THE RFPIO BLOG

Response management best practices & perspectives

Where proposal, sales, presales, and other response professionals look for answers to improve outcomes and accelerate growth.

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Join RFPIO and SOLVE in the Go Green Campaign

Join RFPIO and SOLVE in the Go Green Campaign

The RFPIO team is on a new philanthropy mission in Q2 we decided towe’re getting green with it! In celebration […]


Join RFPIO and SOLVE in the Go Green Campaign

Join RFPIO and SOLVE in the Go Green Campaign

The RFPIO team is on a new philanthropy mission in Q2 we decided towe’re getting green with it! In celebration of Earth Day on April 22, we’ll be getting our hands dirty for a good cause with the Go Green campaign.

As Salesforce partners, we work with Pledge 1% to participate in the culture of giving. In Q1 we hosted the ROI of Compassion and helped Oregon Food Bank bring over 600 meals to families in need through online donations and an office food drive.

It’s always tough to pick one cause to contribute our time to—as there are so many important causes. In the spirit of Earth Day—and the beautiful state of Oregon we are happy to live in—we decided to pledge our 1% community involvement to SOLVE.

portland forest park
SOLVE is a non-profit organization that brings together individuals, business groups, and service and conservation groups through volunteering and education to restore our natural spaces and take good care of this great state of which we are all so proud. SOLVE facilitates Oregonians of all kinds coming together to volunteer, focusing on beach and illegal dump cleanup, planting native trees, removing invasive plants, and other environmental maintenance projects. SOLVE annually creates an average of 40,000 volunteer opportunities in 170 communities all across this diverse state.

On Friday, the RFPIO team will be cleaning up Kelley Point Park in north Portland to help benefit the community—and of course…earth. We’ll be removing all trash, invasive plants, and placing mulch around a natural plant area.

Did you know invasive plant removal is critical to our environment? Our water, wildlife, and economy are threatened by invasive species. Native plants and animals are pushed out, and entire ecosystems and agricultural areas can be seriously degraded or destroyed. That’s why environmental cleanups are so important and we’re excited to help SOLVE make a difference.

pledge one

Want to contribute to RFPIO’s Go Green campaign?

We’d love for you to join us at the Kelley Point Park Cleanup, but we understand that isn’t possible for all of our wonderful clients, partners, and friends. But you can still help us keep the earth beautiful!

Donate online right here to help SOLVE make a bigger impact to save our planet. On behalf of Mother Nature, we thank you for your support…may the forest be with you!

Say hello to the new RFPIO

Say hello to the new RFPIO

Five years ago, a good friend of mine told me about an idea. He and a few friends were going to build a better way to respond to RFPs, and asked me for marketing help. Over a cup of coffee, we started to work on his company’s initial marketing strategy. That friend was Ganesh Shankar, and that idea was RFPIO Inc.

Although I had a gut-feeling that RFPIO was going to go far, even I couldn’t have imagined that RFPIO would not only become the industry-leading solution for RFP response, but would pioneer an entirely new category of response management.

Teams are still using RFPIO to respond to RFPs, but they’re also responding to RFIs, DDQs, Security Questionnaires, Bids, and Tenders. They’re using it to create Statements of Work, proactive proposals, and grant applications. They’re using it to look up information during sales calls, respond to support tickets, and manage content.

RFPIO has evolved. And our identity has evolved with it.

“RFPIO has grown and evolved far beyond our expectations. Our new look pays tribute to who we’ve become, without forgetting who we’ve always been.” Ganesh Shankar, CEO and Co-Founder of RFPIO

But it’s still us. We’re still RFPIO. We’ve just turned the page in our story. But before we get to that, we’d like to reflect on what got us here — and explore what the future holds.

Chapter 1: A Better Response Starts Here

We’ve always known there was a better way to respond to RFPs. That’s where our story began: A solution for responders, by responders. That first-hand experience is what continues to drive us to make the platform better and better.

After launching the first AI-enabled solution to RFP response, the market responded almost immediately. At that point in time, the vast majority of companies were creating proposals from scratch, storing on hard drives, and collaborating across various platforms. Nothing was in one place.

For RFPIO’s early customers, our software became that place. Implementation was easy. Customers were reporting efficiency and ROI that seemed too good to be true. Sometimes we still pinch ourselves to make sure this isn’t all a dream.

