“You Can’t Be Short-Sighted:” Q&A on Improving RFP Content Management with Anastasia Maslov

Caleb Liao
Caleb Liao

If you’ve ever logged into Loopio’s platform, you’ve likely seen a feature that we affectionately call, ‘Close Loop.’

It is a namesake feature, with the goal of helping teams easily capture changes to RFP answers by—you guessed it—‘closing the loop’. Over the past few months, our product team has worked hard to evolve this cornerstone feature. Today we talk to the person who spearheaded this initiative. Meet Anastasia Maslov.

“We created two distinct experiences to help teams manage content more effectively.”
Anastasia Maslov, Associate Product Manager

As Associate Product Manager here at Loopio, Anastasia redesigned this feature with input from more than 30 customers across multiple industries. While it’s no longer called ‘Close Loop,’ the goal of the feature is the same: save your best RFP responses. The new feature includes an updated workflow that ensures new (or edited) content for RFPs and questionnaires can be easily stored in Loopio’s Library for future use.

To understand the research behind this feature, I picked Anastasia’s brain on the challenges that leading organizations face in maintaining their RFP content repositories.

Read on for her research, insights, and approach to building a world-class content management system.

First things first, Anastasia, what do you do here at Loopio?

I’m a Product Manager on the Library team, specifically, I handle the content management experience for our customers. Day-to-day, I work on expanding our suite of tools, and optimizing workflows for Loopio’s Library feature.

I aim to make the experience as organic (and easy) as possible for customers. For example, the more you use our software to respond to RFPs, the bigger your answer Library becomes—which makes future RFPs easier to tackle, since you have a robust collection of past answers at your fingertips.

You’ve mentioned an organic experience just now. How does this inform your approach to RFP content management?

This goal of creating an organic experience has really helped us reimagine our “Close Loop” workflow from the ground up. We created two distinct experiences to help teams manage content more effectively.

Subject matter experts (SMEs), who typically answer a couple of questions for each RFP, need a way to suggest new or revised content when they come across something that requires updating across all RFPs. So we’ve now provided that option.

A question answered in Loopio and suggested as a new entry for the Library

For those that manage the Library, we created a new page that allows them to approve or reject those suggestions from SMEs. Moreover, in this space, content owners can make any necessary edits to answers and add categories or tags.

An answer in Loopio library is being updated to make the library content up to date

So the platform now reflects two distinct experiences. Can you tell us why you evolved this workflow in the first place?

Based on more than 30 customer interviews and feedback from beta programs, it was clear that users instinctively understand the value in capturing changes to answers, while writing an RFP response. This was the key to keeping Library content fresh, easily generating new answers, and ultimately respond to an RFP faster.

Looking at engagement data, there were key areas to focus on, so we could improve this process.

A theme we heard over and over again, was that users were looking for more flexibility. They wanted to easily involve the right people, at the right stage.

“As most RFPs responders would tell you, they are incredibly busy. While rushing to meet a deadline, they didn’t want to worry about maintaining the Library.”
Anastasia Maslov, Associate Product Manager

It was clear that customers wanted a way to aggregate suggestions, and come back to them at a later time.

Users also wanted to involve more people in the process, while keeping the right checks and balances in place. It takes a village, you know?

What customer feedback made its way into the software update?

I’d say the entire development process has been heavily influenced by customer input. Everything we learned in speaking to our customers throughout this process was considered when approaching this update

Our standard process is to speak with as many users as possible. More than 30 customers we spoke to through a program called Loopio Labs. This initiative encourages candid conversations between Loopio’s design team, product team, and customers.

There was one notable idea that was definitely inspired by a customer’s suggestion: The option for filtering Reviews from Projects. With this feedback, we tailored the feature to meet the user’s needs.

Filtering options in Loopio

So now, all customers can easily zoom in to specific parts of the Library (organized through stacks, categories and sub-categories). Or, if you know a recent RFP contains lots of great answers, you can prioritize reviewing that first by filtering.

Coming back to this idea of it “taking a village”. How should RFP teams enable their own “village” to better manage content?

Something we say at Loopio, is that our platform makes it easier for organizations to harness their collective brainpower. We want workflows to center around crowdsourcing, and making it easy for SMEs to flex their expertise.

The new Close Loop workflows and the new Reviews from Projects page allows each teammate to do their part, playing to their strengths.

SMEs, responding to occasional questions, should actively contribute by suggesting edits or new content. On the flip side, content managers should have control over the organization of their Library, by approving or rejecting suggestions as needed. Everybody has a role to play!

What makes Loopio’s team approach to content management so different?

We don’t just put the onus on a few people in an organization. At every turn in the platform, it’s easy to improve upon your team’s Library. Starting from being able to capture changes while you respond to an RFP. Your Library should organically improve with every Project you complete.

“Everyone should be given the opportunity to suggest changes to content. Unlocking that “collective brainpower” is the key to a strong content management process.”
Anastasia Maslov, Associate Product Manager

I’d also say it’s our award-winning approach to partnering with customers. Our onboarding experts will work with you every step of the way to build a Library tailored for your organization. Plus, our customer success managers set check-ins to ensure your Library is healthy and still working for your process.

If you could offer one piece of advice… What should people do to improve their RFP content right now?

With or without RFP response software, the first step is getting your teammates on board with the value of curating your best RFP content.

You can’t be short-sighted. Curating a high-quality content Library takes time, but our customers see the value of that investment every time they respond to a new RFP. Once you can tap into your team’s collective brainpower, you’ll be taking a step in the right direction. For me, it starts there.

Want to learn more about great RFP content? Learn how to write a winning RFP response.

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