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How to respond to an RFP like an all-star champ

How to respond to an RFP like an all-star champ

Organizations issue requests for proposals (RFPs) because they have a need that cannot be fixed internally — a big need […]

Category: Tag: RFP solution

How to respond to an RFP like an all-star champ

How to respond to an RFP like an all-star champ

Organizations issue requests for proposals (RFPs) because they have a need that cannot be fixed internally — a big need — one that will cost lots of money. This isn’t calling a plumber to fix a clog. It’s soliciting bids from multiple contractors for complete remodels, or to construct full-on additions. So, they send out a request for proposal. Now, to win that business, you need to know how to respond to an RFP.

Admittedly, RFPs can be challenging. So, we’re here to explore how you can master the process, create compelling bids and (hopefully) win. First, we’ll explore common obstacles you may face when you respond to an RFP. Next, we’ll offer the key steps for how to respond to an RFP as well as best practices. And finally, we’ll offer insight on how technology like RFP software makes responding a lot faster and easier. Let’s dig in.

Obstacles in the RFP response process

The scale of an RFP can be huge

RFPs contain up to thousands of questions and requests for specific content. If your company has a solution to the problem put forth by the issuer, then you respond with a proposal that includes all the answers and requested content. Depending on the size of the RFP, it can take you hours, days, or weeks to prepare a response. As long as you submit your completed RFP response by the deadline, your solution will be considered.

Competition is fierce

The issuer compares your RFP response with all of the other RFP responses received from your competitors. Sometimes, the lowest price wins. Other times, the best solution wins. Sometimes, it’s both…or neither.

Success requires more than paperwork

Much of the time, the winner results from the best pitch — an umbrella term that includes the RFP response, relationships built with sales and subject matter experts (SMEs) during the process, pricing, reputation and a variety of other factors. Then there are the times when winners are selected based on prior or existing relationships between the two organizations.

No matter what the deciding factor between an RFP win or loss, the ultimate truth is that you have to compose an RFP response to have a chance. Why not put your best foot forward?

How to respond to an RFP

1. Qualify the bid

Is this worth going after? Starting off with a bid or no-bid discussion gives you an opportunity to evaluate your win probability. Essentially, building a proposal is like investing in your future. Every investment requires close scrutiny.

2. Understand requirements

What do you need to get it done? This ranges from the type of content, to who produces it, to who is responsible for signing off on the final proposal. The list can be extensive, but it must be comprehensive to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

3. Answer repeat questions

Pull from your content library to fill in answers to repeat questions. If anything needs to be reviewed by a subject matter expert, be sure to get their eyes on it before submission.

4. Note due dates and tasks

Whose expertise do you need? After you determine the requirements, identify all the milestones. There’ll be due dates for content, reviews, edits and approvals. The trick is to respect everyone’s time while driving the process forward.

5. Assign questions for review

Who needs to sign off on this content? Generally, you’ll have multiple approvers to sign-off on content related to sales, product, support, legal, branding and so on.

6. Review and polish

Make sure you’re telling YOUR story. Add visuals or other supporting content to help convey your message. If you have the good fortune to have a dedicated proposal team, look to them for proposal formatting guidance. If you don’t have a proposal team, look to your marketing team. Ensure your proposal is in a clean, easy-to-read format. Or, even better, put it into a branded template.

7. Proofread

Don’t let poor grammar and typos be the reason you lose the bid.

8. Submit to issuer

Push send with no regrets.

The Benchmark Report: Proposal Management

Learn about the state of proposal management, and see what teams need to do to be successful moving forward.

Read the report here.

Best practices for responding to an RFP

Whether you have a dedicated team of stakeholders from each department or you assign a new team for each project, what matters most is that everyone in the organization recognizes that they have skin in the game.

RFP wins, proactive sales proposals and fast turnaround on questionnaires equate to revenue and may determine whether the company grows, shrinks, or offers an extra percentage point in next year’s retirement fund match.

Build the right team

Proposal managers lead the proposal team. Proposal managers may think of themselves as the director of a motion picture. After that “Directed by” end title flashes, another three minutes of credits roll by.

The proposal team I’m referring to is made up of the individuals you rely on for a variety of roles:

  • Prospect and customer interaction – Customer-facing teams have their fingers on the pulse of competitors and customer needs.
  • Subject matter expertise – Many RFP questions require detailed answers, and for those you should turn to the people who know the most about their particular area of expertise.
  • Brand messaging – Consult with marketing before submitting your response to ensure that you are on brand.
  • IT support – Can your company support the issuer’s needs?

… and all of the others who are vital to creating a winning proposal.

Even a one-person proposal department needs input from internal or external SMEs to build a high-quality response.

Only respond to RFPs you can win

As part of your bid-qualifying at the beginning of your RFP response process, add a go/no-go checkpoint to ensure that you only respond to RFPs you can win. Whether it’s a scheduled team meeting or a checklist, you need to answer:

  • Is the RFP the right fit for your organization and solution?
  • Do you have a comprehensive solution that addresses all of the challenges presented in the request?
  • Does your pricing match the budget?
  • Do you have an existing or prior relationship with the issuing organization?
  • Do you have any insight into why the RFP has been issued?
  • Can you meet the submission deadline?

Basing the answers to these questions on data rather than anecdotal evidence will help validate the go/no-go step as well as your role as a proposal manager. The Responsive platform’s AI-powered analytics tools provide that data.

Respect contributors’ time

If you want SMEs and other stakeholders to feel a sense of ownership for their proposal responsibilities, then you have to respect their time. RFP responses will suffer if contributors end up working after hours and weekends, rushing to meet deadlines. Get their buy-in ahead of time on deadlines and time required for reviews and approvals.

Document your process

A documented RFP response process will anchor your team during the most chaotic times. It’s up to you to own the process, but RFP software will make it easier to automate, execute and monitor processes from beginning to end on multiple projects running simultaneously.

Conduct a win/loss review

The win-loss review gives your team an opportunity to close the loop. Internally evaluate what worked and what didn’t.

Did you win? Why? How can you repeat it for future proposals?

Did you lose? Why? How can you avoid it in future proposals?

Include the whole proposal team in a wrap-up summary, but make the extra effort to work hand-in-hand with sales enablement so they can bring in the customer perspective.

Let technology do the heavy lifting

Remember earlier when I said the RFP response process is cyclical? The win/loss review will inform your new go/no-go step, increasing your predictive accuracy of which RFPs you can actually win. It helps to have RFP software for a win-loss review because you have everything that went into the response—the planning, communication, content and the actual response—in one place.

Software is the single most effective way to overcome lack of time, experience and other resources. It’s the difference maker that will help you respond like a boss. With only 43 percent of organizations using RFP-specific technology, there’s a huge opportunity for you to get a leg up on competitors.

How Responsive can help

Responsive RFP software makes it easier to collaborate with an extended team and leverage the power of technology. With automated processes for scheduling, collaboration and completing wide swaths of massive RFPs using our industry-leading Content Library, you can blaze through the first pass of a response faster than working without RFP software or with less advanced software solutions.

You create more time to spend customizing the responses that really matter and focus on differentiating yourself from the competition. And that’s only the beginning!

Using software at every step in the RFP response process

Here’s a quick overview of how Responsive RFP software helps during each of the seven steps of RFP response:

  1. Qualify the bid — Check data from past similar RFPs. What took weeks without RFP software may only take hours or minutes with it. All things being equal, is this RFP winnable?
  2. Understand requirements — Let the tool create a checklist of open items based on what remains after the automated first pass conducted at intake by your Content Library.
  3. Answer commonly seen questions — Responsive RFP technology consolidates all your previous Q&A pairs into an intelligent content library, so you can automatically respond to repeat questions in just a few clicks.
  4. Assign due dates and tasks to key collaborators — Assign each RFP question or section as a task to individual collaborators from the project dashboard in Responsive. They’ll then receive a notification from where they’re already working (e.g., email, Slack, or Teams).
  5. Assign questions for review and approval — Simplify the review and approval process with automated reminders and cues across multiple platforms.
  6. Polish — From intake, work within a branded template and support answers with approved content that’s always up-to-date according to the SME in charge of that content.
  7. Proofread — Still important, but working with already-approved content will decrease how much you have to proofread.
  8. Submit to issuer — Push send from Responsive or your integrated CRM.

We recently created a Proposal Management Benchmark Report where we found that organizations using RFP software already managed 43 percent more RFPs than those who do not use RFP software. If you’re looking to speed ahead of the field in RFP response, then gain traction faster with RFP software.

I’ll just leave these other tidbits right here…

Recognize SMEs and salespeople at quarterly meetings. Salespeople are competitive and like to be recognized for winning.

Implement formal kickoff meetings for RFPs. Make them quick and include pre-reading materials in the invitation to hit the ground running. Some organizations combine this with a go/no-go checkpoint.

Hold 15-minute daily standup meetings or calls as you approach the RFP deadline. Focus on status reports and action items.

