Can tech really help you win more RFPs?
I’ve recently started partnering with a company called Loopio; it’s an RFP response software platform that helps sales teams streamline their RFP/sales processes and drive growth.
What’s this got to do with my column “ask the negotiator” you may ask? Well, of the work I’ve done with clients in the last 12 months, more than 50% has been helping them qualify and win more RFPs.
Help improve your negotiating outcomes by making sure you have systems and high quality content in place
Here’s three reasons you should read on if you’re involved in business development:
Because RFPs can often represent 33% (or more) of revenues. So they’re a critical part of business development if you sell to enterprises/public-sector.
On average, it takes 24 person hours to complete an RFP. Therefore, you have to select rigorously and focus on the ones you can win.
It takes six people or more to collaborate on completing an RFP. You need systems, processes and re-usable content to do this efficiently and ensure a high quality response.
In this article I’m going to cover:
Why you should be tech-enabling your RFP responses and proposal writing.
How to qualify RFPs hard.
Note: Further insights into the RFP data above can be found in this 'state of the nation' report here.
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Why you should be using RFP/sales-enablement technology platforms
Spending more time with clients and less time on proposal/RFP-response writing is a key challenge for any sales team. Thankfully, software-as-a-service (SaaS) technologies make this 10X easier than it was in the noughties. The new breed of SaaS platforms like Loopio enable sales teams to:
Build and manage a library of re-usable sales content. This includes answers to common customer questions, policies that clients always ask for, case study materials, customer value statements, etc.
Search for content using machine learning technologies. As you grow, and more content gets added to your sales library, stuff gets lost/forgotten. Most of the sales enablement technology platforms have recognized and addressed this.
Automate workflows to enable subject-matter-experts to contribute efficiently to proposals/RFPs. This ensures that you don’t miss vital collaborations from internal resources that could materially improve your win-rate.
In summary, these SaaS platforms deliver sales efficiency and enable higher quality proposals/RFP responses. This should lead to higher conversion rates and revenue. This is what Loopio’s senior director for partnerships, Justin Peimani, says:
"Modern solutions enable organizations to realize productivity gains which can range from 30-50% in the context of RFPs to 80-90% in more repetitive contexts, such as due diligence or information security questionnaires. This is before considering the opportunity to be had by communicating market insights back to product development.”
How to qualify RFPs to focus on the ones you can win
To work out if you stand a high likelihood of winning an RFP, here are a few key questions to qualify the opportunity in/out:
Can you get access to the decision maker (with procurement) for a meaningful 45 minute call before submission?
Have you solved this problem/opportunity before? Do you have a case study and ROI/impact data to back up your claims?
Have they provided scoring criteria and relative weightings?
Do you have an inside track?
Do you have a point of true differentiation?
I’d recommend using an RFP qualification score-sheet every time you consider an RFP. You can access my online RFP Scoring template here.
If you’re still just using spreadsheets, shared-drives and emails to manage RFP workflow, you’re missing an opportunity. The new breed of SaaS sales enablement platforms improve both sales efficiency and effectiveness as well as being affordable.
Adopting these new SaaS platforms will increase your win rates for RFPs and proposals. It will also make your sales function more scalable and focused on customer needs/value.
Ultimately, as anyone that follows my content knows, preparation delivers more than 80% of the value in any negotiation. Making sure that you’ve got systems and high quality content in place before you get to the negotiating table is absolutely going to help improve the outcomes.
For full disclosure, Piscari is a registered, non-exclusive, partner with Loopio. Loopio is a global leader in supporting customers across a variety of industries including financial services, healthcare and life sciences and technology. Loopio’s mission is to enable sales organisations to leverage their collective brainpower to fuel growth.
If you’d like a conversation about how these tech plans can help your agency, drop me an email.
Mike Lander is the chief exec and founder of Piscari, which works with agency leaders to improve their negotiation skills and provide insights into how procurement professionals work.