Nagging, SME Harassment, and Other Confessions of a Salesperson

4/25/17 3:34 PM Holly Gutwein RFP Responding

Nagging, SME harassment, and other confessions of a Salesperson.pngThey say the first step is admitting you have a problem. So here goes. Hi, my name is Holly and I’m a salesperson.

And I’ll admit that like most salespeople, I’m persistent. I crave instant gratification. And on a bad day, I can be pretty annoying. Especially when I need help answering a prospect’s question.

If you’re a Marketing Manager, Proposal Writer, or any other Subject Matter Expert (SME) responding to an RFP you’ll understand. You’ve almost certainly had to deal with a “nagging” salesperson.

Worst of all, you have to answer the same questions over, and over, and over… Sound familiar?

If that’s you, here’s how you can finally get some peace. Get your Sales team the information they need, AND make it so you only have to answer questions once.


How to build a proposal management system that works 

So we all agree that at times Salespeople can be frustrating. But to be fair, what choice do we have?

Imagine this: a prospect asks a question I’m unfamiliar with. It might be in an email, an RFP, or in a presentation. I want to respond as soon as I can, so my mad dash begins and I start my quest to track down anyone that can help. You’d think I was running the Olympic 100-meter dash. 

Channeling my inner Usain Bolt, I dart from desk to desk harassing my colleagues hoping they have the knowledge I’m seeking. And then I cram their inbox with more frantic questions.

And while my team is willing to help, they can’t help but sigh thinking, “Haven’t I answered this before?”.

As I sit back at my desk, finally catching my breath from my frantic sprint, I think about how there must be a better way. I have a hodgepodge of notes that I add to each time, but I can’t always  find the answer.

I know I waste a lot of time rewriting the same answers and asking my boss for approval multiple times.

Not mention I’m tired of always bugging my SMES and colleagues. I wish there was a single place to find what I needed and an easy way to submit my responses for approval.

That was my process at my previous job. I worked for an education software company. And answering questions and RFPs was always a mad dash.

But since joining RFP365, it’s been much simpler. Obviously, I’m biased. But as a new Sales Consultant, our platform has not only saved me time, but it’s also made me more self-reliant. Especially when I was first onboarding and didn’t have anything memorized.

Every time I was stuck about how long we’d been in business or our security accreditation, I’d pull up our internal Knowledge Base (KB) and do a quick search. Each record had an audit trail so it was easy for me to see the responses our Subject Matter Expert’s approved.

I love not having to spend any more late nights at the office or evenings hunched over my laptop on the couch. Now I can search our KB or import the RFP directly. Then RFP365 ranks my content by the most recently updated and highest relevance. Giving me the best response, first.

I can’t imagine going back to working without an RFP software. Because it’s more than a simple content management system.

It means when when my Sales Director is trying to determine our bandwidth, it's easy for him to see how long each RFP response takes to complete.

We can also see which responses are being used the most in our winning RFPs. Even better, my team can collaborate on a single response and see the edits each of the team members make.

It keeps my inbox spam-free because I can message everyone working on the RFP inside the system. It’s also nice to not have to babysit my colleagues making sure they finish their responses. RFP365 provides dashboards showing everyone’s progress so we all stay focused.

Lastly, using the system makes it easy for my Marketing Manager to edit and approve content written by us less-than-word-savvy-sales-reps.

Bottom line: we are happier and more efficient. More on how we use RFP365 internally here.

What is Proposal Management Software Ebook


Key takeaways for dealing with “annoying” sales people

First, have some compassion on us. Understand that we have a hard job. No one likes us - they won’t connect with us on LinkedIn and avoid us like the plague at trade shows. We have big goals and the success of your company depends on us. We don’t want to harass you, but we do need information. Here’s how you can help:

  • Make information easy to access. The faster we can find up-to-date accurate information, the less likely we are to bother you.

  • Ideally store this Knowledge in a system that allows your sales people to access it whenever they need it. Better yet, make sure they can search and filter content. Additionally, use a system with workflow capabilities, so management can easily review and approve responses."

  • Train your salespeople to use your knowledge base and/or RFP software as soon as you hire them. It will make their onboarding so much easier.

We still need answers for prospects’ questions. So if you want us to leave you alone, please help us help ourselves.

I confess we nag you. And I confess we’ll keep bugging you until we can find what need.

Read more proposal writing tips here.