RFPs and Digital Collaboration Platforms
Three Ways To Take Advantage Of The Tools Already At Your Disposal For RFPs
Let’s take a second and imagine what would have happened if a pandemic of this magnitude hit us ten years ago. Team meetings would exist only on conference calls via the telephone. Sharing of documents would still happen, although the postal service would likely be even busier than they already are and same-day delivery services would probably cost as much as a bottle of hand sanitizer did in March 2020. A lot has changed over the last decade, especially when you consider how we all work.
For starters, our digital world has progressed to a point where printer paper purchasing is practically non-existent for many of our businesses. Collaborative platforms of all varieties cater to video conferencing, screen sharing, task lists, messaging (with the ability to share relatable memes) and more. For these reasons, among others, adapting our businesses to the work-from-home environments thrust upon us from the coronavirus has been a relatively easy adjustment — at least easier than it would have been in 2010. So, how can you take those same tools you recently implemented and repurpose them to realize more revenue growth for your business? One answer is government sector procurement.
Let’s begin by discussing government entities — a large source of RFPs. As the co-founder of a business that responds to thousands of these documents, I know all too well that many of these entities still lag far behind in terms of digital application adoption. But the good news is that this year I have seen more and more local and state entities adopting online registration systems to manage their RFP processes.
This means vendors have to register within designated systems in order to view, download and ultimately respond to posted RFPs. This has also made it easier for vendors to participate in pre-proposal meetings (for instance Q&A sessions) and allowed virtual access as opposed to having to meet in person.
As can be seen, because of the pandemic, the process has become more streamlined than ever before. Here are three ways to take advantage of available digital collaboration platforms your business may already use to further streamline the RFP response processes:
1. Instant Messaging Tools
Whether your team is across the country or the world, instant messaging tools have changed the way we communicate about at-hand tasks. These platforms can help streamline communication about a single RFP project response, especially considering many of the more robust tools within the platforms allow for the ability to quickly share files like large PDFs.
Furthermore, a simple search option available within most of the leading platforms allows any member of that project channel to conduct a keyword search and find previously shared information. These platforms eliminate the hassle of sifting through long email trains (and the fluff in between) to find information specific to that RFP project. And, when time is of the essence to meet any tight RFP deadline, it’s easier to find the document or person you need to ensure your response continues moving forward.
2. Cloud Storage and Synchronization
In RFPs, many questions can repeat themselves from one RFP to another. Oftentimes, they will require the same documents, ask similar questions about your business or mandate references regarding previously completed work. This is why I recommend utilizing cloud-based document sharing when responding to RFPs. No longer do we need to search the office file cabinets when we have the ability to create shareable online libraries of information.
Simply keep your RFP and proposal files organized with a clean naming system. Then, a quick search will return similar response answers for you to input into the new proposal. When kept orderly, your previous answers can save tons of time, and your employees will thank you for not asking them to answer the same questions over and over again.
3. Task Management Platforms
Similar to a checklist, adapting a workflow platform to your RFP response will help ensure that when a project task is created for an employee, they know what it is they need to do, when it is due by and which pieces of information or documentation will assist them in its completion.
As many of us already have long lists of daily tasks to complete, assigning tasks directly to the project workflow will keep your proposal moving forward with clear expectations for each employee. Streamlining project tasks via a digital workflow platform will help eliminate delays and keep your RFP response on track to be totally compliant.
While these are not revolutionary pieces of technology, I am hoping for you to utilize them in revolutionary ways. Digital tools like instant messaging systems, cloud networks and workflow platforms almost seem tailor-made for responding to RFPs.
By adopting these tools into your response protocols, your business will find that the total RFP response time will decrease while the number of RFPs you respond to increases, allowing your business the opportunity to win more bids. With government sector procurement going digital, now is a great time to start. No investment is required; you most likely already have all of the digital tools you need.
Forbes Article Link: Three Ways To Take Advantage Of The Tools Already At Your Disposal For RFPs