Shortly thereafter, RFP Software was recognized as a category by industry analytics and customer review sites, accelerating our growth and enabling us to help more companies adopt a better way to respond.

Chapter 2: Growing by listening and learning

Our growth is grounded in what our users need. While we were once responders ourselves, we looked beyond our own experiences and actively listened to our customers. Their suggestions, feedback, and guidance play a pivotal role in our product design and development. We are proud to say that over 90% of customer feedback has been implemented or is in development.

As a result, we’ve defined and redefined what is possible for RFP Software. Today we offer the most advanced and user-friendly solution available, and we are the only RFP software with a patented import process, e-signature capabilities, and both ISO-27001 and SOC2 certification.

At the same time, we leaned into our community and our customers’ needs and requests to create an ecosystem, offering more integrations with third-party applications than anyone in our space.

As of today, we’ve welcomed over 1,000 customers to the RFPIO family. With over 150,000 users worldwide, RFPIO is the leading RFP software and every day we are still learning and still listening for opportunities to improve the experience for our customers.

The next chapter: Creating the future of response management, together

This segment of sales technology is at the very beginning of its digital transformation and we have only scratched the surface of what is possible.

What started as a software for the RFP response process, has since grown beyond what we imagined it could be. Once a point solution, RFPIO has become the go-to place to find answers to any and all questions.

But this is only the beginning. We’re poised to expand the world of response and excited about what the future holds for response management—our new logo, visual identity, and messaging is just the start of our next chapter.

To our customers: Thank you for believing in us. For supporting us. For growing with us.

To our employees: Thank you for trusting us, and for all your hard work that has made us who we are today.

And to the future: Bring it on. We’re ready to seize the opportunities that lay ahead—and excited for what’s to come. At RFPIO, the future is bright!

How Genpact transformed proposal quality with an access-anywhere knowledge base

How Genpact transformed proposal quality with an access-anywhere knowledge base

Genpact (NYSE: G) is a global professional services firm that makes business transformation real. The company drives digital-led innovation and digitally-enabled intelligent operations for its clients, guided by its experience of running thousands of processes primarily for Global Fortune 500 companies across more than 30 countries.

One of the recent examples is the transformation of the BidPro (the bid and proposal team) team. The team was spending 80% of time on deals that represented just 20% of revenue. As is common across the industry, bids turned into fire drills and deal managers provided stock-standard responses rather than focusing on winning messaging.

The result? Poorly articulated value propositions. Inconsistent messaging. Low team morale. And disappointing conversion rates on deals they knew they should be winning.

There was no doubt that the bid-pro team was ready for a transformation. And one of the key catalysts of this transformation was content.

Here’s the story of how they did it.

Chapter 1: Building a strong content backbone

Content is at the heart of any strong proposal. While there were already different types of collateral available, proposal-specific content is a different ball game. It needs a differentiated approach. In addition to content “breadth and depth”, content also needs to be of the right quality.

By simultaneously broadening and deepening leadership-approved content, they were able to give bid managers the valuable content they needed to build out a standard proposal and could customize from there — improving the quality of the final submission, the way they always hoped to do.

The next big thing was ensuring content was available in multiple formats. 80% of their submissions were made in Microsoft PowerPoint, which meant the RFPIO library needed to be compatible with PowerPoint.

The Genpact team partnered with the RFPIO team to find a solution that could serve their unique needs. After multiple discussions and iterations, an optimum solution was agreed upon and the new capability was launched. With this, the proposal library became comprehensive, full of Q&A pairs, templates, boilerplates, infographics, and images.

Chapter 2: Making content easily accessible

Before RFPIO, the Genpact team was managing content on a different cloud-based system. Since this content catered to different use cases, finding the right content was not easy. They kept hearing the same feedback over and over again — nobody could find relevant content, content was dated, and searching for content was a pain.

RFPIO met their needs on both content management and search.

However, change is never easy. To simplify the process and provide a seamless user experience, the Genpact team implemented the RFPIO® LookUp subscription, giving the BidPro team direct access to the RFPIO Answer Library via Microsoft 365 programs like Word and PowerPoint.

In addition, people outside the BidPro team can download template slide decks directly from the library. Then, they can create the storyline using boilerplate content (also stored in the Document Library) and customize it to the client’s specific use case.