Commit to professional development time. Join this LinkedIn group, the response management Slack community, or connect with APMP. This is especially valuable for small shops, where it can be hard to build a network.

If this has inspired you to investigate RFP software, then request a Responsive demo today!

How to choose the best RFP software

How to choose the best RFP software

The best RFP software breaks down silos and encourages collaboration. It is agile — it addresses its customers’ needs in the moment and quickly adapts to future needs.

The best software is built by (and for) humans. Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and natural language processing technology adapts to its users’ needs empowering greater efficiency. The best RFP software companies go even further by using customer feedback to routinely improve their products.

Indeed, great RFP software and software companies do all that but with the specific goal of encouraging efficiency, compliance and confidence in the RFP response process. The most successful responders see the best results by collaborating within a single response management platform … RFP software.

What is RFP software?

Request for proposal (RFP) software helps organizations respond to more RFPs in less time. Of course, that barely scratches the surface of advanced RFP software capabilities. Advanced RFP software helps optimize every step of the RFP process, from before the document is received to after the bid is submitted.

Essential RFP software features

An efficient response management platform includes features that streamline your team’s workflow. At the very minimum, RFP software should feature:

Import and export capabilities

Before the advent of RFP software, there were *gasp* manual processes. Of course, the challenge is that issuers send RFPs in a variety of formats, including Microsoft Word and Excel, Google Docs and Sheets, and sometimes PDFs. And—this will surprise no one—issuers weren’t (and still aren’t) consistent in their formatting inside their docs, spreadsheets, or PDFs.

Have you ever searched a poorly organized spreadsheet? Where do you search docs or PDFs if you don’t know what you’re looking for? Manual importing is tedious and time-consuming. In fact, it can be the most time-consuming part of a manual RFP process.

RFP response software should be able to recognize critical questions and information, regardless of the format, and import them into your RFP software.

There are two kinds of people in this world: people who say there are two kinds of people and people who don’t. There are also spreadsheet people and doc people, although some live on the wild side and do both.

Spreadsheets are mathematical and formulaic, but that doesn’t mean the formulas are standard from RFP to RFP. RFP software imports spreadsheets in a couple of ways:

  • Standard template – Basic RFP software allows for standard template import, where you download the template spreadsheet, copy/paste the questions, and then upload it.
  • Advanced configuration – Forget copy/pasting. Advanced configuration lets you process raw source files, customized how you want them. Beyond that, Responsive automatically detects predefined dropdowns and automatically configures the sections.

Word and Google Docs, on the other hand, are more visual. The biggest challenge with Word and Google Docs is knowing what you need to reply to. Word and Google documents often have a lot of filler, such as company detail, at the beginning of an RFP.

While most RFP software can import the text from Word, they have difficulty distinguishing between what’s useful and what isn’t. Responsive reads the document’s style guide and can auto-identify sections and questions.

Often, RFPs arrive in mixed formats. Many Word documents have Excel tables or charts inserted into the doc. Not a problem, at least when you’re using Responsive. Many of the same rules apply to importing Word and mixed documents as to Excel sheets:

  • Identify the sections, questions, and answers in the original document.
  • Process the source document and customize it using the advanced configuration in Responsive.
  • Preview to make sure everything is in the right place.

The Responsive platform’s advanced import and export capabilities can shave as much as half the response time.

Content management

In the early 2000s, workers whose jobs required access to company knowledge spent about 2.5 hours a day searching for information. If you’re old enough to remember, those were the days of dial-up, AOL, and Ask Jeeves. Software as a service (SaaS) was unheard of.

Twenty years later, nearly everyone has the internet. Need an answer to a question? Google it. And you’d be hard-pressed to find a business problem that can’t be addressed using a SaaS application. Surprisingly, the time spent searching for knowledge has increased from a bit over ¼ of the workday to nearly half.

Why would that be? There are probably a couple of reasons, including that businesses are a lot more siloed now than they were at the turn of the millennium—and of course, there’s a heck of a lot more knowledge to search.

Not surprisingly, disjointed content is one of the top challenges of an RFP process. The Responsive content library not only simplifies the search but also does much of the work for you.

The content library in Responsive Content:

  • Stores marketing approved content in one place – Your company’s single source of truth.
  • Lets you stitch together high-quality content – Browse previous responses to create customized answers.
  • Makes creating content easy– Once you answer a question, you can store the Q&A pair for future needs. As your company accumulates knowledge or documents, it’s simple to upload it into your content library.
  • Streamlines content formatting – Organize and format content however you like.
  • Automates responses – With just a few clicks, Responsive customers answer up to 80 percent of the questions on an RFP, regardless of the format.
  • Encourages regular content audits – Keep your content library fresh and up to date with regular audits. Responsive will remind you when it’s time to review specific content.


When it comes to breaking down silos, Responsive walks the walk with industry-leading integrations. Users from across your company can access Responsive through more than two dozen applications you already use, including:

  • CRMs – Responsive is an ideal solution for all revenue-generating teams, not just response management. Access the content library and other Responsive features through your company’s chosen CRM, including Salesforce, Pipedrive, Dynamics 365, PipelineDeals, and HubSpot.
  • Communication apps – Responsive enables company-wide collaboration through your existing communication apps, including Slack, Google Hangouts, Jira, and Microsoft Teams.
  • Cloud storage apps – Worldwide, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every single day. Cloud storage enables companies to manage data without accumulating vast technical debt. Responsive seamlessly integrates with Sharepoint, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive.
  • SSO authentication apps – Responsive works within your company’s security protocols through SSO authentication integrations with Microsoft ADFS, Microsoft Azure, OneLogin, and Okta.
  • Browser extensions – Access the content library through Responsive® LookUp and Chrome.
  • Vendor assessment apps – Securely import directly from third-party platforms using Whistic.
  • Productivity apps – Work faster using Responsive with Microsoft Suites and Google Sheets.
  • Sales enablement apps – Revenue-generating employees can access Responsive through Seismic or Highspot.

AI assistance

RFP automation slashes time spent answering RFPs. Responsive goes beyond simple automation. We use machine learning to intelligently assist you through every step of the RFP response process.

Leverage Responsive to:

  • Auto-identify response content – The advanced artificial intelligence in the Responsive platform automatically identifies response content.
  • Get automated answers – The AI-powered recommendation engine pulls from the content library to recommend answers based on previous similar questions.
  • Assign questions to pertinent subject matter experts – With Responsive, there’s no more trying to figure out the best people to help with your RFP. AI technology identifies relevant and available SMEs.
  • Analyze win-loss opportunities – Not all RFPs are worth a response. Have you won similar bids in the past? Is this one worth it? Responsive learns from previous wins and losses to help you decide whether to pursue the next one.

The benefits of RFP response automation

Roughly 80% of a typical RFP consists of questions you’ve answered many, many times. Response automation lets you focus on the questions that matter most, the questions that will help you win the bid, by answering the routine queries with a click of a button.

The benefits of leveraging RFP automation include:

  • Streamlined workflow – Responsive is not just a response management tool; it’s a project management platform. It uses automation to establish roles and ensure on-time deliverables.
  • Decreased response time – When a workplace tool does most of the work for you, it’s bound to increase productivity and reduce response time.
  • Improved response quality – Automated replies free you to craft winning responses to the essential questions.
  • Centralized content library – Automatically store and catalog responses in a single source of truth.
  • Improved collaboration – The suite of Responsive integrations enables company-wide collaboration.
  • Increased revenue growth – Responding to more of the right RFPs in less time means more opportunities to drive revenue.

Steps for choosing the right RFP management software

Choosing the right RFP management software shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are several factors to consider:

1. Assess your RFP response process

Before you commit to an annual RFP software subscription, schedule a meeting with your entire RFP response team (subject matter experts, executive stakeholders, bid writers, etc.). The goal is to discover gaps and opportunities in your current workflow, then make improvements through RFP automation.

2. Prioritize RFP software features

Now that you know what your RFP response team needs to thrive, it’s time to prioritize RFP software features. Divide features into two columns—”must-have” and “nice-to-have.” If having a holistic view of RFP projects is a top priority, project dashboards are a must-have. If communication is dialed in, then Slack or Microsoft Team integrations are a nice-to-have.

3. Explore RFP software comparison platforms

Third-party validation is a vital part of decision-making for any purchase, including RFP software. Think of G2 Crowd and Capterra as Yelp for software products. Use these RFP software comparison tools to compare and contrast features and check out customer feedback. Seeing use cases in the real RFP response management world will inspire ideas and validate decisions.

4. Make a data-driven value assessment

Have no idea how many hours your team spends on RFP responses? Demystify these costs by tracking everyone’s time. Use our ROI calculator to determine how much you will save on hours and resources with RFP response automation. Armed with data, you’ll rely on stats instead of emotions to make a strong case for additional funds to cover RFP software.

