Every organization has a team of unsung heroes that work behind the scenes, yet play a huge role in a company’s success. For many organizations, it is the RFP team.
Knowing that the members of an RFP team and their contributions are sometimes overlooked, we spoke to our RFP experts at RocketDocs to enlighten us on the immense value that they hold at an organization.
Our experts came from various industry backgrounds but, each can speak from over 11 years of experience in the RFP space. Collectively, they’ve learned that doing RFP work is the best way to learn about a company and an industry. They’ve worked in roles ranging from entry-level RFP writers to team leaders and managers, which has allowed them to pull from experience at all levels.
We gathered their expertise to discover how to empower your RFP team to deliver the most value to your organization, and how you can ease their pain points to decrease turnover and improve performance.
Utilizing Your RFP Team
Through the insights shared by our RFP experts at RocketDocs, we can say with confidence that an RFP team possesses the skillset, knowledge, and network needed to take your business to the next level.
Here are three main reasons why your RFP team should rank at the top of the company’s resource list to close deals.
RFP Teams Hold a Wealth of Knowledge
As members of an RFP team are often called to work alongside people in various departments, they can develop a vast knowledge of the company, its products, and its employees. This allows them to not only understand the intricacies of your product base but also how you stack up against your competitors, enabling them to use this unique knowledge to position your organization for success.
As Rachel Ragan, a Customer Service Manager at RocketDocs, with 11 years of RFP experience, says, “…the RFP team has a holistic view when it comes to a company’s product.” Team members collect a multitude of stand-out features that those in different departments believe showcase the company’s value, as well as the value of the product itself, and store it in their knowledge bank for later use.
An RFP manager’s understanding of the company and product value is beneficial in the process of closing a deal. With the depth of knowledge that they possess, they can provide insight on multiple levels and address the concerns of a potential customer or partner in your proposal response before it is even voiced. Additionally, an up-to-date RFP database which acts as your company’s single source of truth can be used across your organization to ensure consistency of messaging and to drive home those critical points that are essential to closing the deal.
Strong Leadership Skills
An RFP manager’s daily task is to support their team members through the RFP process, as well as follow up with SMEs (if necessary), to complete a high-quality questionnaire that is delivered on time. The techniques and tools that RFP managers use to complete these tasks have uniquely potion them to lead your organization to reach common goals and achieve success.
Leadership skills are needed in all departments of an organization, and an RFP team has the opportunity to practice these skills daily. Due to who they know in the organization and the ability to see firsthand how different people in different departments perform, the RFP team can pull from these experiences and determine the way to best navigate tricky situations.
Given this skill set, the RFP team should be actively involved in marketing, sales enablement, building playbooks, and more.
Serves as Gatherers & Connectors
It is self-evident that the reach of an RFP team is unmatched. There is merely no other team that touches the entire organization through its daily interactions. As the RFP team crafts the company’s responses to questionnaires and proposals, they must include a variety of information that is only found in the expertise of other departments.
With these connections, the RFP team can help build an organization’s internal network through gathering and connecting people from different departments to achieve your company’s goals. Now that you are aware of the value that the RFP team has in your organization, it is even more important to identify and address their pain points, so that they can achieve peak performance and continue adding value to the organization.
Understanding Your RFP Team Pain Points
Our RFP experts at RocketDocs also shared some of the pain points that RFP teams face and offered solutions for those challenges.
Deadlines are tight and typically non-negotiable – even asking for an extension can make your company stand out in a bad way or disqualify you from a search. Therefore, when your team is crafting their responses every second counts.
According to our RFP expert, Natasha Mezhebovsky, the Senior Director of Product Management at RocketDocs, with 17 years of working with RFPs experience, “being able to spend less time finding content and more time customizing answers can make a huge difference in the quality of an overall response.” Having software that allows you to create content libraries, with the ability to assign custom attributes, will afford the RFP team the time they need to tailor responses to make your organization stand out.
Compliance of Team Members & SMEs
Another notable pain point that stems from having a tight deadline, is having to track down SMEs. With so many moving parts (team members, SMEs, editorial staff) and the communication that takes place during an RFP process, establishing ways for everyone to promptly act on what is required of them can be a hassle.
With features and abilities such as the ones listed below, RFP managers can have the confidence that they’ve done all they can to alert someone of their responsibilities:
- Setting Expiration Dates
- Enabling Email Notifications
- Customizable Workflows
- Easy to Navigate Interface
As Tonya Myers, a Customer Success Manager at RocketDocs, with 13 years of RFP experience shared why management tools are some of her favorite features in proposal software (such as RocketDocs 2.0) that increase compliance among team members and SMEs. “This could mean SMEs updating their content directly in the platform, having other business units leveraging the platform for their own content libraries, and even salespeople being able to self-serve to communicate with prospective customers and build proposals on the fly.”
Completing recurring questionnaires such as DDQs and Security Questionnaires are essential to retain and grow existing business. People look at these documents for a variety of reasons including in the time of crisis. So, it is crucial that they are high quality, or you could lose business. As an RFP team is trusted to handle these vital documents, they too are a vital part of any company.
According to our experts, RFP teams keep the lights on by completing DDQs, and it is sometimes why their office desk lights never go out. This responsibility can be daunting, so having software that allows the team to automate recurring questionnaires with features like refresh can lighten their load and increase the team’s productivity. A refresh functionality can be a huge time saver, allowing you to update answers to recurring questions with the click of a button. What would previously take hours to update, can occur in just a few minutes, minimizing duplicative work, reducing response times, and giving the team more time to tailor/customize responses.
As Helen Torbe, a Senior Customer Success Manager at RocketDocs, with over 20 years of RFP experience shared that segmenting content is also a huge factor in streamlining the process. “I love the ability (in RocketDocs 2.0) to really segment your content using multiple customizable attributes (metadata), which opens up so much functionality around your content. From setting permissions for certain users to access specific content, to easily sort and filter through your content to quickly find what you are looking for.” When it comes to tackling an ongoing task like recurring questionnaires, every feature counts, as it can make a big difference in the RFP team’s performance!
Start Empowering Your RFP Team
Now that you know how to empower your RFP team, and understand their pain points, the first step to increasing their efficiency is to equip them with the appropriate software. At RocketDocs, we built our software with the goal of streamlining the RFP process. With the features our RFP solutions offer, you can save time on tasks such as answering recurring questionnaires and focus on securing your next big win. Schedule a free demo today and take your organization to the next level!