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Merging enterprise-level content using RFP automation software

Merging enterprise-level content using RFP automation software

If your company is being acquired by a larger company, what’s the best way to convince them to adopt your […]

Category: Tag: Proposal management software

Merging enterprise-level content using RFP automation software

Merging enterprise-level content using RFP automation software

If your company is being acquired by a larger company, what’s the best way to convince them to adopt your software and processes? Show them the numbers.

When Keith Folz and the Janrain team implemented RFPIO in 2017, they started responding to RFPs 30% more efficiently. After using the tool for several years, RFPIO had become an integral part of Janrain’s response process, helping sales teams efficiently pull together proposals and win new business opportunities.

Then, Janrain was acquired by Akamai Technologies. However, because Janrain had achieved such impressive results using RFP automation, Akamai Technologies decided to move forward with RFPIO post-acquisition.

Throughout the course of the acquisition, RFPIO helped combine the two organizations’ RFP answer libraries—and now plays an instrumental role in keeping the content library accurate and up-to-date.

Going through a similar merger? Learn from the Akamai team’s experience so you can pull through without disrupting your RFP response workflow

“With the 30% increase in efficiency we saw, we really wanted to make sure that RFPIO was something that got maintained when we were going through the acquisition.”

The RFP process, without RFP automation software

In a pre-RFPIO life, the Janrain team needed an entire week just to assemble the RFP response team for each RFP.Of course, getting the team in place was the “easy part”. After that came the actual “responding to RFPs” part.

To do this, technical salespeople needed to spend hours scouring through massive spreadsheets to find the answers they needed—and became overly familiar with CTRL + F in the process.

At the same time, maintaining content accuracy was a persistent challenge that required SMEs to periodically read through cumbersome spreadsheets to update content and data points. The Janrain team knew they were spending too much time responding to RFPs. And thus began the search for RFP automation software.

They wanted a solution that was cloud-based, met the standard for their annual SOC and ISO audits—and, most importantly, had no seat requirements. Because they had so many people inside the organization that needed to work on a single RFP, unlimited users was a must-have.

After evaluating several different providers, they decided on RFPIO.

RFP software increases efficiency by 30%

When still responding to RFPs manually, Keith and his team would spend a week just figuring out who would be on the response team each time a new RFP came in. After implementing RFPIO’s cloud-based solution, that same process took only an hour. Now it’s just a matter of someone like Keith knowing each person’s strengths and assigning them to the right RFP.

The “CTRL + F” method has also run for the hills with the introduction of RFPIO and its AI-enabled recommendation engine. With RFPIO in place, salespeople no longer needed to spend days (weeks, months) virtually memorizing the content library in order to find the answers they need.

RFP software provides stability during a merger

When asked about the role RFPIO played in the acquisition process, Keith immediately responded, “Tagging. If we didn’t have the tagging capabilities, we would have a nightmare of overlapping answers.”

The tagging capability in an enterprise-friendly software like RFPIO ensured they kept certain policies separate in some situations while merging them in others.

“Making sure all the documentation was referenced inside of the right questions was very important. This would have been nearly impossible without RFPIO’s tagging function.”

A cloud solution that keeps enterprise-level content accurate

The former Janrain team remains the core RFPIO users at Akamai. With RFP automation software, they have implemented a 6-month review cycle to keep content fresh. After setting up key stakeholders as reviewers for specific questions, the team can easily send questions off to the reviewers on file to determine whether a certain answer needs to change.

Because of this—and because they are very strict about tag management—salespeople are often able to use the first suggested answer when responding to RFPs.

With a solid review and tagging process in place, salespeople no longer have to comb through massive spreadsheets. And they feel confident that answers in the library have been thoroughly vetted.

Keith and his team are responding to even more RFPs after the acquisition, with the support of RFP automation software. Additionally, the Akamai team responds to each RFP with greater efficiency. As Akamai continues to grow and develop, RFPIO will continue to support them so they can submit outstanding proposals and win more deals.

AI proposal management software FAQs you need to know

AI proposal management software FAQs you need to know

Marketing teams are familiar with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI). But, did you know that proposal management AI is already happening?

78% of marketers in proposal management said using automated technology to execute more with less resource strain was their top priority. AI proposal management software is the next evolution in automating your RFP response process so you can achieve even more.

You have questions about how AI will impact your marketing role in today’s landscape. Below we have answers to commonly asked questions to help you understand your untapped potential with AI proposal management software.

11 AI proposal management software FAQs

1. What is artificial intelligence (AI)?

Put simply, artificial intelligence (AI) is a branch of computer science that deals with simulating human intelligence and behaviors in computer systems.

2. Are artificial intelligence and machine learning the same?

No. Machine learning is an AI system that has the ability to self-analyze and improve its code in order to more efficiently arrive at an outcome. In AI systems that are not machine learning, the programming is somewhat deterministic. You put together a “narrow” AI system to solve a specific problem, then predict the outcomes based on the inputs.

