Establishing a single source of truth – or a one central repository – for content is an excellent best practice for reducing inconsistencies. This practice rings particularly true for marketers developing product or corporate content that is frequently used by other departments. For instance, the sales department often uses the same content across multiple RFPs. Using a single source of information is beneficial since it promotes message consistency, uses the most current content and saves time for everyone since the information can be easily vetted on a regular basis.
But what about other response-oriented tasks that are also seen as strategic to winning more business?
Marketers often end up owning other requests that come in, such as queries from industry analysts to rank a company’s offerings or nominations for industry awards. These questionnaires are often managed outside of a centralized content library, which can be a problem if the messaging is inconsistent with your brand. Given that many questions in the requests mentioned above likely overlap, it makes sense that marketers use their RFP software to ensure accurate and current information and to make their lives easier in the process.
When responding to RFPs, it’s critical to use persuasive messaging that sells your company’s solutions. When properly designed, RFP software can help you understand what messaging has worked best which helps your team secure the sale. If the content library in your RFP software already contains persuasive, up to date, on-brand messaging, marketers should consider using the same content library for other response-oriented tasks as well.
Here are three ways to leverage RFP software beyond the basic request for proposal, including awards submissions, industry analyst queries as well as managing content through major company changes like mergers or acquisitions.
Winning an industry award can do a lot to elevate a brand. Not only can it have a positive impact on buying decisions, it helps increase brand awareness, improve team morale and even attract new hires. In addition, having the award logo on your company’s website and product pages offers a competitive advantage for years to come.
Using RFP software helps determine what content should be included for other awards since it’s clear when prior language and content helped secure an award. It helps save a tremendous amount of time, given that answers are right at your fingertips. It also helps avoid rifling through disparate documents to find new content for each award submission thereby reducing lengthy approval cycles.
For product marketers, an analyst questionnaire can really throw your week into a tailspin. Analyst questionnaires take a great deal of time to answer, yet it is critical to deliver the highest quality answers so that the analyst positions your company accurately. The results are likely to impact your company in the market for years ahead so there is a lot of pressure to respond persuasively and correctly.
Like an RFP, analyst questionnaires are lengthy documents that can include hundreds of questions. The questions range from basic company information to detailed summaries of annual user activity, and even long-term strategy and company vision. Even if you’re a product expert, you probably can only answer a small percentage of the questions independently. Correctly answering every question can require input from several subject matter experts, adding hours of time to the entire process.
Often the information needed to answer questions in an analyst report can be found in existing documents, such as an RFx or security questionnaire developed for potential customers. Using a cloud-based RFP software application, which serves as a database to centrally store company information without fear of version-control issues, can save countless hours chasing around SMEs and company leaders.
Ben Franklin stated, “Change is the only constant in life. One’s ability to adapt to those changes will determine your success…”
Company changes happen – and should be expected – so prepare accordingly. Have processes in place so that when disruptions occur, your response processes don’t suffer. RFP software can provide some added sanity to your sales and marketing teams following changes within a company. The tagging capabilities in enterprise-friendly RFP software ensures that certain policies and content remain separate in some situations while merging them together when appropriate. Tagging helps you reference all documentation back to its correct source – a tool that can provide clarity during company upheaval.
For example, one of our customers, Janrain, was acquired by Akamai Technologies. Before the acquisition, the company implemented RFP software, reducing time spent on RFPs by 30%. Following the acquisition, the RFP software provided stability to the sales team when submitting new proposals. With a solid review and tagging process in place, salespeople didn’t have to spend time combing through massive spreadsheets. More important, they felt confident that answers in the content library had been thoroughly vetted, thus ensuring each RFP contains the most accurate and up-to-date information.
When you centrally manage your RFP data in a content response library, your team can leverage content that promotes message consistency, reduces time spent on content development and approvals, and improves accuracy. And, the more you use it, the more precise the content recommendations will become, and the better it will serve your brand.