5. Understand the product and the service

Once you have narrowed down RFP software providers, request a demo to see the solution in action and meet the team you’re considering working with. Bring your priority features list, along with questions that need to be addressed. Pay special attention to the user experience as the solution should be quick and easy for all RFP contributors to learn.

rfp repsonse software

Important questions to ask RFP software vendors

Adding to your existing tech stack can be a challenging sell for executives and your IT department, so it’s essential to ask the right questions of potential RFP software vendors.

  • What is the average ROI customers report after using your product? – There’s no surer way to secure executive buy-in than demonstrating your return on investment. ROI will vary from company to company. The ROI from Responsive customers is as high as 600%. Calculate your ROI here.
  • How would you describe your training and onboarding process? – You have executive buy-in; what about user buy-in? The onboarding process is vital for training and creating buzz over new software. The Responsive onboarding process is incremental, easy to follow, and designed to set you up for success.
  • How do you manage customer requests and feedback? –Because needs vary from company to company and change from day to day, there’s no such thing as perfect software. Responsive recognizes the importance of a bespoke solution, which means listening to every customer and addressing their individual needs.
  • What integrations are available? – Toggling between multiple applications is a pain. Responsive integrates with over two dozen of the most popular business tools.
  • How would your software solve problems x, y, and z? – Is the RFP software going to address your company’s needs? It’s hard to imagine a response management problem Responsive can’t solve, but if we’re not the right solution for some reason, we will tell you.
  • What are your data import and export capabilities? – If all RFP issuers used the same format, RFP response platforms might not be such a critical tool for response teams. Responsive imports and exports from Microsoft Word, Excel, and even PDFs.
  • Do you offer lifetime updates and enhancements? – Technology changes, as do your needs. Responsive provides regular updates and enhancements.
  • What are your competitive differentiators? – What makes one RFP solution better than others? As mentioned, Responsive offers more integrations and import/export options than any other RFP response software. We lead the pack in AI-powered automation. Additionally, we have an unprecedented pricing model. Instead of charging per user license, Responsive charges based on the number of projects going at any given time.

Automate your RFP process with a management solution that’s right for you

If you’re ready to see how RFP software will help you craft higher-quality responses to more RFPs in less time, request a free demo.

Why you need RFP software

Why you need RFP software

The response process should be scalable, repeatable, and consistent.

Perhaps you remember the childhood game of “telephone.” In the game, one person thinks of a sentence and then whispers it to the next person in line; that person then whispers it to the next in line, and so on. Once everyone has heard the sentence, the last person has to say it out loud. Almost invariably, the final sentence has very little in common with the original.

An RFP might land in someone’s inbox in a variety of formats, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or even as a PDF. You might share the RFP, or parts of it, with dozens of stakeholders, each with their own area of expertise.

You could even have multiple stakeholders working on a single question or a single subject matter expert (SME) working on multiple RFPs, which, without the right processes in place, leads to inconsistent responses—a giant red flag to procurement teams.

In other words, an RFP can be like a written game of telephone. Multiple hands without centralized processes can delay and distort the response, meaning the response manager might have to spend hours, days, or even weeks trying to craft a cohesive response out of an anything but cohesive array of answers.

The solution is RFP software that is advanced enough to frame a response process that is consistent, repeatable, and scalable, regardless of the number of stakeholders involved. Let’s explore how RFP software can smooth out the response process, enabling you to drive more revenue in less time.

What is RFP software?

Clothing sizes, sports referees, traffic, RFPs—is consistency too much to ask? To be fair, consistency can get a little boring, but consistency in the RFP response process leads to better responses and perhaps more time for you to enjoy more of the chaos we call life outside of work.

As much as we’d love it if all RFPs arrived in consistent formats, they don’t. An effective RFP response tool is the foundation of a fine-tuned RFP process, creating consistency, repeatability, and scalability—transforming any RFP format into a predictably easy-to-navigate response.

Intelligent RFP software is able to import documents into a single format that’s simple and easily accessible by each stakeholder. In turn, the stakeholders submit their answers via the online portal, so project managers, writers, SMEs, etc., know who said what, when it was said, and how to find it, every single time, regardless of the RFP’s original format.

Once answers are in the system, you can store the Q&A pairs in the Content Library, or as I like to call it, The Single Source of Truth, for future use. But SMEs don’t have to wait for an RFP to add vital information to the Content Library. As they accumulate knowledge, rather than storing it on paper or in their heads (surprisingly common), they can add it to the Content Library, where it will remain accessible to all who need it.

Additionally, RFPIO’s advanced RFP software is a project management platform, with features such as assigning and tracking roles and responsibilities, scheduled review cycles, trend analytics, built-in collaboration tools, and seamless integration with the most popular CRMs and other sales tools.

In short, RFPIO software is both a scalable content management system and a project management tool, allowing teams to respond to more of the right bids in less time.

Perhaps less tangibly, but as importantly, it instills trust in SMEs and other stakeholders, as they know that their efforts won’t be duplicated or wasted and that there’s a single repository of consistent and repeatable company knowledge. This enables companies to build on things as opposed to just trying to keep afloat.

Fundamental features to look for in RFP software

The two main features to look for in RFP response technology are project and content management. While response teams might function with one or the other feature, it’s far more difficult.

You can answer RFPs without an automated and intuitive content management system, but that would make them a lot more difficult. On the other hand, you could have just a content database, but you’d lose context, such as where the content is, where the gaps are, and where you have old information that’s being pulled in without actually doing the RFPs.

Still, organizations should look for what their specific needs are. What are the most significant pain points? How will the needs grow in the future?

The most common pain points we hear are:

  • Too much time spent on responses – An up-to-date and easily accessible content library means the difference between tracking stakeholders down and clicking a few buttons.
  • Low response capacity – More often than not, low response capacity comes from trying to do too much. All too often, replying to each and every RFP is seen as the safer bet. Imagine if dating singles took the same approach. Instead of “swiping right” on every opportunity, choose those that fit. An automated response process can help you choose wisely and simplify those worth pursuing. More importantly, automation helps ensure that responses are accurate and on time, but also compelling and competitive, which helps propel your bid to the top of the stack.
  • Disjointed workflow – For proposal teams, a disjointed workflow is a confidence killer! When stakeholders cannot follow the process, they may find themselves wondering “why bother?” RFPIO’s project management features ensure up-to-the-minute statuses on each proposal. And when someone is stuck, others can see where they are stuck and help.
  • Inconsistent deliverables – RFP software eliminates the differences between formats, makes questions easy to locate, and simplifies collaboration, even in siloed organizations. Perhaps more significantly, RFP software enforces rules and parameters, such as character limits.

Why you need RFP software

Since the start of the COVID pandemic, the growth of remote work opportunities has brought the term “distributed workforce” into the mainstream. However, with worldwide offices, multiple brands under single umbrellas, etc., distributed workforces have been around for a very long time.

It’s common for a response to require SMEs from multiple time zones or for a single SME to work on responses from half the world away, and even from different brands under their corporate umbrella.

Response software such as RFPIO allows for different versions of questions and answers. So rather than responding to each RFP from scratch, RFPIO lets SMEs add to or change content to tailor each RFP, ensuring that there’s less of a risk of discrepancies.

RFPIO features include:

  • Content management – Repeatable company information in a single source, ready to go at the click-of-a-button.
  • Integrations – RFPIO seamlessly integrates with more than two dozen of the most popular CRMs, project management systems, communication apps, sales enablement tools, etc.
  • Automation – RFPIO continually learns as you work and suggests answers as you go, providing repeatability. The platform also automatically transfers RFPs from multiple formats into a single, consistent, accessible, predictable one.
  • A unique, project-based pricing approach – User-based pricing limits response teams, creates bottlenecks and incentivizes teams to limit their use of SMEs. Instead, RFPIO includes unlimited users in all of the pricing levels.
  • Scalability – RFPIO has no data or user limits. The software grows as the company grows and changes. Moreover, as the RFP industry evolves, so does RFPIO, without burdening existing tech stacks..

How RFP software can help

I will let you in on a little secret. RFP software, even cutting-edge RFP software such as RFPIO, is not a magic wand. It will never replace response teams, but advanced RFP technology will make their jobs more efficient and productive, ultimately making everyone, even CFOs, happy.

However, the only way RFP software can truly add value is if it works with response management teams rather than the other way around. That includes:

More productive collaboration

Improving collaboration is key to effective RFP management. Most organizations have distributed workforces, and even those that don’t might have off-premises response stakeholders and SMEs.

Chasing people down for answers is a waste of time. RFPIO allows any stakeholder to log in at any time and see exactly what is being asked of them.