3. How is proposal management AI changing our industry?

The biggest thing that proposal management AI will change in our industry is prompting digital transformation. To truly leverage what AI offers, all of your systems must connect and share data with each other to add value across touchpoints. Artificial intelligence is a competitive advantage for response teams who leverage these capabilities.

Proposal management AI is also ushering an era of enterprise-level database requirements for content. AI is most powerful when it has a huge database to train itself on. If your RFP content library is not a clean and reliable database, this hinders the effectiveness of AI. To highly automate with AI, an organized content database is a key step in digital transformation.

4. How is AI proposal management software benefitting teams?

High-performing response teams use AI proposal management software to efficiently intake and qualify opportunities. Analyzing projects without AI takes a lot of time, which involves reading through previous proposals and reports then taking the best guess about the outcome.

AI systems help you understand whether or not you should bid by analyzing and comparing previous RFP projects. Teams see the win potential and what resources might be required based on the average length of a project. Proposal management AI offers more strategic planning overall.

AI is changing the way teams “shred” their RFPs, making it easier to break up relevant sections, auto-identify response content, and assign questions to subject matter experts. We’re starting to see tone and sentiment analysis as well.

This capability will help reviewers adjust content to convey a more positive feeling by identifying a word that sounds negative, so you find a more suitable adjective that results in stronger content.

5. What kind of automation will we see with proposal management AI?

Proposal management AI will consistently take over repetitive and mundane tasks that responders do today (but they don’t really want to do), such as:

  • Answering common, repetitive questions
  • Producing basic boilerplate copy
  • Exporting document formatting
  • Analyzing win-loss opportunities
  • Making bid/no-bid recommendations based on big-data analytics

AI looks at tens of thousands of past RFPs and connects the dots between the CRM wins and the products or the copy chosen in the RFPs. At APMP Bid & Proposal Con, one attendee said this type of analysis would take 30+ years for his team to complete manually.

6. What are the current AI capabilities the Responsive platform?

Responsive has the RFP response automation elements we just discussed, including auto-responses and an answer recommendation engine that proposal teams have been using for years.

With a well-maintained content library, it’s common to see Responsive users complete 60-70% of their RFP autonomously. The time given back to these proposal professionals allows them to develop higher quality content where personalization is needed, as well as put forth more proposals for more opportunities.

We’re starting to do bid fit analysis and later we will have sentiment analysis. As we begin to introduce natural language processing (NLP), responders will require significantly less intervention to shred and analyze requirements. Future AI capabilities are exciting and pretty limitless. As AI technology advances, so will Responsive.

7. How can our team prepare for proposal management AI?

Make sure you have a future-ready team in place that is capable of making digital transformation happen. And, of course, make sure that team leverages AI proposal management software to its fullest capacity.

When choosing RFP software, the platform should plug into all of your data through system integrations. Your systems need to work cross-functionally and proposal teams should be able to collaborate together efficiently within those systems.

8. How much time will our team save with AI proposal management software?

That all depends on how much time your team spends on repetitive tasks today that could be handled by AI proposal management software. And, what you do with the time you ultimately win back.

If you’re not answering the same question a thousand times, what can you achieve with that extra time? Maybe you level up the content you have in your content library to create winning proposals. You put more time into thinking about new avenues for generating revenue. And, you respond to RFPs you didn’t have time to before. Positive results will compound quickly.

9. Will AI proposal management software write all of my RFP responses?

The day AI proposal management software writes RFP responses is the day this blog will have written itself. One day artificial intelligence will write your RFP, drive you home, and cook you dinner. But don’t get too excited—we’re probably 30 years away from that.

10. Will AI replace humans?

AI will replace humans….and it’s already replacing humans. Look at the checkout stands, how you order food, and how you get information. Fifteen years ago I used to call a travel agent to book my flights and now flights are recommended to me online before I even need them.

11. Will proposal management AI replace my job?

Proposal management AI won’t replace your job. Actually, AI enriches your job and empowers you to do more strategic, creative work. No one wants to come in and look at numbers or do the same thing over and over again. AI gives you the opportunity to accomplish things you couldn’t before. You’ll have more time to reflect and to provide more organizational value.

As the first AI proposal management software in the industry, Responsive has already automated and improved the response process for future-ready organizations. Start your digital transformation by scheduling a demo of Responsive.

Bid proposal software will transform your response process

Bid proposal software will transform your response process

The proposal climate is looking strong overall, as shown in the most recent APMP U.S. Benchmarks Report. Three-quarters of proposal professionals positively rated their organization’s performance in winning new business and expressed great satisfaction in regards to internal processes.

Bid proposal software is absolutely cultivating the well-being and success of today’s response management teams. Processes have been transformed by technologically advanced, collaborative work environments. And, we’re only beginning to scratch the surface.