Using RFPIO® LookUp, the Genpact bid-pro team can now download template slide decks directly from the Answer Library. Then, they can create the storyline using boilerplate content (also stored in the Answer Library) and customize it to the client’s specific use case.

By strengthening content quality and creating easy access to the Answer Library via RFPIO® LookUp, bid managers now have immediate access to pre-approved content they can easily add to their proposals. As a result, proposal quality has improved dramatically.

Chapter 3: Increasing efficiency by 30% by empowering a team of high-achievers

Before RFPIO, the bid-pro team would repeatedly answer factual questions such as “What’s your address” and “What’s your D&B number”. As such, talented proposal professionals weren’t able to seize opportunities to advance their career.

“Since implementing RFPIO, we’ve been able to do so much more with the same headcount. We’ve increased efficiency by at least 30-35%. We’ve diverted the effort and time to more value-added activities, creating a win-win both for the organization and the team members”.
-Shashi K, Assistant VP of Content at Genpact

Bid-pro team members are no longer grinding to complete repetitive tasks. Instead, they’ve been able to grow into content professionals who are experts in the subject areas they’ve helped build-out. “Not only are they creating real value for deal managers, but they’re developing important skills to advance their careers,” Shashi said.

Another key benefit of RFPIO for a fast-paced organization such as Genpact is accelerating onboarding. With a rich repository of high-quality, pre-vetted content, new team members across the organization are able to create strong proposals without relying on their more-senior counterparts.

And like they say, the proof of the pudding lies in eating. The team is witnessing early success —over 90% of the content they’ve created is being used. Their content strategy is working. Going forward, they’re going to continue to use RFPIO’s built-in analytics to track how their team is using RFPIO® LookUp for Microsoft Office to gain more insight into how their content is being leveraged.

Epilogue: And the journey of excellence continues

In addition to the outcomes envisaged, this transformation has also been recognized by the industry. In 2020, they were recognized by the Association for Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) as “Best Team of the Year.”

And they’re not finished yet. As Sanjay Singh, Vice President, BidPro says, “And the journey has just about begun. The BidPro team is now planning to empower the entire sales team to create proactive proposals using standard content from the RFPIO Answer Library. A new phase begins.”

And they’re not alone. According to the 2021 Benchmark Report on Proposal Management, of organizations planning to respond to more RFPs in 2021, 82% will also complete more proactive proposals.

Powered with strong content and a drive to succeed, the Genpact BidPro team is perfectly poised for the next phase of its transformation. At Genpact, the future is bright.

Here’s how RFPIO celebrated the holiday season, 2020 style

Here’s how RFPIO celebrated the holiday season, 2020 style

This year’s holiday party was a little different than usual. For one thing, I spent the entire time sitting alone in my living room, staring at my computer. For another, I showed up in leggings.

And yet, it was a roaring success. Even though we couldn’t have our holiday party in person this year, it was still a hit, receiving accolades from employees like, “super fun holiday party!!!!” and “BEST. PARTY. EVER.”

After kicking off the festivities with a few words from our fearless leaders, we hopped right into the fun stuff.

We started by breaking into three separate activity tracks: painting, cocktail making, and virtual escape room-ing. Then we reconvened for some holiday trivia and a special performance from our in-house rapper (Kendall—you’re a star).

Keep reading to see what we did to keep that feeling of togetherness alive, despite not actually being physically together.

Holiday Activity 1: Sip & Paint

After breaking off of the main group, about a third of the company poured themselves a glass of wine, pulled out their paintbrushes, paint, and canvases, and got to work on their masterpieces.

An artist entertainer from Bottle and Bottega gave everyone live remote instructions on how to paint their landscapes, and in just about 45 minutes everyone had finished—and wow-ed the rest of us with their artistic ability.

Holiday Activity 2: Cocktail Making Class

 

We invited Portland Whiskey Guardian Hannah Scollo to lead the team through a cocktail making class via Zoom! Everyone had the opportunity to make three different cocktails—The Lion’s Tail Classic, the RFPIO Holiday Lion’s Tail, and Angel’s Rye Daiquiri. If you’re interested in trying these out on your own, here are the recipes!

Lion’s Tail Classic
2 ounces bourbon
4 dashes Angostura bitters
½ ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce
simple syrup
½ ounce allspice dram
Shake, strain, serve!