RFP software should work with tech stacks instead of adding to them. RFPIO does precisely that by seamlessly integrating with more than two dozen of the most popular workplace tools, including:

  • CRM – Break down the silos between sales and response teams with CRM integrations, including Salesforce, Dynamics 365, Pipedrive, PipelineDeals, and HubSpot
  • Communication apps – Stay in touch with stakeholders with Google Hangouts, Jira, Microsoft Teams, and Slack
  • Cloud storage – Sharepoint, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive
  • SSO authentication – Login through Microsoft ADFS, Microsoft Azure, OneLogin, and Okta
  • Browser extensions – Access RFPIO through Chromium Edge or Google Chrome
  • Vendor assessment – Streamline security questionnaires through Whistic
  • Productivity – Import RFPs from nearly any format, including Microsoft Suites, Google Sheets, and PDFs
  • Sales enablement – Import and export content using Seismic or Highspot

RFPIO’s project management features allow project managers to ensure efficiency, establish roles and deadlines, protect your RFP response content, and curate and cultivate your Content Library.

Automated import process

Manual imports are the most time-consuming part of the RFP response process. RFPIO’s advanced import tools turn RFPs from nearly any format into consistent and easily-collaborative content.

Content Library

As I’ve mentioned, consistency is key in response management. In fact, repeating yourself is perhaps the easiest way to streamline your response process, especially since most questions are repeats, or at least variations on questions you’ve seen before.

Keep all your content in one easily accessible place with RFPIO’s AI-empowered Content Library. When you encounter one of those repeated questions, the Content Library will automatically suggest a company-approved answer. All you have to do is click a button and tailor the answer if needed.

knowledge management tool decreases RFP response time by:

  • Providing a searchable information hub
  • Housing reusable content
  • Enabling customization using previous responses
  • Facilitating content accuracy

AI-powered recommendation engine

We like to think of RFPIO as a response team’s brilliant assistant. Stumped on a question or you don’t have time to scour the database? That’s what the AI-powered recommendation engine is for. It:

  • Answers common repetitive questions
  • Auto-identifies response content
  • Assigns questions to pertinent SMEs

Enhanced security

RFPIO’s multi-level security enhancements protect organizations’ most valuable assets, company knowledge, with RFPIO’s state-of-the-art security controls.

  • SSO – Using Single Sign-On, you won’t have to memorize passwords. Simply login using your company credentials.
  • Automate user management – Automatically delete users when they leave the company
  • 2-factor authentication – If your company doesn’t use SSO, RFPIO also supports 2-factor authentication.
  • Control access – Define what users can and can’t see.

Let’s talk about the bigger picture. The ultimate goal of more effective RFP management is to win more business! RFPIO gives response management teams more time to craft better answers to more RFPs. It sounds simple, right? Again, it’s all about scalability, repeatability, and consistency.

With RFPIO, you can increase your win potential by responding to the right opportunities in a consistent, repeatable voice, using consistent, scalable answers in a repeatable, easily collaborative, and searchable format.

Scale your team’s ability to answer RFPs

By optimizing the amount of time spent on repetitive manual processes, your team is freed up to dedicate their resources to pursuing new business.

Produce higher quality responses, consistently

In a highly competitive landscape, businesses cannot afford to gamble by underperforming at the proposal stage. RFP software enables consistency through dependable accuracy, helping ensure finely-tuned responses, and creating reliable deliverables through export functionality.

Start winning more bids with RFPIO

RFPIO is the industry-leading response management platform, designed to securely increase RFP win rates and drive revenue.  Learn more by scheduling a Free Demo

Now, if only we could do something about clothing sizes.

Next, we’ll discuss knowledge management best practices.

What is RFP software?

What is RFP software?

In many companies, proposal and sales teams are stretched to their limits. Even though high-revenue sales requests often arrive via RFP, it’s often easiest to grab those ready-to-close sales leads, even if it means less revenue.

Feature-rich advanced RFP software allows overstretched response management and sales departments to reach for the brass rings—those winnable and profitable RFPs—using significantly fewer employee hours and resources.

If your organization uses dated software or a manual RFP process, or if time constraints prohibit RFP responses altogether, read on to learn about RFP software and how it could benefit your organization.

What is an RFP?

A request for proposal (RFP) is a document that a buyer issues to suppliers that outlines the product or service requirements for procurement. RFPs come in a variety of different formats and narratives (similar to essay questions).

An RFP is the highest form of communication in the procurement process. Most deals are for more than $20,000—often significantly more, like with extra zeros and another comma. They are most common in government, software, insurance, business services, healthcare, and other complex, highly-regulated industries.

Security questionnaires determine whether a vendor (or even the vendor’s vendors) is compliant with the customer’s security requirements. They may include questions about security and privacy, business continuity management, supply chain management, business continuity management, etc. Not surprisingly, security questionnaires are lengthy and complicated, sometimes with hundreds of questions.

Additionally, there are requests for quotes (RFQ)—typically for purchasing goods rather than services—and requests for information (RFI). RFQs, as you might imagine, are about the bottom line, which makes sense when purchasing several gross of industrial screws, but not services that require a more bespoke approach. On the other hand, an RFI might be used to narrow potential suppliers down for future RFP solicitations.

Of course, RFPs often include RFQs, security questionnaires, and RFIs.

What are the objectives of an RFP?

The main objective of an RFP is for organizations to formally announce that they are opening a project for bids. RFPs are more formal and exacting than simple requests for pricing, and they’re typically for larger purchases.

An RFP will describe the needs and expectations of the issuer’s project and create the parameters to compare solutions.

RFPs generally require specific information about regulatory compliance, security, etc. In fact, it helps to think of an RFP response as the precursor to a sales contract and something that would even pass muster with legal departments—and quite often, legal has to approve responses before they’re sent to the customer.

RFPs ask for accurate, compliant, contract-ready answers to customer questions. Compare it to purchasing a house. You might want to know the current state of water or electrical systems, and as part of the presales contract process, the homeowner has to submit the answers in writing. The seller is then legally bound to the accuracy of their answers.

Common problems in the RFP response process

The RFP response is more complex than the uninitiated might think, which is why manual processes only allow for a couple of responses per year. There are a few notable challenges in the RFP response process, including:

The workload – Single RFPs often include hundreds of pages, requiring input from multiple stakeholders. Imagine answering dozens of RFPs per year when you use manual processes!

Content quality – You have one shot at answering an RFP correctly. Content should be centralized, current, and accurate, which requires advanced cataloging.

Collaboration – If an answer isn’t in your content library, the RFP will require collaboration, which means consulting with subject matter experts (SMEs). Having multiple people provide different answers is like herding cats, and extremely difficult without response management.

Detail – RFPs require impeccably detailed and accurate answers using existing knowledge and collaboration from SMEs.

Deadline – RFP deadlines are firm and many responses are time stamped. Missing a deadline by just a few seconds can rule your company out. Response management should keep you on track throughout the response process.

Consistency – An RFP response process should ensure consistent and on-time deliverables.

What are the three levels of RFP software?

There are three levels of RFP software. The first, manual processes, include some software, such as documents, spreadsheets, and a folder tree, but little else. Manual processes are generally acceptable for companies that only respond to a couple of RFPs a year.

I typically refer to the next level of RFP software as “the document suites.” This includes word-processing software composed of essential collaboration tools, content management, templates, and formatting. Document suites are suitable for companies that answer a handful of RFPs each year.

When RFP-based deals are an essential source of revenue, most organizations opt for the third level—a Response Management solution. These solutions help businesses with responses ranging from RFPs to security questionnaires, and offer the most advanced functionality for creating RFPs and managing their workflows. They save time, money, and costly errors through machine learning, robust integrations, and comprehensive and intuitive content management tools.

What are the benefits of RFP software?

RFP software solutions remove most of the above challenges by automating as much as 80% of the response process.

To a harried response manager, RFP software is a game-changer. To their employer, RFP software offers a demonstrably impressive return on investment.

Because RFPs are unique, even when they come from existing customers, and because businesses and regulatory requirements are in near-constant flux, most responses require additional input from SMEs. Through RFP software automation, but still at the response manager’s discretion, the SMEs’ answers will then go into the content library for future use.

Features of Response Management software

RFP solutions are capable solutions designed to help organizations engage with external stakeholders in an efficient, strategic, and consistent manner. They support the process of responding to customers and other stakeholders by leveraging new developments in machine learning and collaborative cloud technology to break down knowledge silos and automate repetitive tasks.

Responding to RFPs is one of the most popular response management use cases, and for this reason, most solutions have been designed to meet the specific needs of proposal managers.

So what are the key features?

Machine learning – With machine learning, you are the teacher. The system learns how you work and how you answer questions, enabling a click-of-a-button response the next time you encounter similar queries.

Scalability – A scalable solution that can grow and adapt to support your company as its operations grow and business needs change

Workflow Automation – Customizable automated workflows and dozens of integrations allow for easy collaboration.

Professional Document Production – Create professional high-fidelity response documents with the correct formatting in just a few keystrokes.

Data insights – Analyzing the efficiency of the RFP response process requires good reporting, including tracking the response team’s progress, the types of responses you’re issuing (and winning), win/loss analysis, etc. You shouldn’t be limited to the data the software designer thinks is important. RFPIO lets you create reports the way you want them. If you use reporting suites, we probably integrate with them too.

