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Sales Effectiveness

How to Work With Subject Matter Experts for a Smoother RFP Process

March 30, 2022

While trying to win more business and differentiate in the sales cycle, most companies experience multiple challenges in regards to content. One major challenge is that organizations cannot easily collaborate with subject matter experts (SME) who are crucial to building credibility and differentiation during sales cycles. Subject matter experts are also in charge of knowledge within various areas of an organization. As B2B buyers expect more customized, detailed information throughout the sales cycle, subject matter experts have become increasingly more important. 

Here are some of our tips on how to work with subject matter experts for a smoother RFP process: 

Build Positive Relationships with Subject Matter Experts

During APMP’s Bid & Proposal Con in 2021, Cynthia Weinmann led a presentation titled “From Frustration to Collaboration: Transform SME Relationships.” Weinmann is the president of Strategy Horizon Consulting. In one of the slides during the presentation, Weinmman wrote: 

“SMEs are integral to responsive, compelling proposals. They bring realism and depth to the solution, practical approaches for implementation, and credentials that lend authority to the proposal. They also keep proposal professionals up at night.”

In the Winning the Business article, Weinmann continued by stating how important it is to build positive relationships with SMEs by defining their roles and responsibilities, respecting SMEs’ primary job duties, and making expectations clear up front. 

Keep Subject Matter Experts Up To Date

Inform SMEs what information and content is being used the most in order to adequately support sales cycles. By keeping SMEs in the loop on frequently used content, SMEs are accountable for updating content promptly.

Gather Insights on Top Content

Gain an understanding of your organization’s top content - what wins RFPs and who are the right subject matter experts for the task? One of the biggest challenges within a bid team is that subject matter experts are often fatigued at answering the same questions repeatedly and scaling tribal knowledge. Document, capture, and replicate this content in order to avoid SME burnout and frustration. Reuse SME-generated content and make it accessible to everyone in order to ensure consistency. 

Provide Subject Matter Experts with a Place to House their Technical Expertise

It is important to give subject matter experts an area to house their technical expertise. By allocating a place for specific content, teams can search for responses to their questions without having to reach out directly to multiple SMEs. Implement best practices of curating content on a cadence while sharing with SMEs how much content they should reuse. 

Ombud’s cloud-based software makes it easy to collaborate with subject matter experts. We offer content-authoring and creation at a granular level which makes it easy for SME’s to use and update content within our system. For more information, visit our website or request a demo here.

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