Every revenue team is different. On some revenue teams, the writers and proposal manager own the bid process. They respond to multiple Requests for Proposals (RFPs) every week. They know their material inside and out. The writers might even be the subject matter experts (SMEs). Putting together a bid is simple for these teams; they can do it in their sleep.
Most teams, however, don’t work like that.
Some teams don’t have writers — the sales team handles RFP responses along with their other duties. Some revenue teams only respond to one or two RFPs a year, and have to create a bid from scratch (and in a hurry) every time. Some teams may be faced with new personnel who have no idea where their predecessor stored old responses from SMEs, or even if those responses are stored.
That can be stressful when you need to put together a bid quickly, and that’s where an RFP Response Library can be a critical tool when it comes to assembling an RFP response.
What is an RFP Response Library?
An RFP Response Library is a central repository of all the content that’s ever been used in an RFP Response for your organization.
Whenever your team has needed to gather information for an RFP, they’ve had to reach out to various experts throughout your organization: SMEs, sales, compliance, legal, IT, security, and anyone else who can add valuable information to your bid.
It’s likely that your SMEs have to provide similar answers every single time. Rather than asking for the same answers over and over, or digging for those answers in an inbox, an RFP Response Library stores the answers in a searchable database, so that the writers can pull the content they need while they’re drafting.
What if our team already stores responses?
If your team is already storing SME responses, that’s great — you’ve taken the first step towards making the bid process easier. However, sometimes the systems involved in storing or searching for the right RFP responses can cause more problems than they solve.
Your writers may be poring through emails, combing through spreadsheets, and looking through old bids to find the information they need. More than one writer may have started their own personal database of content that they use to write RFPs. Even worse, the content some writers might be using, may be out of date, especially if your product or services have been evolving quickly. These situations can cause the bid process to become more confusing than it needs to be.
Take the case of Veeam Software, a data protection software company. Before the team had an RFP Response Library, said Charles Clarke, Senior Director of Solutions Architects for North America, “chaos ruled the land.” Clarke, a guest on an Ombud webinar, said his team was using a patchwork of different solutions during the bid-writing process, including Word documents and spreadsheets.
“It was just a big mess,” he said. “ We had real challenges around consistency in responses, and the up-to-dateness of technical responses that were potentially binding in an agreement we were making with a customer.”
It also took a lot of time; that was a problem because at Veeam, there aren’t dedicated RFP response writers — the sellers own the bid process.
“The big drag for us was just the amount of time that a seller or a pre-sales person, solutions architect, consultant, systems engineer was having to spend on crafting responses and writing proposals,” Clarke said.
Sellers and the bid process
Sales is a notoriously stressful field. A recent study found that about 67% of sellers say they are close to burnout. The same percentage of sellers say they often work longer than their contracted hours. All this is to say that when proposals are also part of their job description, sales teams are already stressed and handling daily sales duties. Writing a bid from scratch can add to the seller’s burden and give them less time to sell.
Even dedicated bid teams need a break; according to research from the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP), the majority of proposal professionals work more than 40 hours per week and 14% report regularly working more than 50 hours per week.
An RFP Response Library cuts down on the time it takes for proposal writers to assemble their bids by creating a single, updated source of RFP content. The best content is right where they can find it whenever they need it.
Ombud’s cloud-based software allows your team to vote on reference documents in the response library, so that the best, up to date reference documents are always top of mind. For more information, visit our website or request a demo here.