RFPIO Holiday Lion’s Tail
2oz Angels’ Envy bourbon
.25 angostura bitters
.5 Clear Creek Cranberry liqueur
.5 lime juice
.75 2:1 Turbinado sugar to water syrup
5 drops vanilla bean saline solution (10g hot water to 1g vanilla sea salt)
Shake, strain, serve!

Angels’ Rye Daiquiri
2oz Angel’s Envy Rye
.75 Raw sugar syrup
1 oz lime juice
Shake, strain, serve!

For more Angel’s Envy whiskey fun, follow Hannah on Instagram @pdxwhiskeyguardian. Cheers!

Holiday Activity 3: Virtual Escape Room

We worked with Green Hat People to set up a virtual escape room for the rest of the team.

The premise: A hacker has locked your company files. Can you unlock them in 45 minutes? But the hackers are not motivated by cash, their agenda is more philosophical. If you and your team can prove your worth, they might relent!

Luckily, all four of our escape room teams managed to prove their worth and won the files back from the hackers.

Holiday Activity 4: Holiday Trivia

After everyone finished their activities and reconvened in the main room (those who had attended the cocktail class were a bit giddier than usual), and we proceeded to the next activity. We used sli.do to facilitate our 30-question holiday trivia activity.

We asked questions like, “What year did Santa Claus first appear in a Coca-Cola ad” (1931) and “Do Americans buy more fake Christmas trees or real Christmas trees” (fake—a big disappointment to those of us based out of Oregon).

Holiday Activity 5: #RandomActsOfKindness

Last but not least, we wrapped up the holiday season with some giving.

First, we donated $25 for each person who attended our cocktail-making class, equalling a $675 donation to a family in need through the Christmas Family Adoption Foundation.

But we decided that wasn’t quite enough… so we decided to also raise money for charity through an employee-driven #RandomActsOfKindness initiative.

Employees posted their #RandomActOfKindness in our internal Slack channel; for each act, RFPIO donated $10 to charity—adding momentum to the movement.

RFPIO employees got very creative with their kindness, doing things from donating food to the food pantry, giving plants to neighbors, donating to charity, and handing out food and other supplies to the homeless.

Through this initiative, we’ve raised an additional $100 for charity, splitting the proceeds between the Christmas Family Adoption Foundation and GlobalGiving’s initiative to Transform Outcomes for Children in India.

And that’s a wrap!

I may be biased, but this was easily one of the best holiday parties I’ve ever been to. We definitely couldn’t have done it without our party organizing extraordinaires, Bonnie McDougal and Kelsey McFarlane.

But we also couldn’t have done it without such a great team. I think I speak for everyone when I say I’m grateful to work alongside so many supportive, helpful, kind, and hilarious people, who both take their work seriously… and also like to hang out and have fun.

With that, the team at RFPIO wishes all of you a wonderful holiday season and smooth slide into the new year.

P.S. If cocktail making and virtual escape rooms sound like your cup of tea, we’re hiring!

How RFPIO celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month

How RFPIO celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month is a period from September 15 to October 15 in the United States for recognizing the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States.

It started way back in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson and was officially signed into law in 1988.

This year, the RFPIO team celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month in our own way, through cocktail making, pot painting, and a bit of trivia.

How RFPIO celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month

Our Hispanic Heritage Month Event was special for two reasons. First, because we were able to celebrate Hispanic culture. Second, it was our first company event since RFPIO acquired RFP360! It was great bringing the two teams together under one virtual roof and getting to know each other a bit better.

We gave everyone the option to do two different activities: Cocktail Making and Terracotta Pot Painting

Cocktail Making 🍹

For this one, we invited the great Robert Damian Scout to help us become cocktail-making pros. He showed us how to craft a couple of amazing classic cocktails made famous by a man named Don Javier Delgado Corona. He’s an absolute legend in the Hispanic community AND the bartender community worldwide. If you’re looking for a good story, look him up. You won’t be disappointed.

In the class, Robert showed us out to make two classic cocktails: La Paloma and Batanga.

Here are the recipes:

La Paloma
2 oz blanco Tequila (preferably Patron Silver)
½ oz fresh lime juice
1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
¼ oz r squirt of agave nectar (simple syrup works too)
Club soda
Pinch of salt
Tajin or chili salt (optional)
If you’re not a fan of tequila, a grapefruit shandy or beer also works great!