Advanced Content Management – RFP software solutions provide enterprise-grade content management to ensure content repositories are current and complete.

The benefits of using RFP software

Has this ever happened to you? The moment you begin reading a proposal request, you experience a sense of déjà vu. It’s not your imagination. You have answered most of these questions before…many times before.

Most of a typical RFP includes relatively standard questions. RFP software automates most of the response process, freeing you to consult with SMEs and coordinate the response process.

Optimized workflow

RFPIO optimizes workflow by smoothing out the content creation process, establishing workflow roles, providing selective collaboration, curating and cultivating your content library, and letting you spend more time on presentations instead of herding cats.

With RFPIO software, users can rename and customize fields and intake forms, and customize frameworks and business processes. RFPIO software is a tool that fits with your processes instead of the other way around. In fact, RFPIO integrates with more workflow tools than any other response management platform.

Unified collaboration

The response process can include dozens of stakeholders from multiple departments and time zones. Timely collaboration can be a challenge, but not with RFPIO. RFPIO integrates with most project management and messaging apps, and collaboration is built into RFPIO’s platform.

RFPIO’s collaborative tools allow you to:

  • Consolidate project-specific conversations – Never lose track of comment threads again.
  • Break down knowledge silos – Each stakeholder on a response has a singular goal…winning the bid! RFPIO allows you to share knowledge with stakeholders as needed, and vice versa.
  • Track progress of response completion – See whether the project is running on time and whether each stakeholder is doing their part.

Improved win rates

The average RFP win rate is 45%. Advanced response software uses AI to streamline the response process, which means you have more time to respond to more RFPs and win more bids. Additionally, RFPIO’s Content Library helps improve response quality by suggesting pre-approved answers to most queries, leading to an increased win rate.

Even if your win rate has only nominal gains, you will still produce more revenue because, as with many other things, RFP response is a numbers game. If you have the time to respond to more RFPs, you will have more victories and drive revenue.

“Since implementing RFPIO, we’ve been able to do so much more with the same headcount. We’ve increased efficiency by at least 30-35%. We’ve diverted the effort and time to more value-added activities, creating a win-win both for the organization and the team members”.
Shashi K, Assistant VP of Content at Genpact

RFPIO’s project management features help expedite response turnaround time, scale response capacity, and facilitate consistent deliverables.

The RFPIO approach

RFPIO is the most advanced RFP solution on the market

“RFPIO is perfect! 10 out of 10, a hundred percent 10 out of 10. RFPIO is a superb product. It is the best platform for RFP management out there.”
Jack Pierce, Proposal Team Manager, Accruent

Features include:

Proprietary import and export technology

Most RFPs show up in your inbox as Word or Excel docs. Some appear as PDFs, which less advanced RFP response platforms can’t read. RFPIO simplifies the import/export process, even with PDFs, thereby shortening the response time and delivering accurate, timely, and impressive bids. RFPIO’s industry-leading import/export features include:

  • Machine-learning-driven functionality that interprets questionnaires and parses them into components.
  • Specific functionality for the import of several standard questionnaire formats (CAIQ, CORL, ILPA, etc.)
  • Modern, intuitive UX for guiding our machine learning during import.

Adaptive knowledge library

The most time-consuming part of the response process isn’t strategizing. It isn’t even herding those metaphorical cats. Most of an RFP’s questions have probably been answered before, whether for that customer or others—sometimes several others. Answering those redundant questions is where the bulk of response time lies.

RFPIO’s AI-enhanced Content Library expedites the response process by automatically providing pre-approved answers to those tedious questions with just a few keystrokes. RFPIO’s web-based Content Library includes:

  • Auto-suggested answers
  • Auto-assigned content to relevant owners
  • Intelligent, easy search function
  • Cloud-based content storage

Built-in integrations

RFPIO is scalable and seamlessly integrates with over two dozen of the most popular sales enablement tools, productivity apps, CRMs, cloud storage providers, communication platforms, and SSO authentication software products.

  • CRMs – RFPIO integrates with the most popular customer relationship management (CRM) tools, including Salesforce, Hubspot, and several others. Users can start, monitor, and collaborate on projects within the CRM. For example, with the click of a couple of buttons, the RFP goes from Salesforce to RFPIO and puts compliant content at the finger of frontline teams.
  • Communication apps – Distributed workforces have made communication apps such as Slack and Microsoft Teams a modern necessity. RFPIO functions within those apps to keep teams aligned and projects on track.
  • Cloud Storage – RFPIO integrates with Google Drive, Google Cloud, Sharepoint, OneDrive, etc., so all documents can be stored in the cloud.
  • SSO authentication – Users can log into RFPIO through Microsoft ADFS, Microsoft Azure, Okta, or OneLogin.
  • Vendor assessment – RFPIO teams with Whistic to seamlessly import third-party vendor security questionnaires.
  • Browser extensions – Stakeholders can access the company content library directly through Chromium Edge or Google Chrome.
  • Productivity – RFPIO users can search, import, and export using productivity tools such as Google Docs and Microsoft Suite applications.
  • Sales enablement – Two-way RFPIO integrations with Seismic and Highspot allow users to import and export collateral, spreadsheets, diagrams, etc. between apps, and improve collaboration between sales, presales, and executives.

Robust project management tools

RFPIO’s management solution alleviates common challenges in meeting deadlines with better workflow assessment, even with distributed workforces. RFPIO Project management capabilities include:

  • Trend analytics – Using insightful at-a-glance dashboards, built-in analytics allows users to analyze time and resources dedicated to an RFP, and track which questions are answered manually or through the content library.
  • Task management – RFPIO breaks projects into bite-sized pieces and helps project managers assign tasks to those who aren’t buried under other responsibilities, and track progress.
  • Review cycles – Multiple stakeholder RFPs should have multiple stakeholder review processes. RFPIO allows companies to set up review cycles on questions, sections, or the entire RFP.

Deliver better proposals with RFP software

If your team is reluctant to respond to even winnable RFPs because of a lack of time and resources, or if your RFP win rate is less than impressive, it’s worth a few minutes to learn more about RFPIO’s time-saving and bid-winning response management software.

How proposal teams can drive sales productivity and improve outcomes (with a free email template)

How proposal teams can drive sales productivity and improve outcomes (with a free email template)

“I don’t get no respect.” – Rodney Dangerfield

At RFPIO, we often say that proposal managers are the unsung heroes of their organizations. Proposal teams spend hours, weeks, and even months crafting perfect responses, yet who gets credit for the wins?

In siloed organizations, both proposal and sales teams have vital roles to play in the response process, but it’s often the sales team that gets credit for sealing the deal. Why is that? How can proposal managers prove their worth in a siloed organization? Can sales and proposal teams set their rivalries aside and recognize that their goals are not just aligned, but identical?

Don’t get me wrong; I would never throw shade at sales teams. They’re critical to any business, including ours. However, if an organization regularly receives RFPs, RFIs, RFQs, or RFTs, a dedicated proposal team with a professional proposal manager frees sales teams to make more contacts and close more deals. In other words, everybody wins.

Still, like the late, great, Rodney Dangerfield, proposal managers often don’t get a lot of respect. Oftentimes, their ideas are dismissed as uninformed or out of touch, if they even get a seat at the table – after all, it’s sales who has their collective ear to the ground.

Maybe, but a good proposal manager is a fountain of knowledge. In many cases, they know more about their company than the founders. Additionally, the RFPs themselves offer essential insights into customers’ priorities and pain points that sales may not be aware of.

So, now that you know how valuable you are, how can you convince the rest of your company? What role does a proposal manager play in their organization?

In my upcoming May 19th webinar, I will talk about the steps you can take to prove your worth. In this blog post, I’ll outline some of the challenges the proposal managers we work with face, and I will give you an email template with the information your boss needs to see to validate your position.

Are proposal managers part of the sales team?

The short answer to whether proposal managers are part of the sales team is, maybe. The longer answer is that it typically depends on the size and structure of their company. In most small and medium-sized organizations, proposal managers answer directly to the director of sales, business development, or marketing.

In larger organizations or enterprise companies, the proposal manager could be part of revenue management or finance.

Do you feel like you’re pushing boulders by yourself?

We’ve all heard the story of Sisyphus, the ancient Greek king, who, as the legend goes, was punished by Zeus for cheating death. The punishment was to push an immense boulder up a hill, only each time, the boulder rolled back down the hill right before Sisyphus reached the top.

I’m sure a lot of you can relate to Sisyphus. While your boulder is metaphorical, it’s every bit as frustrating when you’re trying to do the heavy lifting but you aren’t getting the support you need.

When sales hands the RFP off to proposal management, all too often, they wash their hands of it. Sales, however, should remain part of the process. Perhaps a salesperson or pre-salesperson was the catalyst for the RFP – in that case, they’re a subject matter expert on the customer.

