Introducing your product to a new market is no easy feat. Combine that with RFP responses and you have a recipe for long days at the office.
Nick Fitzsimmons, Director of Sales Solutions at Celtra, knew that introducing automation to the RFP response process would help make collaboration easier and reduce time spent managing RFPs.
Celtra’s Creative Management Platform (CMP) helps companies efficiently create digital advertising content in-house—from creative vision to building an engaging ad experience. They worked with media giants like CNN and NBCUniversal, but recently started serving enterprise brand companies that want more control over their ad creative process.
As they built out a new market, Celtra needed the right people, tools, and processes to accomplish this without much disruption. Nick was hired to help them make that transition and build out a technical presales team. One of their first initiatives was to course-correct their RFP response process.
Siloed RFP content before RFP response software
It’s a common story. Nick and the team were managing RFP responses in various documents and platforms, which meant their RFP content was siloed. They had challenges with workflow and collaboration. There was no central place to go for visibility into the lifecycle of their RFP response process so they could make improvements.
All of these challenges led to submitting RFPs at the last minute, and they didn’t have a great success rate. Getting it right while they built out a new market was going to be crucial.
Nick had used RFP response software before, so he had some familiarity with the available tools. He conducted a lot of research, paying attention to review sites like G2 Crowd and Capterra to narrow down his choice.
RFPIO stood out as the clear winner and has been helping Celtra get their RFP response process into shape.
“The real solution here is the combination of both user-friendly software and thought leadership on business process to effectively execute on RFP responses.”
RFPIO provides education, user experience, and self service
Resources for RFP response process improvement
“RFPIO has done a great job with their educational content. Beyond just evaluating software, I’ve learned best practices around how to successfully build out an RFP response process,” Nick said. “I needed to build trust and credibility internally when we were rolling out the platform, so forming a process was key. And RFPIO’s content helped me do all of it.”
Flexible user experience and integrations
Nick was impressed with RFPIO’s clean and simple user interface. “In just a couple clicks I can manage significant updates, which saves me a lot of time.” That level of flexibility in the software was a differentiator in the evaluation process.
RFPIO’s Content Library for storing and sharing content factored heavily into his choice of response management software. “Especially the functionality to auto-suggest relevant answers– that should be a table stakes offering and other solutions don’t have it.
And the really lightweight Chrome extension, RFPIO Lookup, is the most practical way to access your Q&A content. I’m still in the process of rolling that out to the sales team but when they find out they can access content in one click from their email, that will be a game-changer.”
Options for self-service and additional support
RFPIO offers a range of professional services for companies who need some extra help rolling out the platform, managing customizations, or regularly maintaining a significant number of projects—particularly large enterprises.
For Nick, who has a background in engineering and coding software, he just wanted self-service at a sustainable price point, without paying more for technical support. RFPIO checked both of those boxes.
RFP response software saves hundreds of resource hours
“Now we can answer up to 50 percent of questions automatically, based on past responses, which has clearly made us more efficient, and the quality of our responses has improved. I’m shooting for 70 to 80 percent,” Nick said.
A new collaborative RFP response process
Nick wanted the rollout of RFPIO to be minimally disruptive to people’s lives, and show them that their level of effort would be less than before. So Nick, using some tips from RFPIO’s blog, built out a full RFP response process.
His presales team acts as proposal managers, responsible for qualifying requests. They answer as many questions as possible and then brief the applicable subject matter expert.
The SMEs complete their assigned sections and then the proposal manager reviews the full document for tone, consistency, and alignment toward the solution they’re presenting. “We don’t want it to seem like 20 people answered the RFP.” Then it’s sent over to legal for final review.
Saving resources and winning more RFPs
Nick estimates that the full lifecycle of the RFP response process used to take them three to four weeks to complete, involving 15 to 30 people, totaling around two or three hundred hours.
“Now we’re doing the entire process in a week to a week and a half with five to ten people in a combined 40 hours.
The volume of RFPs we can do has really increased too. We went from, let’s say 10 to 15 responses all in the last year to having over seven that we completed within the first quarter this year,” he said. “Our next step will be profit and loss analysis, but I am confident that we are winning more RFPs with RFPIO.