Batanga
2 oz blanco Tequila (preferably Patron Silver)
¾ oz fresh lime juice
4-5oz of Coke (preferably Mexican Coke)
Salt
One whole lime

Tools:
Shaker tin of any sort (anything with a removable and tight lid will work)
Cocktail Strainer (you can also use your hands)
One sharp knife, big enough to stir into your glass
Preferably a “collins” glass, but any pint-like glass will work

Terracotta Pot Painting 🎨

For this activity, we sent anyone a kit with a few mini terracotta pots and some paint pens.

We kicked off the event by exploring the virtual art exhibit hosted by the Smithsonian museum, Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art.

At this exhibit, we learned about how the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s galvanized Latino artists across the United States, who began creating new images of their communities and examined bicultural experiences. Until recently, this art was not considered part of “American” art—the exhibit at the Smithsonian attempts to change this.

We’d encourage you to explore the exhibit on your own here. It will run until March 2022.

After we learned a bit about the history of Latino art in the United States, we learned more about the significance of pottery in Latin America, but Mexico specifically, and how native indigenous pottery was influenced by Spanish techniques. And then… we took that inspiration and painted our very own masterpieces!

Each participant received two terracotta pots and 4 paint pens… and then we got to work. Here’s a sampling of our collective genius:

Hispanic Heritage Trivia 🤓

We finished off our event with some trivia!

Here are some of the questions we asked. See if you could get them right! (Scroll to the bottom of the blog for answers).

Why does Hispanic Heritage Month start on September 15th?

  1. September signifies the start of Fall in many Latin American countries
  2. It’s Pancho Villa’s birthday
  3. It marks the day many Latin American countries gained independence

When was the first time Hispanic Heritage Week (now Hispanic heritage Month) was celebrated in the US?

  1. 1988
  2. 1968
  3. 1990
  4. 1978

How large was the self-described U.S. Hispanic population as of 2019?

  1. 132 million
  2. 50.5 million
  3. 27.8 million
  4. 60.6 million

How many states had a population of more than 1 million Hispanic residents as of 2019?

  1. 8
  2. 10
  3. 12
  4. 14

According to a 2018 census estimate, the U.S. Hispanic population will reach this size by 2060.

  1. 81.2 million
  2. 91.8 million
  3. 111.2 million
  4. 124 million

What’s the largest city in Latin America by population?

  1. São Paulo
  2. Mexico City
  3. Lima
  4. Bogotá

What’s the highest waterfall in South America?

  1. Iguazu Falls
  2. Tugela Falls
  3. Gocta Waterfall
  4. Angel Falls

Which South American country do the Easter Islands in the Pacific Ocean belong to?

  1. Uruguay
  2. Paraguay
  3. Argentina
  4. Chile

All for a good cause

While drinking and painting are good fun, there was a greater purpose behind our shenanigans.

All participants were encouraged to donate money to Voto Latino, a grassroots political organization focused on educating and empowering a new generation of Latinx voters, as well as creating a more robust and inclusive democracy. We set out with a stretch goal to raise $1,000—and we surpassed that number!

As of October 8, we have $1,175 raised. The fundraiser will be open until the end of Hispanic Heritage Month on October 15. If you haven’t donated yet, but would like to, please visit our GoFundMe page.

If this sounds like fun… we’re hiring

At RFPIO, we like to have fun. If you also like to have fun, you’ll fit right in.

We’re hiring in pretty much every department. Check out our most current job listings here. If something catches your eye, please apply! We can’t wait to meet you.

Answers to trivia questions:
C. It marks the day many Latin American countries gained independence
B. 1968
D. 60.6 million
C. 12
C. 111.2
A. São Paulo
D. Angel Falls
D. Chile

To learn more…

Here are some resources you can check out.

Podcasts:

MexiCan

A Latinx culture podcast about Mexican and Mexican-American history, folklore, traditions, and art.

Anything for Selena

Marcia Garcia was 9 years old when Selena was murdered. 25 years later, she’s on a quest to understand what it means to love, mourn, and remember Selena.

Code Switch

A podcast that tackles the subject of race with empathy and humor, exploring how race affects every part of society.