5 transformative effects of bid proposal software

1. Project Management

When a proposal comes in, it seems like an ordinary business document. But this document contains a world of information, from timeline to scope. Your organization must stop seeing a proposal as a document and manage every proposal as its own RFP project. This mindset applies to any response management team, especially a team at an enterprise organization.

There is always a deadline looming. You have a small window to ask for clarifications—and important milestones to hit. RFPIO is a complete project management application, supporting your team of RFP responders from the time you receive a proposal to the time you submit.

“We had a smaller team last year, so we had to stop answering RFPs and focus on answering security questionnaires. We turned RFPIO on the day after Memorial Day, and since then we’ve worked on 129 projects.” – Elizabeth Duke, Director of Presales Support

2. Content Management

Because of the repetitive nature of proposals, content becomes sporadic with RFP responses stored all over the place. Using a combination of Google Docs or SharePoint does not mean your content is updated and accurate. You need an RFP content management system.

RFPIO workflows help your proposal team manage proposal content and keep responses up-to-date. No longer does Sales ask multiple SMEs to complete RFP responses in the eleventh hour.

Instead, RFPIO’s content review workflow allows the SMEs to review the content on a periodic basis defined by your content managers. This is outside of an RFP. Which means all the content is reviewed and approved by the SMEs beforehand, allowing proposal teams and sales teams to use accurate content that is needed to win the deal.

“Since I onboarded, RFPIO has saved my life. Before we didn’t have a tool at all, so I was manually searching through old RFPs that were stored on SharePoint. And now it’s cut our response time down by at least 50 percent.” – Alison Moeller, Team Lead – RFP & Sales Enablement

3. Collaboration

It truly takes a village to complete a proposal. One of our clients, a massive enterprise organization, involves forty different teams to complete RFPs. Perhaps you can relate. Even if one person is on each team, that means forty people must figure out a way to work together in a cohesive manner.

Teamwork is an integral component of a successful RFP response process, which is why RFPIO was built to foster highly collaborative work environments. The ability to have unlimited users within the platform makes it possible for substantial teams to complete substantial proposals with greater efficiency.

“RFPIO saved us from having to hire a new headcount by taking away a lot of the effort we used to put into coordinating RFPs. It allows us to get input from our subject matter experts faster and put together better quality proposals.” – Anthony Rossi, Sales Operations Specialist

4. Integrations

Proposal teams must communicate…and so must technology solutions. Bid proposal software should help your team communicate with each other inside and outside the platform. Additionally, your team should have full visibility and accessibility.

RFPIO is a system that integrates with your existing technology and content ecosystem. Store content in your favorite cloud storage solution (Google Drive, One Drive, Dropbox, Box, Sharepoint). Collaborate easily through Slack or Microsoft Teams. Align your sales teams with CRM integrations (Salesforce, Hubspot, Microsoft Dynamics, Pipedrive, PipelineDeals).

“RFPIO really has shifted the entire perception of our company in terms of how we gather content, what we do with that content, how we’re managing it, and really, the entire process of perceiving how RFPs should be responded to.” – Lori Coffae, Content Writer

5. Business Intelligence and Analytics

In most cases, only the person submitting the RFP knows why their RFP was selected or skipped. A lost RFP is always a black box, as SMEs and writers will never receive feedback on why the RFP was lost.

Visibility into the RFP response process is much easier with a response management platform like RFPIO. RFPIO has business intelligence and analytics, so you see the gaps and opportunities then take the necessary measures to improve.

RFPIO provides a detailed win/loss analysis that can be shared with contributors and executives. With trend analysis, RFPIO allows proposal managers to clearly estimate and predict the time it requires to complete various kinds of RFx documents.

Insights into capacity planning are available as well. Proposal managers and executives see the current workload of contributors and know exactly when it’s time to hire additional resources.

“I have been working in this space for about a decade and I’ve used a couple of different tools. RFPIO shows their commitment and innovation to those of us who are really in the weeds of the RFP world.”

– Alexandra Maddux, RFP/Sales Support Coordinator

What is the best bid proposal software?

Here’s a secret… there is no “best” bid proposal software. But there is bid proposal software that’s best for your team. As a rule of thumb, effective bid proposal software will have the following features:

As you’re evaluating bid proposal software, you should start by meeting with your wider team to identify problems you hope bid proposal software will solve. You can break it into “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves”. Your final list might look something like:

  • Improve collaboration on business proposals without relying on color-coded Word docs
  • Consolidate answers to common RFP questions in one place, so SMEs aren’t answering the same question over and over again
  • Create visibility, so leadership can easily check on proposal status

But before you decide on any bid proposal software, make sure you read reviews from verified customers. Sites like G2 and Capterra are great for that.

Here is a screenshot comparing four of the most popular business proposal software solutions:

the best bid proposal software

Transform your RFP response process with artificial intelligence

Automating your RFP response process can reduce your time spent responding to RFPs by 40%. If you respond to RFPs full-time, that could mean an extra 16 hours per week. Schedule a demo to see RFP automation in action—I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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.