saw that momentum peaking this spring in New Orleans. Business owners and management see the value in sending their team to Bid & Proposal Con because of what they come home with—and what they can apply the minute they step back in the door.

The conference has a really awesome energy, and I would highly recommend it to anybody who hasn’t checked it out yet.

It’s clear that the proposal management industry is evolving. How has it improved over the past few years?

The important element in all of this is that we’re figuring out how to share and communicate. Every proposal team is a bit different, but I see the best practices are really starting to take shape. As professionals find good ways of accomplishing something, they share those insights with other peers in the same space.

size of proposal teams
Source: APMP U.S. Compensation Report 2017

Often times proposal managers are either one person alone or a small team in a great big company. They sort of feel isolated, like they’re on their own island. When they come to APMP events, or chapter events, or connect on LinkedIn, they find their tribe.

We are also shaping certification programs at APMP to demonstrate that proposal management is, in fact, a profession. It’s a profession that is essential to putting cars in the parking lot and keeping the lights on at these companies.

It’s a really exciting time and it will be interesting to see how the industry evolves over the coming years.

In your opinion, what kind of trends are you seeing in our industry?

More proposal teams are leveraging software and technology.

We all being asked to do more with less, and so our proposal teams are becoming experts at efficiency. And if they’re not yet, they’re working toward that. I’m seeing this move toward better ways of doing things and trying to have better control over their most valuable assets—their knowledge and content.

There are also different modes of communication that our teams are getting better at, in terms of communicating with the client. Clients are saying: “Tell me how you can solve my problem, but I don’t want to read a 150-page document. I want a really great executive summary, video, and graphics.”

good executive summary
Trends that continue to evolve lie in the space of how you communicate your message beyond just the written word. The written word is important, but how we communicate is really important for teams.

Proposal managers continue to work toward integrating more with other aspects of the sales pipeline. So, working on relationships and not being in silos are trends we’ve seen in recent years.

In the industry we’re seeing that more folks are making this a career. Nobody went to school and dreamed of being a proposal manager when they grew up. But for one reason or another, they stumble in and find this to be an incredibly rewarding profession.

I think we’ll continue to see this trend because of the flexibility and autonomy, and really just the fact that proposal managers and writers make a big difference. They fuel companies and divisions, and that’s something that speaks to the incoming generation who want to know that what they do for a living matters.

APMP has a wealth of data about the people who power the proposal management industry. Can you share some of those insights with us?

I’ll tell you a little bit about our brand new hot off the press 2017 U.S. Compensation Report. As an association, we have this opportunity to take anonymous data in aggregate, put it together, and share it with proposal professionals for benchmarking.

You can look at your own salary and benefits, and stack it up against everybody else in the profession. And this can be really useful when having conversations with your managers or your boss—when you’re trying to build a proposal team or add to a proposal team. You need to know what a competitive salary and benefit package looks like.

In the U.S. women make up 70% of bid managers and men make up 30%. If you look at the base salary for men versus women, men are out-earning us, ladies, by quite a bit. This is societal in every profession, but the reality is right in front of us in our own profession.

A woman who identifies herself as a bid manager is making a median salary of $95,000 a year. But her male counterpart is making $130,000. That is something we need to be talking about—and this is the kind of information that lives in this data.

So, we have some challenges to overcome here. The first step is sharing the data in this benchmarks study to get us talking about it.

bid manager gender
Source: APMP U.S. Compensation Report 2017

I’ll also point out the median salary if you’re working in the federal sector, versus working in the commercial sector. Proposal managers in the commercial sector are making a little less than $82,000 a year as the median salary. And those who are serving the federal government are making about $100,000 a year.

It’s good information to know as you map out your career. That way you know what you should be making, and also—if you have aspirations to enter different verticals or sectors—you can see what those salaries look like.

The U.S. Compensation Report is free to all APMP members. If you’re not a member, you can purchase the report.

Can you talk about the most common challenges proposal professionals are facing? And, how they can overcome them?

I’m not a proposal manager myself, but I can tell you what we hear as a team here at APMP. One of the biggest challenges is getting the support and recognition from the higher ups.

“I think that proposal management folks are the unsung heroes in many, many companies and divisions.” 

It’s tough to demonstrate your value if your contributions are overlooked or minimized in any way. If you’re experiencing that, we encourage you to network and connect with your peers. Talk through it with folks who have been around a bit longer, who can give you some guidance on how to make sure you’re getting the recognition you deserve.

Burnout is the reality of the profession too. Again, I think proposal managers need to continue to look for ways to work smarter, because it’s a tough, tough job.

One of the things we love about APMP is the focus on educational resources for proposal management teams. We know exactly how difficult it is to find quality resources. Can you let our audience know about some of the resources APMP offers to support their efforts?

That’s why we exist—why APMP is here.