Reading:

Book: The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey, by Ernesto Che Guevara

Book: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz

Article: Dia de los Muertos

Watch

Documentary: Latino Vote: Dispatches from the Battleground

Documentary: Underwater Dreams

TV Show: Gentefied

Documentary: Discovering Colombia

Bid & Proposal Conference Denver: Key Takeaways

Bid & Proposal Conference Denver: Key Takeaways

We just returned from 3 jam-packed days in Denver, Colorado—and we’re still buzzing from all the excitement. There’s just something so special about having real conversations with people in person. Although, remembering how to talk to people was definitely a bit of a learning curve.

In short, APMP’s 2021 Bid and Proposal Conference in Denver was great. It was held at the Gaylord Rockies—an absolutely gigantic hotel outside of Denver, complete with a waterpark. If anything, nobody was complaining about not getting their steps in.

I’d also like to call out what a good job APMP did with COVID precautions. Attendees could order a COVID test to come to your house right before the conference. And everyone needed to submit a health screening form and get their temperature taken before the day’s activities began.

Learning and growing

BPC did not lack in informative sessions. With more than 40 sessions over three days, we definitely left with far greater insights than we came with. Here were a few of our faves:

How to use FBI hostage techniques to get what you want from other people

This session was a huge hit—to the point that people had to stand in the back in order to sit in.

And the speakers, Adele Cehrs and Chip Massey, made some brilliant parallels between the job of an FBI agent and the job of a proposal professional.

When an FBI is in a hostage negotiation, they need to connect with the fugitive. So they approach the situation from the fugitive’s point of view. A good FBI agent will say: “I know what you’re going through. You’re looking over their shoulder, thinking something’s going to happen, you can’t trust anyone… You know you’re going to be brought in eventually. I’m here to help.”

If you looked at things from an FBI agent’s point of view, they’d just say, “Listen, I need to bring you in. So come on.” That’s not very convincing.

Proposal professionals are doing the same thing. They’re understanding the situation from the buyer’s perspective. What is their pain? Why are they seeking the solution? How can you help?

These are all questions a good proposal manager will ask themselves.

Bid Responsibility: Effectively Partnering with the Sales Team

The CEO of Patri, Josh Ellars, started off this presentation with this slide.

After this slide was shown, I imagine everyone in the audience mentally said, “Looks about right.”

A stark difference in headcount isn’t the only thing that’s disconnected between bid and proposal teams. In this presentation, Josh explained what else is missing—and what you can do about it.

Exploring the Future of Response Management

In this session, RFPIO’s very own CEO sat down with the President of APMP, Rick Harris for a “power half hour” coffee. They talked about everything under the sun, including where response management came from, where it’s going, and how the relationship between AI and humans will continue to evolve.

This was a well-attended session that saw lots of audience participation where people were able to interact with Ganesh. It was a really fun session to watch!

Managing the Changing Landscape of Response Management

Change is hard, but necessary. Because the risk of staying the same is much greater than the risk of accepting change.

In this session, Angela Earl, VP of Global Marketing at RFPIO, talked about how response management has changed over time—especially over the last few years.

At the same time, buyer’s expectations are changing. Buyers expect providers to know who they are, what interactions they’ve had, and where they are in the decision-making process. Prospects want to be heard, not herded.

Networking and reconnecting

BPC Denver was absolutely a chance for everyone to regrease those socializing wheels, dust off your electric magenta blazer, and get back out into the world of interacting with people in real life.

Luckily, APMP made networking and reconnecting easy. Here are some of the activities we enjoyed:

Regi-ception

We kicked off the conference with a “Registration + Reception” combo. This helped jumpstart everyone’s socializing skills and get everyone excited for the days ahead. RFPIO sponsored

THE TARA

“TARA” stands for “The Art of Reconnecting Annually”. And APMP did not disappoint. They had a ton of great food (the truffle mac n cheese was my personal fave), a VW bus photo booth, cornhole, ladder ball, and shuffleboard. It was a lot of fun!

RFPIO Booth

To honor the weirdness of the last year and a half, we were giving out some fun, practical SWAG at our booth—hand sanitizer and notebooks.

We also had a lot of fun with a photo booth! Anyone who took a photo at our booth would be entered into our raffle to win a $100 Amazon gift card. We only had four lucky winners, but a lot of wonderful entries!

