How to Improve the RFP Process While Working Remotely

The year 2020 obviously brought forth numerous marketing challenges for businesses across the world. Many of us are working in ways we never have before and having to resort to unfamiliar practices.

One of the most notable changes we see across the country is the impact that the “new normal” has had on teams and their abilities to collaborate. This is largely because the COVID-19 pandemic gripping the globe has forced companies and their employees to adjust to a new style of work. Research from Slack finds that only 12% of people want to return to full-time office work; 72% favor a hybrid remote-office scenario. With many large companies shifting to remote work, it is important that they develop methods to ensure that production goals are met.

Here, we will discuss how your company can use specialized, integrated programs to streamline the creation process and produce top-quality content that drives positive RFP responses and bids for prospects. After reading, you should have a better understanding of why RFPs are critical to your company’s success, challenges you may face working remotely, and different ways to help your RFP response leaders and team improve the quality of RFP submissions.

Successful RFPs Are Mission-Critical

As we see more workers removed from the office and performing duties remotely, it is crucial that we implement measures that allow teams to consistently make successful bids. Regrettably, we are seeing many members attempt to seize every opportunity ahead of them without taking into consideration the associated time and effort. Some of the most successful companies utilize a specific formula to produce premium bids consistently.

RFPs are critical when it comes to making a strong first impression. Now more than ever before, requests for proposals act as a sales call for meeting clients and showing them what you have to offer. While you are restricted from meeting with them in person, it is crucial that your team can eloquently present your services and products to them.

There is no denying that writing successful RFP responses is one of the lifelines of a company. This is true for a large variety of industries. In a sense, an RFP shows a prospect how captivating your company is — not to mention how well-organized, beautiful, and thoughtful its content can be. It is essential that your team has tools to help them reach their goals when it comes to writing sales proposals that win business. Although the prospect of putting together a bid or response can generate overwhelming anxiety, having the correct tools and strategies can help your team succeed during these unusual times.

Overcoming the Challenges

One of the biggest hurdles remote teams face is collaborating among business units when people are in different ideological and geographical locations. These differences make creating winning content that stands out more difficult.

While working remotely, your team must be equipped with the tools necessary to succeed. Responding to sales opportunities and winning more business helps maintain and build your brand. Using powerful recommendation engines to locate attachments in seconds without having to sift through endless files, plus find up-to-date and relevant content, allows your team to create effective content faster — up to five times faster, in fact.

It’s all about empowering your sales force to close more deals faster and boost your company’s productivity and base. Given that time kills great RFP responses, it is 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.

Team members who scrape together content without a vision in mind are less likely to create high-quality content that sells. For many companies, receiving mediocre responses can be challenging. 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.

Without a doubt, nobody wants to spend hours crafting inadequate RFP responses, and regularly wasting hours in this way highlights a broken business capture process. Not only does this waste resources, but it also can diminish the confidence of your team and take a toll on their motivation to produce high-quality content.

Creating Content That Drives Conversations

Remote work has presented companies with a variety of challenges. One key issue we are seeing is the ability of various teams to communicate. Collaborative efforts between marketing, sales, and your proposal team are critical for creating content that drives conversations (and conversions) for your company. When it comes to landing a sale, it is imperative that you can put together an effective RFP that truly encapsulates everything you have to offer the client.

Without a doubt, the quality of content you include in your proposal has a dramatic impact on the quality of the product or service you offer. For this reason, you want it to be good and tailored to the needs of your prospect. Data produced by HubSpot shows that companies see significant boosts in their sales win rates and their ability to retain customers when sales and marketing teams can work together. Remote work presents challenges to this process; however, they are not impossible to overcome. Utilizing the right tools within sales enablement software can help your team, as can heeding these two RFP-creation truths:

1. Working together is critical.

Mandating the collaboration between marketing and sales teams will greatly improve your ability to impress your prospects right when you need it. Although your marketing team may have all the tools and creativity necessary to implement jaw-dropping content, it is imperative that they receive input from the sales team that ensures it is relevant to the customer’s needs. Conversely, the sales team must also share with the marketing team certain content that was not successful 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. Utilizing tools that have native integration with Microsoft Office Tools allows your team to collaborate effortlessly from a distance.

2. Storing smarter avoids wasting time and resources.

Nearly 70% of our customers state that responding to RFPs in a timely manner is critical to success. An effective strategy for implementing time-saving efforts includes having your team store all content in a single location. Proposal teams that are required to start from scratch every time an RPF comes in can result in serious wasted time and effort. Instead, keeping various templates with approved content within a single location can help give your team a head start on every project. Although it may seem tempting, you do not want to keep every piece of content you ever created in the interface, however. Instead, keep templates that are based on successful bids. You will want to regularly update your content to ensure it matches product specs as well as the capabilities of your company. Likewise, select subject matter experts to ensure authenticity and quality. Keeping quality and effective content in a centralized location is a vital step toward overcoming organizational challenges.

On the Same Page

Rather than spending hours piecing together information and content, you can put together effective, customized proposals in minutes by using pre-approved content that is specific to the prospect. The right solutions will allow you to work from anywhere while using Salesforce, Microsoft’s Office, Teams, and Dynamics, and any other of your favorite apps to create quality RFPs with your remote team.

Imagine if team members could upload documents that are requested directly from their CRM system and share between members quickly and easily to ensure everyone is on the same page. By keeping all of your responses and templates grouped together in a centralized location, your team can quickly find answers for their questions, locate content relevant to the prospect, and provide increased accuracy in their responses. Having this ability is imperative for promoting collaboration among various parties in the remote workforce.

When it comes to operating your company remotely, it is important that you overcome the challenges and restrictions you face from not being able to meet with customers and work in-person with your teams. Using software that reduces the time your team spent on RFP responses can help automate the process and provide top-quality content for potential clients.

If you’re seeking solutions for automating your RFPs and proposals to more quickly move deals through your pipeline, request a free demo to see how Qorus can help.