Sales should also help craft the proposal, and ensure that all the customers’ priorities are met before submitting the final bid.

How to bring sales and proposal management together

In too many cases, sales teams forget about RFPs the second they are handed off to their proposal management team. But isn’t sales as vested in the outcome as anyone? A win for the proposal team is a win for the sales team, and vice versa.

I will get into more detail in the webinar, but fostering communication and de-siloing the sales and proposal management teams will help create more wins for the teams and the company as a whole.

How to convince leadership to keep you in the loop

Communication is the cornerstone of response management processes. As a repository for a company’s past and current content, RFPIO’s Content Library can automatically generate answers for up to 80% of an RFP’s queries.

But what about the future? Perhaps there’s an exciting new acquisition that would make your company more appealing to the customer, or maybe the company is downsizing and can’t deliver on the requirements.

Perhaps there is something that is a bit less newsworthy but still impacts the response to an RFP. For example, the company might have switched vendors, affecting the costs. Let’s go with an example that isn’t so hypothetical: The worldwide supply chain crisis could potentially affect every aspect of an RFP, yet if a response manager doesn’t know how the company is addressing supply chain issues, it’s nearly impossible to formulate an accurate response.

And it’s tough to imagine that the sales team wouldn’t want to be part of the pricing discussion. Additionally, proposal managers need reports on their teams’ efforts as much as sales managers do.

If you aren’t quite sure how to convince the sales manager to invite you to sales meetings, here is an email template that has worked for several of our customers:

Hi {boss name},

I’m writing to request an invitation to the sales team’s weekly sales huddles and pipeline meetings. 

As the proposal manager, I’m responsible for crafting a compelling proposal that solves our clients’ problems. The sooner I’m clued into the status of open opportunities, the sooner I can start researching our client—and the more compelling proposal I can write.

To put a number on this:

      • Total dollar value of proposals won in [last year]:
      • Total dollar value of proposals lost in [last year]:

By joining sales conversations early on, I’m confident I can increase our proposal win rate—and help push deals deeper into the sales cycle.

Looking forward to seeing you in the first meeting!


Your Name

If you are feeling left out of the conversation, join me on May 19, 2022, as we discuss challenges and methods for bringing the proposal team back into the fold.

Why HALO recognition switched RFP software providers

Why HALO recognition switched RFP software providers

Lauren Daitz, the Senior Manager of the Proposal Department at HALO Recognition, knows that an effective proposal manager is someone who can lead projects, manage content—and does what it takes to get everything done on time.

But it’s also someone who has the right systems and tools in place.

Implementing RFP software is step one of transforming your proposal process. RFP software automates tasks and workflows, so you have the space for big-picture thinking. Still, an automated RFP response process is only as good as your system. You and your team must take your time when selecting an RFP automation solution.

In fact, Lauren tried multiple RFP software providers before landing on the one that worked for her team. If you are going through the vendor selection process yourself, see whether Lauren’s experience with different tools can guide you in the right direction.

Before RFPIO, responding to RFPs was complicated and frustrating

When Lauren Daitz first started working at HALO Recognition, the proposal department was already using RFP software to respond to RFPs. But this particular software did very little to streamline HALO Recognition’s proposal process.

In fact, within her first 90 days of work, Lauren realized the Content Library had gotten so out of control with repeat answers she deleted the entire library and started from scratch.

However, even by starting with a clean slate, her five-person proposal team didn’t have the time and resources to maintain the Content Library—and her beautifully organized Content Library slipped away from her once again.

“Before RFPIO, we were using a legacy RFP software provider to respond to RFPs, but managing projects and content was a nightmare. Switching to RFPIO was a total game changer.”

Lauren needed a tool that had a comprehensive Content Library, outstanding project management tools, and was intuitive enough so everyone on her team could learn to use it without extensive training.

So Lauren decided to switch to RFPIO.

After RFPIO: User-friendly proposal software makes all the difference

When Lauren and her team started using RFPIO, she remembered responding to an RFP and thinking, “This…is not very hard. This is actually kinda easy!” And that’s been the feedback from everyone across her organization.

SMEs also love how easy it is to respond to questions. One of their SMEs has an RFPIO filter in their email and answers a few questions whenever he has a spare 15 minutes (or is stuck in an unnecessary meeting).

Not only does this streamline the RFP process, it also frees up brain space for Lauren — instead of wasting her time hunting down SMEs for answers, she can use her talent to pull together outstanding proposals.

When Lauren started at HALO eight years ago, she had five people on her team (including her). Since then, that number has gradually shrunk to just two.

Despite that, they’ve responded to 25% more RFPs in 2019 than the 6-year average. When her manager asked how she was able to hit those numbers, without all the extra resources, she replied, “Regular attendance at yoga class. And RFPIO. There’s no way we could have done it without RFPIO.” Her manager, an SME-turned-sales-management-team-member, agree that RFPIO has contributed immensely to the team’s efficiency.

“We’re up 25% over our average volume for the last six years and our staffing is down 50% at the same time. And we were still able to deliver every RFP on time or early and with 100% accuracy.”

RFPIO takes customer feedback seriously

One of the things that stood out most to Lauren about RFPIO was how dedicated they were to implementing customer feedback.

Lauren remembered a time that she suggested an idea about how she wanted a way to select all the tags and exclude the ones she didn’t want. Three weeks later, she saw her suggestion in the app — this all happened within her first six months as a customer.

And that’s what makes RFPIO different from the other software providers she’s tried. RFPIO is a people-first company. The community that RFPIO is fostering with and between their customers — that’s just not something you can get with any other software.

“Even though HALO is a relatively small customer compared to RFPIO’s other customers (like LinkedIn or Microsoft), RFPIO thought that my suggestion was important enough to implement in the app. And I’ve gotta say… it was pretty cool.”

Ready to drive change in your proposal process? Schedule a demo to see how RFPIO can help lead your team to greater success.

How to get your team on board with RFP management software

How to get your team on board with RFP management software

RFPs are highly complex projects. As a proposal manager, you work under a deadline to captain the whole ship. Responding to an RFP means you need all hands on deck. Your crew members (aka RFP contributors) all squeeze responses into their hectic schedules to help out.

Here are RFP response contributor insights you’ll find interesting:

  • 68% of salespeople struggle with managing their time to focus on sales-related activities.
  • 43% of marketers mentioned their top hurdle was wearing too many hats and not having time for extra projects, like RFPs.
  • 43% of subject matter experts revealed their top challenge was spending too much time on RFP responses.

You know collaboration is the key to getting the job done. But you also know what you’re up against with your team. RFP management software is the right solution for your organization. Now you just need to get everyone on board. Check out these strategies for getting team buy-in.

Involve key stakeholders to create early buy-in

Your product and IT teams dream of an efficient method for managing security questionnaires. Your legal team yearns for a well-maintained, readily accessible content library. Salespeople want to give proper attention to RFPs but don’t want to lose focus on making sales. Your go-to SMEs would love a way to collaborate more effectively and ditch the spreadsheets.

Your response management team might not yet realize what you already know—the solution is RFP management software.

When searching for the right RFP software, it’s best to know exactly what people need—so ask them. Create a cross-functional project team to identify salient challenges with your RFP response process. That way players join forces to define their requirements and goals.

Be sure to involve heavy-hitters like your security, finance, and legal teams. If you generate early buy-in from the people most closely entwined with leadership, you’ll catalyze whole enterprise buy-in.

When you link stakeholders in early, they are already sold on the solution before it ever rolls out. Everyone will be itching to use the great new software that transforms collaboration and makes RFP responses hyper-efficient.

Market RFP management software to your team

When you ask team members to use something new, they may be reluctant to take time out of their busy day to learn it. RFP management software exponentially improves operational efficiency.

Once you get your team to jump in and try it, they’ll discover a user-friendly experience and see immediate benefits. So what’s the secret to inspiring RFP contributors to take that leap of faith? Market the solution to your team with the following selling points…

1. Prove that RFP management software saves time

RFP management software like RFPIO has a timer function that tracks how long team members spend on specific tasks.

Let’s say you’re under a tight deadline and you need a few quick details for an RFP. You seek out one of your best (and therefore, in-demand) SMEs. They want to help you but think they can’t find the time. This is when you show them the time data. When they see that an RFP response only takes twenty minutes, they’ll likely pop into the project and get it done.

2. Show how easy it is to access and create content

You’ll facilitate better collaboration with RFP management software, thanks to the Content Library. In fact, 82% of proposal managers said RFPIO helps them manage response content all in one place.

A major component of smooth collaboration is the ability to source information independently when it’s needed. RFP response software has a robust, dynamic content library—meaning, no more information hunts or silos. Tell everyone about this exciting news. Let them know that when they get their next action item, they’ll have quick and easy access to quality content.