Some folks are sometimes confused about the nature of a non-profit. We are entitled to make a profit, we just don’t pay taxes on it based on our standing with the government. What that allows us to do is funnel all of that money back into the profession.

Which is why we love doing what we do. We invest heavily in resources with membership dollars, and proceeds from events and programs.

For example, we offer a free monthly webinar for all APMP members. We’ll jump around and hit topics that our members want to have addressed. You can attend these webinars live, or watch them on-demand. There’s a whole library of on-demand webinars that our members go to when they’re looking to solve a problem, or learn more about a certain topic.

APMP has many in-person events for all the reasons we talked about earlier. The reality is that our folks living on islands by themselves need to connect with other proposal professionals who do what they do. We host live events at the international level and chapter levels to make sure that proposal professionals are networking and helping each other solve problems.

We also have a certification program, which we feel is really important because it very much captures the best practices in proposal management and the whole lifecycle of a proposal. If we’re all operating from that same set of standards, then we can drive our profession forward like we never have in the past.

Ultimately what’s most important to know about our content is that it’s all peer developed. The staff may help shepherd the content development, but it’s content that’s coming from folks that are in the industry—practitioners, vendors, consultants, and committees. If you’re reading the the APMP journal, watching a webinar, or going to Bid & Proposal Con, all of that content is coming from a grassroots kind of approach.

Whatever the needs are in the profession, that is the content we focus on developing. And, it’s been very successful. Much of this content is free with membership. We try our best to make sure that as many members as possible have access to the content that can help them win more business.

Lastly, for all of the proposal teams facing efficiency challenges, what is the most valuable piece of advice you can offer?

You know, that’s a big question. It’s important to first recognize that each team is unique and there’s really no one-size-fits-all solution. There are foundational commonalities, but each proposal team’s need and makeup create different cultures.

What’s important is that when you come to APMP, you’ll connect with other people who are doing what you do—and other vendors who are providing solutions for exactly what your problems are. You can come together and solve it as a team.

There’s a little bit of crowdsourcing that can happen among APMP members, among the vendors—like you guys at RFPIO—who are supporting APMP members. Other great resources are consultants and experts nearing retirement, who have been doing this for decades.

There is probably no one valuable piece of advice that I can offer other than to say that there is a resource. There’s a community of people who are willing to help. And I think that that’s where you start.

Listen to APMP’s insights on the go…


christina lewellen apmp

Christina Lewellen

VP Business Development and Operations at APMP
Follow @APMPConnect

Christina Lewellen, MBA, CF APMP, is an association executive with an extensive background in managing professional and trade associations. She is the Vice President of Business Development and Operations for the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP), where she has overseen significant growth in the association’s events, programs, and corporate and individual membership numbers. She holds APMP’s Foundation level certification, the Certified Association Executive designation from ASAE, and a Master’s of Business Administration from the Rochester Institute of Technology. She is based in the Washington, D.C., area.

The RFPIO team gives back over 600 meals to Oregon Food Bank

The RFPIO team gives back over 600 meals to Oregon Food Bank

The ROI of compassion has been in full swing since January and we are excited to share our progress. ROI is a big driver in the business world, so we put a spin on that concept by creating a campaign that focused on an investment in our community. The RFPIO team committed to this campaign as part of our Pledge 1% participation in promoting a culture of giving.

As a growing local company, we are grateful for the support we have received from the tech community since we first launched the RFPIO platform last year. This is our way of paying it forward by pledging our 1% community involvement to the Oregon Food Bank.

food donation bin
Oregon Food Bank takes a holistic approach to ending hunger by bringing our community together to provide food, education and hope to our neighbors in need.

Last year, the Oregon Food Bank Network distributed more than 1 million emergency food boxes to people facing hunger throughout Oregon and Clark County, Washington. On a monthly basis, Oregon Food Bank helps 1 in 5 households struggling with hunger.

We kicked off the ROI of Compassion in January, because it is one of the most challenging times for food banks. Giving skyrockets during the holidays and drops off at the beginning of the year. Giving food to families in need is a worthy effort any time, so we extended our campaign to run through the end of Q1.

food drive
During that time the RFPIO team has raised nearly $200 online for the Oregon Food Bank. With the help of our partners at Regus and our fellow office neighbors, we also filled a food bin with in-kind donations.

Since a $10 donation provides 30 meals, we are excited to announce that the combined effort so far has brought over 600 meals to families in our community.

But, as you can see…our work isn’t over yet!

The campaign runs until March 31 and we have a big goal to reach. We hope you’ll join our culture of giving, so we can make a bigger impact on Oregon Food Bank.

pledge one goalHere Are 3 Ways You Can Join the ROI of Compassion



Donate food to our office bin!


Donate online at Oregon Food Bank!


Leave a review on G2 Crowd and we’ll donate $5!

See how it feels to respond with confidence

Why do 250,000+ users streamline their response process with RFPIO? Schedule a demo to find out.