The past two years have created numerous pandemic-related challenges for businesses around the world, from supply chain disruptions and labor shortages to the impact of the widespread shift to a hybrid working model. Indeed, for companies accustomed to having their workforce together under one roof, with colleagues just down the hall, the work-from-home transition has created several hurdles.
Practically overnight, organizations were forced to deal with the impact of a lack of face-to-face supervision, technology incompatibility challenges, lack of access to information, and social isolation and communication issues, including an inability to foster team building due to a lack of interaction between co-workers.
Sales and bid teams experienced their own set of challenges as a result of the shift to a hybrid model with some staff working remotely and others in the office. One of the most notable changes we’ve seen as a result of the work-from-home model is the negative impact on the ability to collaborate. Given that an average of 28 people are involved in the response process, streamlined and effective collaboration is critical for creating timely, accurate, and high-quality RFP responses.
With in-person sales calls, business lunches, and networking events still largely off the table, the RFP response has become the star of the show; sales and bid teams need to be on top of their game to consistently win business—and effective collaboration is key. But without the right technology, tools, and processes, decentralized teams can struggle to collaborate on RFP responses, lacking the ability to quickly and easily access the information they need or communicate efficiently with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).
Wondering how to collaborate effectively to write an RFP response that closes the deal when your bid and sales teams are working remotely? In a Business2Community article, our CEO, Ray Meiring shares expert RFP response tips to improve the sales response process—and increase successful RFP response outcomes—for remote teams.
To learn best practices for RFP responses, read the full article here or catch the highlights of Ray’s top RFP response tips below:
Tip #1: Organize your content for brilliant responses
Team members who scrape together content without a vision in mind are less likely to create high-quality content that sells. When information is not organized, when it is outdated, and when content is poorly branded, the result can incite a poor response. Having difficult-to-read and poorly organized information tells potential clients that you lack keen attention to detail, which could jeopardize your ability to close the sale.
Given that time kills great RFP responses, it’s crucial that team members can locate, select, and utilize content quickly. Having prepared RFP responses and templates plays an important role in their ability to do so.
Tip #2: Use pre-approved content to enhance quality of the response
Without a doubt, the quality of content you include in your proposal has a dramatic impact on the perception of the product or service you offer—and your ability to close the sale. For this reason, you want your content to be high-quality, on-brand, and tailored to the needs of your prospect.
Rather than spending hours piecing together information, you can put together effective, personalized proposals in minutes by using pre-approved content that is specific to the prospect.
Although it may seem tempting, you don’t want to keep every piece of content you’ve ever created, however. Instead, keep templates that are based on successful bids. (For tips on how to write an RFP response that’ll stand out from the crowd using QorusDocs smart templates, check out this handy guide.)
Be sure to regularly update your content to ensure it matches product specs, as well as the capabilities of your company. Likewise, select SMEs to ensure authenticity and quality.
Tip #3: Store content in a single location to save time and resources
Keeping proven, accurate content in a centralized location is a vital step toward overcoming organizational challenges, as well as saving time and resources. In fact, nearly 70% of our customers state that responding to RFPs in a timely manner is critical to success. Proposal teams that are required to start from scratch every time they receive an RPF can lead to a serious waste of time and effort.
To stay ahead of this issue, keep various templates with approved content within a single location to help give your team a head start on every project. With your responses and templates grouped together in a centralized location, your team can quickly find answers to their questions, locate content relevant to the prospect, and ensure increased accuracy in their responses.
Tip #4: Facilitate collaboration among business units
Collaborative efforts between Marketing, Sales, and your Proposal team are critical for creating content that drives conversations (and conversions) for your company. In fact, HubSpot data shows that companies see significant boosts in their win rates and their ability to retain customers when Sales and Marketing teams work together.
Although your Marketing team may have all the tools and creativity necessary to produce jaw-dropping response documents, collaborating with the Sales team ensures that the content is relevant and tailored to the prospect’s needs. Conversely, the Sales team must also let the Marketing team know whether certain content was successful (or not) in the past so they can make the proper adjustments.
The Proposal team needs to be aware of the trials and errors, too, so that they can account for the time necessary to modify assets or create new content when they are assigning responsibilities and determining deadlines.
Tip #5: Introduce the right tools to support your team’s efforts
Of all the RFP response tips, arguably the most important tip is to implement the right tools and technology to support your remote team members and their RFP response process. AI-enabled proposal management software is the foundation upon which an effective sales response process is built.
By using automated sales response tools that help you quickly find up-to-date and relevant content—in combination with powerful recommendation engines that help you locate attachments in seconds without having to sift through endless files—your team can create accelerate and streamline its response process. Plus, leveraging tools that have native integration with Microsoft Office tools enables your team to collaborate effortlessly from a distance.
The right technology will allow your team members to work from anywhere and create high-quality, personalized, and, ultimately, successful RFP responses that help them reach their revenue goals. If you’re seeking solutions for automating your RFP response process to help move deals through your pipeline quickly, request a free demo or download our complimentary RFP Response Kit.
Originally posted December 2020. Updated February 2022.