Do You Need RFP Automation Software? How to Decide Yay or Nay
Automation exists for nearly every work task imaginable. With so many tools available, we’re now required to determine whether or not a task needs to be automated—and what may be lost if we choose the automation route.
The RFP process is no different. While RFP automation can save hours of time, how do you know when it’s worth it to rely on automation? And which parts of the RFP process should be automated versus those that benefit from a human touch?
Keep reading to find out more about RFP automation, including what it is, who uses it, and signs you could benefit from adopting an RFP automation tool to save time and remove roadblocks.
What Is RFP Automation?
RFP automation helps teams prepare a first draft in minutes instead of hours. RFP software automates the RFP process with smart libraries that organize your content, make it searchable, and auto-detect and auto-fill answers to questions within your RFP based on past responses.
An RFP automation tool also centralizes projects in one spot for better collaboration and to eliminate version control issues.
If you’re curious and want to understand: How can I automate my RFP? Here are some of the basics you’ll improve with RFP software:
- Auto-fill answers in just a couple of clicks
- Assign content updates, edits, and approvals to SMEs
- Search for the content you need within one library
- Schedule regular reviews of RFP answers
- Set reminders for key project milestones
- Auto-detect if your content is up-to-date
- Keep track of project status, contributors, approvals, and deadlines
Repetitive admin tasks are worth streamlining through software. Tasks that require more strategy, like writing and competitive comparisons, need a human touch.
RFP automation software can be used for a variety of long documents, including security questionnaires (SQs), due diligence questionnaires (DDQs), and requests for information (RFIs). That’s why you’ll see such a wide range of professionals using it, including…
Who Uses RFP Automation Tools?
Proposal managers use RFP automation tools to respond to an RFP faster. Automation helps them keep projects on track, even with hundreds of responses and many subject matter experts (SMEs) weighing in.
Sales engineers contribute to the RFP process with technical answers about a company’s product(s). They use RFP automation software to keep their answers up to date, so they can pull those answers for future projects. When a company is small- to mid-sized, they may lead the RFP process in the absence of a proposal manager.
Security teams streamline processes and best practices to focus on their main responsibility—maintaining the security of their technology and their data. RFP automation helps them quickly communicate their expertise to sales, which is funneled into RFP responses.
Sales teams use automation to submit RFP responses quickly and efficiently, so they can get back to other revenue opportunities, and ultimately, close more deals.
Which Companies Need RFP Automation?
While all companies are different, some more than others benefit from RFP software, including asset management, software, and health technology companies.
RFP automation is also a good fit for any company with 10,000+ employees. An easy-to-use system is essential for large companies to maintain answers that are consistent and on-brand.
Larger companies tend to receive a lot of RFPs, SQs, and DDQs that require answering repetitive questions on a daily basis. That’s why they love hearing that 80% of their questionnaires can be automated.
3 Signs You Need RFP Automation
How do you know if you need RFP automation? You’ll want to meet three criteria:
✓ Number of RFPs or SQs—1 per month (or more)
✓ Number of contributors—5 or more
✓ Average question repetition—40% or more
Other Factors You Should Consider
If you find yourself on the edge of this criteria, here are some additional questions to consider:
Why do you submit less than 10 RFPs each year? If your company submits less than 10 RFPs per year, ask yourself why. Is it because your current process is so arduous that you’re not submitting as many RFPs as you could if it were easier? Automation may be what allows you to accept more future opportunities and potentially grow your business.
How many people would you ideally involve in your process? Research shows that companies who frequently submit RFPs involve an average of 7.3 people in completing a single response. It can be challenging to involve so many people in each bid, but RFP automation software streamlines the process and makes it easier to involve more people.
How often do you copy + paste? If more than 40% of your questions are repeats and you’re working without automation, you’re likely copy-pasting a lot. Automation can eliminate this problem.
What Are the Common Roadblocks Solved by RFP Automation?
Automation for the sake of automation is never the correct approach. Automation is only a solution when it solves specific problems and removes roadblocks that actually exist. Here are the five most common problems that RFP automation can solve for your business.
Content isn’t easy to find and/or it’s out of date.
If your content is out of date, searching for accurate answers can eat up a lot of time. RFP automation reminds SMEs to update their content within a centralized library, so you’re never second-guessing answers.
Subject matter experts (SMEs) are disengaged.
Your SMEs have answered your questions so many times—they’re disengaged and you feel guilty. RFP automation organizes information and makes it searchable, so you don’t have to rely on the experts to repeat their answers.
Project management feels clunky and inefficient.
You’re constantly following up with contributors to keep your projects on schedule, and it’s hard to keep track of all the roadblocks. RFP automation software comes with a project management user interface that reveals where you need to focus your efforts to increase efficiency and meet deadlines.
RFP response quality suffers when you try to scale.
You’re receiving so many complex RFPs that your team is struggling to keep up—and maybe working weekends to hit deadlines? Responses are coming from so many people that the end result is a fragmented, off-brand mess. RFP automation centralizes responses so that one person can easily edit them for cohesion.
RFP revenue and process results aren’t easy to understand.
Without a centralized solution, you lack visibility: you don’t know which responses are most commonly used, how long each step takes, or how much revenue your team is contributing. RFP automation houses data that can help you make informed decisions about how to make your process better.
RFP Automation Versus the Human Touch
Yes, automation simplifies the RFP process. But the pros know that the human touch is the key to winning new business.
And that’s why RFP automation is so important: it saves you time, so you can focus on personalizing your answers to client needs—and ultimately win more bids. See for yourself in this Loopicon 2020 session, where Grant Waldron, Proposal Manager at Fastly, reveals how his team turns around highly technical RFPs at lightning speed.
Ready to try RFP response software for your team? See how Loopio works.
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