On Day 2, I felt like everyone could use a bit of a pick me up… so I hyped up the music a bit. And it worked like a charm. As soon as I put on “We Will Rock You” by Queen, a group of people started stomp-stomp-clapping. And to honor their impromptu-ness, Angela, our VP of Global Marketing, gave them all impromptu raffle tickets!

Chapter of the Year: APMP India

Finally, I want to give a shout out to APMP India for winning Chapter of the Year award! This award honors the APMP chapter that demonstrates excellence in chapter sustenance and development through support of APMP initiatives.

Nice work, APMP India! 🎉

Looking forward

After all the fun we had at BPC Denver, we immediately checked when BPC 2022 would be. It’s already scheduled for May 22-25, 2022 in Dallas.

If you’re interested in more APMP events, make sure to register for their upcoming webinar, “How Proposal Teams Can Drive Sales Productivity and Improve Outcomes.” Watch the webinar here (you have to register before you can watch).

Also, make sure to sign up for updates about RISE UP 2022! It will be a fully virtual event, happening February 16-17, 2021.

Why RFPIO hosted our first virtual sign language workshop

Why RFPIO hosted our first virtual sign language workshop

At RFPIO, we believe that if you aren’t actively inclusive, you will be unintentionally exclusive.

According to the most recent census data, there are over 5 million people who are deaf or hearing impaired living in India — and yet only 1,500 people of hearing know Indian Sign Language (ISL).

At the same time, the number of deaf and hearing-impaired people entering the workforce is expected to increase by 50% over the next five years.

When we saw these statistics… we decided we needed to do something to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for the deaf community.

The RFPIO India team attended a virtual sign language workshop, taking our first company-wide step towards inclusivity

In 2015, K Murali, who is hearing impaired, quit his clerical job to found a school that empowers the deaf and hearing population through education. Today, the school has nearly 50 students and five teachers, giving vocational training to deaf students in skills like website design.

In addition to empowering the deaf community through education, the organization also teaches Indian Sign Language to people with hearing, with the mission of creating a more inclusive society.

On July 3, we invited Sneha Murali (K Murali’s daughter) to host a virtual sign language workshop with the RFPIO India team. We invited all 93 members of the India team to join the 2-hour workshop, where Sneha gave an intro lesson, equipping the India team with the basic tools they’ll need to start communicating in Indian Sign Language.

We’re creating an inclusive environment, because we know we’re better together

The Indian Sign Language workshop is just a small part of RFPIO’s initiatives in creating a more inclusive community.

We believe that technology has the potential to create a more inclusive future—and we would like to be part of it.

Because we know that people work best when we’re working together—we’re happier, funnier, and smarter when we’re together. That’s why we’re committed to bringing everyone together. We know that we’re better together.

If you’d like to do more research on how to create an inclusive and welcoming community for people with disabilities in the tech industry, here are some excellent resources that can get you started:

How RFPIO is staying connected to our community

How RFPIO is staying connected to our community

RFPIO was founded to help, liberate, and empower our users. Our founders believed that a better way existed for RFP response. They knew manual spreadsheet tracking and antiquated software wasn’t keeping up with the modern needs of proposal and sales teams. 

From that deep desire to improve the lives of users, Ganesh, Sunder, and Sankar also understood the value of community.  From RFPIO’s beginnings, the team has actively sought ways to strengthen the communities we share space with—physically and virtually. Over the years, these communities have welcomed us, and every day we are grateful for them.

Our community has been going through some dramatic changes. As needs are arising we’re taking steps to offer support and encouragement. From free collaboration support for our customers to free training and support, our team has mobilized to offer our community the best we have to the community that has supported us.

The Oregon Community Recovery Fund shares our commitment to communities. We are proud to partner with this organization to lend a helping hand to those who could really use one. Together, RFPIO employees and customers raised $2,798 for the fund. Money raised went to support nonprofits working to fulfill a variety of needs including:

  • Basic needs: Keep people housed, fed, healthy, and safe
  • Jobs and economy: Create jobs and connect people to opportunities to foster economic recovery and vitality 
  • Childcare: Provide child care needs for children of all ages, including care for children of essential workers
  • Social and emotional needs: Support for social and emotional issues exacerbated by the crisis including mental health, child abuse, domestic violence, and substance abuse. 
  • School closure: Address lost learning opportunities including distance learning, instructional supports, and more. And provide ancillary services to augment school efforts for physical and mental health and nutrition.
RFPIO donates to March of Dimes, joining fight against premature birth

RFPIO donates to March of Dimes, joining fight against premature birth

Premature birth (birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy) and its complications are the #1 cause of infant mortality in the United States. In the United States, the preterm birth rate is 9.8 percent. In other words, 1 in 10 babies is born too soon.

