Many notable events happened in 2018: the false missile alarm in Hawaii, the Winter Olympics, the box office hit Black Panther, the World Cup in Russia, the congressional hearing with Mark Zuckerberg, and the loss of Aretha Franklin, Burt Reynolds, and Stephen Hawking.
But, there is a recurring event that happened across technology organizations last year that you may have missed in the news…the overuse of Control+F when searching for historic RFP responses.
As a proposal manager, you’ve used Control+F (or Command+F) more times than you can count. The irony here is that you’re working at a tech company. You’re used to being ahead of the curve, an innovator in your space. If those two keyboard buttons Control+F are your faithful companions in the response process, then it’s time to make a serious change.
Control+F is so 2018 and we can’t allow you to continue on this way. Content management is really the root cause of your Control+F habit. Let’s upgrade your existing approach to proposal management by improving your content techniques.
“The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. And so in a sense, it is all about potential.” – Steve Ballmer
Proposal management upgrade: Answer library
In a Control+F environment, RFP responses are stored everywhere: in folders on your company’s server or Google Drive, in docs and spreadsheets within those folders, or in some document management and storage system that is a small step above a manual RFP response process. An answer library serves as your content hub, where all company information is stored, organized, and accessible. This is “Better Proposal Management 101.”
Proposal management upgrade: Search
Rather than Control+F, use search functionality within RFPIO’s answer library to quickly find content. Search by standard keywords, a phrase “enclosed in quotes,” or even a fuzzy search. A fuzzy what? Fuzzy searches discover terms that are similar to a specified term without necessarily being an exact match. (i.e. Slack~ which gives the result as “stock”, “track,” “crack,” and “slack.”) Yes, it’s an answer library search technique you will love using.
Proposal management upgrade: Star rating
Today you’re probably highlighting your favorite content in documents or spreadsheets. With a response management platform like RFPIO, use the star rating feature to prioritize your best content instead. When you give a response five stars, the system recognizes that this content should be presented first in a search. Weaker content remains hidden within the system’s shadows.
Proposal management upgrade: Auto-Respond
There is nothing automated about using Control+F, am I right? But with auto-respond, content with the highest relevancy score populates the answer fields for you—a bit like voodoo, the good kind. Automatically respond to questions that are similar to questions you’ve answered previously. You can also mass auto-complete several questions from multiple sections at once, which is especially valuable with lengthy security questionnaires.
Proposal management upgrade: Visibility
Keeping track of your RFP project is much easier when you’re using a single proposal management platform. Dashboards help you monitor progress to see where the entire project stands. If an SME (subject matter expert) is falling behind, you’ll know exactly when to nudge them. This level of visibility also motivates you, because you’ll be able to see the finish line.
Proposal management upgrade: Accuracy
The next step after Control+F is copy and paste, which can affect accuracy. If you forget to change the organization’s name, then it’s obvious that you reused content without taking the time to customize and polish. Merge tags are great because the system replaces those fields automatically. Content audits are equally important for ensuring your responses are updated and relevant—you can set audit reminders to stay on top of your content.
In 2019, 64% of organizations are ramping up their budgets so they can upgrade outdated IT infrastructure. That’s a really good sign for you and your team as you orchestrate all of the moving pieces of proposal management. During the budget conversation, you can make a strong case—especially in a technology company where your organization definitely doesn’t want to be the one left behind.
Step away from your computer keyboard and say this with us: “No more Control+F. No more Control+F. No more Control+F.” Feels good, right? Okay, now come back and sign up for a demo of RFPIO.
And, hey…welcome to the future of proposal management.