3. Train closely, inspire change, and demonstrate value

You’ve done the work upfront to get team buy-in…but we all know there’s always one in the bunch—the anti-change person. Work with this person. Do some personalized training and get them inside the tool, trying things out. Then, pinpoint exactly what they dislike and target a solution. Maybe they hate automated email reminders—so, show them how to change their settings.

Share success stories with your team and demonstrate the value of RFP response software to even the most reluctant users. Publish testimonials and statistics in a newsletter and quantify the results in concrete, relatable terms.

You are the captain of your RFP response process. Get everyone on board with RFP management software, and don’t let them jump ship. With these strategies and a little persistence, you’ll be well on your way to smooth sailing with your next RFP. Experience the collaborative power of RFPIO. Schedule a demo, then get your team on board.

How Beacon Hill customizes proposals using RFP software

How Beacon Hill customizes proposals using RFP software

Professional services companies know that not all RFPs are created equally. Each proposal you send out to prospects needs to be tailored to that company’s needs—which means no two RFPs you send out are going to be exactly the same.

That’s why “customizability” was top of mind when Cristina Ethridge, proposal manager at Beacon Hill Staffing Group, set out to find the right RFP response software.

Without RFP software, there wasn’t enough time for RFPs

Before RFPIO, all of Beacon Hill’s RFP-related content was stored in—or rather, scattered across—old RFPs and massive spreadsheets. Responding to RFPs entailed a long search through several different documents to find appropriate answers.

Because RFPs are reactive by nature, salespeople could rarely fit these time-consuming tasks into their day-to-day schedules. Instead, they’d work nights and weekends in order to get RFPs in on time. If salespeople couldn’t find the answer they needed, they would often bombard subject matter experts (SMEs) with urgent, last-minute requests—who then had to drop everything to pull together answers before the deadline.

If that weren’t enough, there wasn’t a solid review process in place for making sure RFP content was accurate and up-to-date. Even if salespeople could find the answers they needed, there was no guarantee that these answers were the most accurate.

The result of these problems was two-fold. First, both salespeople and SMEs were overwhelmed and overworked in their RFP responsibilities. Second, the RFPs they submitted weren’t up to Beacon Hill’s standards.

Cristina knew that her team was capable of submitting high-quality RFP responses. The biggest thing standing in their way was time (or, more accurately, lack thereof). This kicked off her search for an RFP response software.

At Beacon Hill, customization is the name of the game

After a long search, Cristina decided to move forward with RFPIO, mostly because she knew the high level of functionality would accommodate every RFP that came across her desk. “Just because I knew all the wacky set-ups that I could expect, I wanted something that had a lot of customization features so that I could actually use the tool for proposal automation.”

The staffing industry, like most professional services industries, is all about customization. Each client gets a completely unique proposal. That’s why RFPIO works so well for Beacon Hill — because it is extremely customizable and includes many unique features.

Cristina also loves that RFPIO supports both images and graphics on its platform, since her team submits a lot of RFP responses that are both text- and graphic-based. Even with added graphics, the export process is quite straightforward. All she has to do is make a few formatting tweaks to the final copy and it’s ready to send off to the prospect.

Using technology to improve content accuracy

After implementing RFPIO, Cristina populated their Content Library with company content. Not only does this mean that all company content is stored in one place, but they’ve also been able to put all their content through a moderation cycle.

Before any answer can be added to the Content Library, a moderator has to review and approve the answer. And subject matter experts conduct an audit once a year — just to make sure all their content remains true a year later.

Cristina appreciates the peace of mind an updated content library brings, “It’s good to know that when you’re going through and using the recommended answers in RFPIO, you can be sure that the answers you’re using are accurate and up-to-date.”

But, Cristina thinks one of the best things about RFPIO is that it’s constantly updated based on user feedback.

“I remember scrolling through the help center, ‘liking’ another user’s suggestion, and then seeing it implemented in the tool a few weeks later. I’ve never seen another company really listen to customer requests and ideas—and then act on them so quickly.”

Looking for help with customized proposals? Schedule a demo.

How RFP response software helped Celtra create a new market

How RFP response software helped Celtra create a new market

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.

nick fitzsimmons

“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.

Course-correct your RFP response process with RFPIO. Schedule a demo to make way for growth opportunities.

How RFP software helps responders thrive [new research]

How RFP software helps responders thrive [new research]

Modern response management teams enjoy the unique time-savings benefits of dedicated technology like RFP software. However, only a fraction (16%) use RFP software to streamline their processes.

Chances are that your organization is grouped with 84% of responders who still rely on a manual approach, even with all of this great technology. Let’s be honest…nobody loves spreadsheets THAT much. Which is why RFP software is the preferred solution for today’s most successful teams.

Rather than spending the next hour hunting down old RFP responses, check out the 2019 RFPIO Responder Survey takeaways below to learn from 125 response management pros who are thriving with RFP software.

Top goals for proposal management professionals

RFPIO customers continually seek out ways to improve their internal processes, whether they are responding to RFPs or security questionnaires—or collaborating to better manage content or win bigger deals. If you’re on a self-improvement quest, you’ll relate to these different responders who manage proposals on a daily basis.

Proposal managers
57% of proposal managers said their primary goal is to improve the proposal management process to save time.
11% strive to demonstrate more value by helping achieve sales KPIs.
11% are continually searching for new ways to make project management easier.
11% want to improve collaboration between departments.

86% of salespeople are looking for opportunities to shorten the sales cycle to close more deals.
7% want to keep their eyes on predictable revenue to achieve their sales goals.

79% of marketers are focused on using automated technology to execute more with less resource strain.
7% would like more visibility into their content management efforts.

Subject matter experts
65% of subject matter experts aspire to increase efficiency through better processes.
22% own their supporting role, helping their organization win deals by providing expertise.

Top challenges for proposal management professionals

It’s rare when a job description only has two words…proposal management. Salespeople, marketers, and subject matter experts squeeze RFP responses into their jam-packed calendars, while proposal managers juggle multiple projects and people to submit proposals before the deadline. Even still, the challenges shared below are further opportunities for improvement.

Proposal Managers
50% of proposal managers said keeping response content up-to-date and accurate is their biggest challenge.
25% are not able to focus on priorities, because they are wearing too many hats.
7% think getting people to adopt new business technology is difficult.

68% of salespeople struggle with managing their time to focus on sales-related activities.
15% said having sales content easily accessible for prospect questions and RFPs is an obstacle.
10% are challenged with being asked to respond to RFPs—and they don’t consider sales proposals a priority.

43% of marketers mentioned their top hurdle was wearing too many hats and not having time for extra projects, like RFPs.
29% think controlling content quality is difficult, especially with RFPs.
14% felt challenged with managing brand consistency and positioning.

Subject Matter Experts
43% of subject matter experts revealed their top challenge was spending too much time on RFP responses.
35% are not able to keep the company content accurate.
17% are challenged by improving the proposal management process.

How RFPIO empowers response management teams

Now that we’ve covered goals and challenges, the question remains: How? How can response management teams reach their objectives? How can they overcome their obstacles? RFPIO was built by RFP responders so we know all about aspirations and hurdles. Here’s how our customers are seeing positive results with RFPIO.

Proposal Managers
82% of proposal managers said RFPIO helps them manage response content all in one place.
7% felt collaborating was much easier with subject matter experts and contributors, while using RFPIO.
7% are saving time, since RFPIO’s export templates make formatting a non-issue.

63% of salespeople said RFPIO enables them to automate their process, so they can make time to pursue new business with RFPs.
17% felt RFPIO’s Salesforce integration made managing RFPs easier.
12% are receiving fewer emails, because RFP communication happens within the RFPIO platform.

71% of marketers said RFPIO helps them centralize company content for easy access.
21% are experiencing easier collaboration during the RFP review process, thanks to RFPIO.

Subject Matter Experts
48% of subject matter experts said RFPIO helps them review content for accuracy and quality, instead of writing repetitive responses.
39% gained hours back in their day with RFPIO to focus on other priorities.
9% are showing executives more value, since executives have visibility into their RFP contributions with RFPIO dashboards.

RFP content audits, opportunities, and roles

It’s tough to know whether or not your RFP response process is rock-solid or full of holes—and whether or not your response management team is where it needs to be. RFPIO customers offer an inside look into their internal processes, sharing practices for auditing RFP content, sources for opportunities, and players involved in response management.

RFP content audit frequency
31% of responders audit their RFP content library once a quarter.
16% audit their RFP responses once a year.
14% never audit their RFP content.
12% prefer to audit their Content Library once a month.

Main source for RFP opportunities
85% of responders receive RFP opportunities directly from prospects.
5% win RFP opportunities via proactive proposals.
5% see RFP opportunities come from government contracts.

Roles for response management teams
32% of responders serve as Project Managers/Facilitators.
19% are System Administrators.
16% are Executive/Decision Makers.
14% are Content/Knowledge Contributors.
6% are Reviewers/Editors.