March of Dimes is leading the fight for the health of all moms and babies and has helped millions of babies survive and thrive for the last 80 years. They support moms throughout their pregnancy, advocate for policies that prioritize their health, support radical improvements to the care they receive, and pioneer research to find solutions to the biggest health threats to moms and babies.

RFPIO—like March of Dimes—believes that every baby deserves the best possible start. That’s why, this year, we’ve decided to donate money towards initiatives that will bring down the premature birth rate in the United States—and make sure that moms and babies have the help they deserve.

Visit the March of Dimes website to learn more about how you can help.

9 Dreamforce sessions RFP responders can’t miss

9 Dreamforce sessions RFP responders can’t miss

It’s official: fall has arrived. Besides the much anticipated (or dreaded) return of pumpkin spice-flavored everything, the end of summer also means the beginning of Dreamforce-mania 

And we couldn’t be more excited.

If you’re going to Dreamforce, come say hi! We’ll be holding down Booth 610. 

And if you are going to Dreamforce… you’ve probably already taken a quick glance at the available sessions, only to discover that there are more than 2,700. 

Lucky for you, we’ve scoured through all 2,700 different sessions to find the ones most useful for RFP responders like yourself.

The official RFP Responder guide to #DF19 sessions

RFP responders wear a lot of hats. In fact, your job title likely doesn’t even have the word “RFP” in it. 

So that means if you want to do Dreamforce right, you’re going to have to cover a lot of ground. 

We’ve broken the sessions into a few topics that are near and dear to any RFP responder’s heart.

Sales & marketing alignment 

More often than not, RFP responders fall smack in the middle between marketing and sales.

On the one hand, you need to make sure your company’s marketing messages are coming through in your proposals. 

On the other, you’ve got to make sure the RFPs you’re going after align with your company’s sales goals.

Here are the top Dreamforce sessions that address alignment:

Productivity 

Because coffee can only get you so far.

And because being more productive means you have more time to spend on things that actually add value to your life (think: friends, family, sleep).

Check out the Dreamforce sessions that can help make your team more productive:

  • Boost Service Cloud Agent Productivity 
    • See what productivity tools are available to you and what other customers are using to help users save time and work with records faster and more efficiently.
  • Increase Productivity with Screen Flows (1) 
    • Shave just one minute off a common task, and you could save hundreds of hours of productivity for your team! Learn how to turn your company’s multi-step business workflows into a highly efficient experience, using just clicks. 
  • Empower Your Teams with Virtual Assistants
    • Deep dive into how virtual assistants can help drive faster revenue cycles and improve sales results by enabling your teams to manage tasks through conversational user interfaces.

Collaboration & communication

Collaboration and communication are the bread and butter of high performing proposal management teams. 

It also sometimes feels less like collaboration and more like herding cats.

And clear communication? Fuhgeddaboudit.

Here are the top sessions for enhancing your team’s communication and collaboration:

Helping Beaverton teachers help their students

Helping Beaverton teachers help their students

Across the country, schools are abandoning cumbersome textbooks in favor of equivalents that can be downloaded and printed out for free. And this isn’t just for cost savings — EdReports.org found that Eureka Math, an online distributed math program that teachers can download and print out for free, was more aligned to national education standards than some traditional textbooks.

On the one hand, students no longer need to lug around 20-pound backpacks and schools are able to save substantial cash on textbooks that are not only expensive but also quickly become outdated. At the same time, however, schools are increasingly desperate for paper.

With 94% of US teachers spending their own money on school supplies — at an average of $479/year — RFPIO decided to step in and take care of their paper needs. RFPIO, including both founders and individual employees, collectively donated over 20 boxes of paper to Ridgewood Elementary School in the Beaverton School District. To put that into perspective, we managed to fill 2 cars with paper that we dropped off the Friday before school started. 

Sometimes it’s the little things that really make all the difference. If you want to support teachers, check out Donor’s Choose. You can donate to specific districts, projects (books for libraries, STEM tools, etc), or simply choose any classroom you deem worthy of your dollars!

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