The Fundamental Problem With Responding To RFPs 

3/8/18 2:20 PM Anna Duin RFP Responding

The Problem With RFPsIt's strange, what you learn working at an RFP Software company. This is my last post as the Marketing Manager for RFP365, and while I'm excited for my next challenge, writing this is bittersweet for me. I can't help but get contemplative and think if there was one last thing I could leave you with, what would it be? 

Three years ago, when I first joined RFP365, I had no idea what an RFP was. Since then, I've learned so much. I've studied best practices for writing better RFP responses, interviewed experts, attended industry conferences, etc.

But the most important thing I've learned, is about the problems with responding to RFPs. There is in fact, one great, fundamental, problem. A problem that wasn't at all what I expected. And it's my "last thing" that I want to share. 

What I thought the problem was 

Early into my RFP tenure I thought the problem with responding to RFPs was something along the lines of: 

And while all those things are valid, necessary, and a key part of the process, they're not the biggest challenge in responding to RFPs.

What the real problem is 

So what is the biggest problem with responding to RFPs? It's that you're "reinventing the wheel."

That is, verbatim, the singular most common complaint we hear when people come to us. When we ask them why they're reaching out to us, looking for RFP software, they always say something to effect of: 

  • "We're reinventing the wheel with each RFP we receive." 
  • "We spend too much time rewriting content we've already written before."
  • "We know we have great content but we can't find it. 
  • "We can't tell who's written what, or if it's up-to-date."
  • "We want to create more consistency in our RFP responses."

The fundamental problem is, that the actual RFP response process -- the divvying up of questions, tracking tasks and progress, finding and reusing your best content, keeping that content updated, isn't efficient. 

You can have the best team, the best product/service, the best writers in the world, but if you're reinventing the wheel each time you respond to an RFP, or spending all your time on logistics, that's a serious problem. A liability. I'm not just saying that because I'm a Marketer, or because I work for RFP365. But because it's true. 

That we why we created our RFP software, our co-founders experienced that inefficiency firsthand and wanted to do something about it. 

(For more on how RFP software makes responding easier, check out our eBook.) 

What is Proposal Management Software Ebook

I know it's true because you've told me. I've interviewed so many frustrated Sales & Marketing professionals, heard them say how much time they're "wasting on RFPs." I know it's true because I get to hear the stories of what happens when the RFP process isn't so tedious anymore. 

When I interview clients to write case studies, I get to hear firsthand how their RFPs have gotten easier: 

We’re no longer getting two answers to the same question and wondering which version to use. It has cut down on organizing and putting RFPs together like you would not believe. To be really honest, when we first started looking at RFP365, I didn’t want to use an RFP software... But then we piloted RFP365 and saw the benefits. We saw how many emails it would get rid of, and easy it would be to find things once all the knowledge was in one place. Now, 2+ years later, I'm amazed by how much easier this is.
[See Cengage's story]

When I was hired at CareHere, we were working at a much greater proposal volume than what I was used to. But not only did RFP365 help me rise to the challenge, it also made me look good.
[See CareHere's story.]

Especially given our recent influx of new RFPs, what we’ve accomplished this year, would not have been achievable without RFP365. It’s easily shaved off one-third of our response time. It’s literally like having another person in my department. It’s revolutionized the way we’ve done RFPs, and empowered us to win more business. [See Mitratech's story.]

That is the true purpose of technology. To turn optimize process, to projects like travel or laundry, that used to take days into hours. 

Dear readers, if I could leave you with one final thing, it would be to not settle for how things have "always been done." Or to spend any precious evenings and weekends on RFPs, when you just don't need to. 

If I've learned one thing working here, it's that there's good news and bad news. The the bad news is, RFPs aren't going anywhere; but the good news is, they can be much easier