Favorite time-saving RFPIO features

RFPIO was ultimately built with efficiency in mind. Every RFPIO feature is focused on saving responders time, so they can do their best work together and win meaningful deals as a result.

Content Library
89% love the Content Library for the ability to store, organize, and access responses in a centralized content hub.

Import / Export
49% feel the import and export functionality speeds up the RFP response time and helps them submit a beautifully branded deliverable.

Content Library
24% like the Content Library for keeping all supporting attachments and collateral streamlined and accessible.

23% leverage dashboards for gaining full visibility into RFP projects, including insights into contributors, workloads, and progress.

RFPIO Lookup
21% lean on RFPIO Lookup to tap into the Content Library content straight from their Chrome browser.

20% enjoy reporting features, analytics which help responders see the health of their Content Library and opportunities for process improvements.

7% save time with their preferred software integrations: cloud storage (Google Drive, One Drive, Dropbox, Box, Sharepoint), communication (Slack, Microsoft Teams) CRMs (Salesforce, Hubspot, Microsoft Dynamics, Pipedrive, PipelineDeals).

Response management, before and after RFPIO

RFPIO is so much more than RFP software—it’s a response management platform for managing all business inquiries in one place. Before implementing RFPIO, responders relied on documents and spreadsheets, workaround content management solutions, or even other RFP software providers. Now, with RFPIO, teams are responding to more opportunities in less time.

Responders use RFPIO for all business queries…
97% RFP (Request for Proposal)
88% RFI (Request for Information)
56% Security Questionnaire
40% Managing Company Knowledge
32% RFQ (Request for Quote)
26% DDQ (Due Diligence Questionnaire)
15% Proactive Proposal
10% SOW (Statement of Work)

Before RFPIO implementation…
49% of response management teams spent several weeks completing RFPs.
26% had a 1 week RFP response completion turnaround.
7% spent more than 5 hours on RFP responses without RFPIO.

After RFPIO implementation…
33% of response management teams now spend 1 week completing RFPs.
14% have a 1 day RFP response completion turnaround.
13% only spend 2-5 hours on RFP responses with RFPIO.

It’s your turn to thrive. RFPIO is ready to help your team.

RFP Software Helps Basware with Language Translation

RFP Software Helps Basware with Language Translation

As the saying goes, it takes a village to respond to an RFP (or something like that). When that village includes people from all over the world, responding to companies in cross-continental locations, translated content can mean having a leg up on your competition. However, the RFP translation process is where things can get tricky…unless you have the right RFP software.

Basware is a company that has figured out this conundrum. Basware’s supply chain technology helps companies automate their invoicing process. The company is based in Finland, has a US headquarters in Fort Mill, South Carolina and serves Fortune 500 enterprises located across the world, like BMW, Heineken, and NBC Universal.

And that’s where RFPIO comes in. To date, 17 languages are supported in RFPIO’s Content Library—more languages will be added over time. Spanish, German, Russian, Japanese, and Finnish are among your content translation options.

Basware chose RFPIO because of these capabilities, and has seen a marked improvement in their RFP response processes worldwide.

RFP content translation without RFP software

According to Brendan Blok, global business advisor and pre-sales manager at Basware, their RFP content was mostly drafted in English by a dedicated content team in Romania, and stored in a variety of spreadsheets.

“Basware is a global company that operates all over the world. We have a big need for French and German content mostly, but also Finnish, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and many other languages. Responding to RFPs and RFIs only in English wasn’t sufficient.”

When translations were needed, it often fell upon pre-sales reps around the world to translate content into their local languages before submitting to potential customers. This cumbersome process took more time and left room for error because it was hard to assure accuracy and quality across the board.

So they looked for RFP software that could help with translation, and found RFPIO.

brendan blok

“RFPIO has helped us handle those language translations and store the information, so we could grow our global knowledge base. We’ve really been able to streamline the process.”

RFPIO offers RFP translation, storage, and support

“The big win for us, and the reason that we ultimately ended up going with RFPIO, was that none of the other applications we looked at during the RFP software selection process had comparable language support capabilities,” Brendan said. “Some could store content in other languages, but we needed the translation support as well.

Keeping content current had been a struggle for Brendan and team as well. RFPIO’s collaboration capabilities has made it possible for product managers and other subject matter experts to jump in and contribute knowledge at a moment’s notice.

RFP software has also made it easier to remove what they aren’t using. “Content was our biggest challenge. Besides having very good content, we had tons of content that was old, irrelevant, incorrect, duplicate. In RFPIO, you can easily purge that stuff and maintain a clean knowledge database.”

But it took just the right person to tackle the content so they decided to bring in an expert editor and hired David Rynne, an experienced business writer, to manage content and to be the administrator of the RFPIO platform. “I am editing the entire database, so all translations will be correct. I’ve also been troubleshooting and teaching people within the organization how to use the tool.”

david rynne

“We’ve had one and two-day turnarounds on RFPs thanks to RFPIO.”

RFP software increases submissions by 73%

“One of our pre-sales reps from Paris told us just recently that he received an RFP on a Monday night that needed to be submitted by that Wednesday morning. We helped him get up and running in RFPIO and he made the deadline. He thought that was really cool,” David said.

Basware responds mostly to RFPs, but they also respond to a number of RFIs, and security questionnaires. In the first few months of 2018, Brendan estimates they’d submitted about 22 RFPs. During that same time period in 2019, they’d completed 38—a 73 percent increase in efficiency.

As the platform administrator, David has had a positive experience with the RFPIO team. “Whenever I’ve had a question, you guys have been really responsive and accommodating to our requests. You’ve really gone above and beyond.”

Brendan echoed that same sentiment, “We get the best support I think I’ve ever seen when it comes to software, from RFPIO.”

Translate RFP content efficiently with RFPIO. Schedule a demo to get complete support during your RFP response journey.

4 ways RFP software positively impacts your response process

4 ways RFP software positively impacts your response process

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” Paul J. Meyer shows us the power of having a dedicated system.

For subject matter experts (SMEs) involved in the RFP response process, the need for a dedicated system continues to be a moving target. In a recent RFPIO survey, 68% of subject matter experts revealed that increasing efficiency through better processes was their primary goal.

RFP software positively impacts the response process for teams every day. By staying committed to a plan, responders are experiencing more focus in achieving revenue objectives together.

The positive impact of RFP software on process

A recent APMP U.S. Benchmarks Report revealed promising insights. The majority (90%) of these organizations have a dedicated proposal management team, 70% have established best practices, and two-thirds have a documented proposal process.

Having an RFP response process is definitely a step in the right direction. But, is that process working well?

23% of APMP members said their process was working “very well” and 59% said “somewhat well.” RFPIO clients continually find opportunities to improve their RFP response process—and they combine their systematic approach with RFP software to achieve success.

1. RFP software allows you to respond to even more RFPs

In 2020 the Accruent team only managed 5-6 RFPs at a time. Two years later that number increased to 15-25 live projects at once, because RFPIO is a highly collaborative work environment that makes it possible for multiple RFP projects to happen simultaneously.

SMEs are called in to review content for accuracy, rather than spending time shelling out repetitive answers. This ability to multi-task means your team has ample time to pull together quality responses, increasing your win potential while moving forward with other revenue opportunities, like RFPs.

2. RFP software speeds up your completion turnaround time

When an RFP came through as a spreadsheet with 4,000 questions, the Illuminate Education team did not have a proper system in place. They had RFPIO up and running in ten minutes and they began submitting RFPs with tight turnarounds well before the deadline.

SMEs no longer need to stay up late to scramble with content contributions, since the RFP project starts and ends smoothly. Your team imports the file (spreadsheet, document, or PDF) then begin divvying up RFP responses. Export functionality makes the finished deliverable cohesive, without the need to fiddle endlessly with formatting.

3. RFP software helps you overcome large RFPs with small teams

The Tantalus team received an RFP from a company that was new to this step in the vendor selection process. The RFP issuer sent an enormous, complex spreadsheet and their team of two was suddenly tasked with 20,000 responses. They made it happen with RFPIO.

Although organizations have dedicated proposal management teams, SMEs still respond to RFPs and security questionnaires as an additional function of their primary job. Easy collaboration is key. Since our RFP software integrates with Slack and Microsoft teams, you receive clarifications and details from other team members with less email to keep up with.

4. RFP software saves you time through savvy content management

“Exact same question, exact same answer” became an anthem for the Finastra proposal management team. Repetition did not make their response management process any easier, as they had a disorganized content management system. Once they started using the RFPIO Content Library, it was a game-changer.

Your Content Library is a database. When cared for, from deduplicating to refreshing, you grab the most up-to-date RFP content and tailor as necessary. In this case, repetitive content is a good thing as RFP software recognizes the questions and matches the best responses, doing most of the work before you step in with your expertise.

Follow in the footsteps of your peers, who are seeing the positive impact of RFP software. Schedule a demo of RFPIO.

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.