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10
Aug

What is RFP Automation?

We can see automation in just about every aspect of life now, impacting individuals and big business. We automate payments for monthly bills, automate million-dollar marketing campaigns, and even automate micro-habits like dispensing air freshener into our living rooms. Automation is here to stay. It is no wonder that the business development-RFP world has adopted RFP automation too.

A Micro-Poll: Who’s Interested?

We did a recent micro-poll on LinkedIn to gauge interest on emerging technology in proposal management. Unsurprisingly, RFP automation is a strong area of interest for proposal professionals – 67 percent of respondents were most interested in proposal automation. We will guess that it is probably an area of interest for you too, and rightfully so.

RFP Automation Defined and Its Benefits

It’s great that you’re interested in this growing area of emerging technology in business development. RFP automation is changing the nature of how proposal professionals do business and you ought to be the first in line to reap the benefits. RFP automation (and/or proposal automation) involves a blend of tools, techniques, and technologies that streamline the RFP response process.

Often, RFP management software will combine each of these components into a single tool to turn mundane tasks into a quicker, collaborative process with fewer steps. RFP automation starts at the beginning of your RFP response process with opportunity analysis and does not end until the proposal is finished.

We’ll show you how it works for you down below, but before you read ahead, here is a look at the benefits to RFP automation:

    1. Save Time with Greater Efficiency. RFP automation saves time! On average, response to a government request for proposal will take anywhere from 20 to 50 hours in total or per team member depending on the nature of the RFP. Sometimes the process can take even longer if there are inexperienced contributors on the team or poor capture management was conducted. RFP automation eliminates repetitive tasks like updating boiler plate content and reduces the chance of mistakes during complex processes.
    2. Collaborate Better. Less tasks and streamlined processes often result in less need for unnecessary points of collaboration between team members. RFP automation allows proposal professionals to create a workflow that is customized to the way they do business, which helps contributors have greater trust in the process. Team collaboration can focus on proposal development and decision gates instead of micromanagement or overriding the work of fellow team members.
    3. Increase Compliance. Automated processes allow workflow to be replicated across teams. Replicated processes ensure that proposal responses are compliant with client requirements and company standards, even when external stakeholders are contributors. RFP automation increases the probability of compliance for every proposal.
    4. Improve Measurement and Data Analysis. RFP automation requires the use of proposal management software, and such software will capture data that would be lost in manual proposal processes. The benefit of technology is that data is captured and available for analysis after every action. Use the data to measure performance, track team productivity, evaluate lessons learned, and analyze win probability for future proposal submissions. Better understanding of your processes is almost guaranteed to increase your win rates.

How Does RFP Automation Work for You?

You can probably imagine automation as a process – robots, spinning cogs, and the opening sequence to your favorite sci-fi movie (probably iRobot). Yes! You have a vivid imagination. Yet RFP automation is simpler than that, we are sad to report.

At least, it will be for you since you will be using a SaaS tool to ease adoption of automated workflows. In that case, we’ll help explain things in non-technical terms. RFP automation involves the following:

Adoption of Workflow.

RFP automation is not a one-size-fits all process. It is customizable to your business processes and will enable adoption of a faster workflow. For instance, if your proposal team is privier to the Shipley Proposal Process, RFP automation will streamline that process as you begin to adopt the workflow within your RFP response tool. Your team can take advantage of systems that support your custom needs, so that adoption of system workflow coincides with the proposal process of your organization.

Auto-filled Information.

The idea behind RFP automation is that you and your team will not have to work as hard at task assignment and menial work. Instead you can leverage features that auto-fill information into the proposal based on past performance or logged data. Dynamic features will populate client-specific, company-specific information, and even graphics into your proposal based on user-led prompts.

Artificial Intelligence.

Even more exciting than automation is that it works together with artificial intelligence and natural language processing to provide an even more personalized experience for proposal teams. Your proposal management software should leverage AI to learn user behavior. Why should you care? It makes the RFP response process even easier. AI begins to do the work for you. For example, Zbizlink’s AI features provide content recommendations for new technical requirements.

Why You Need RFP Automation?

When your proposal process is strategic, measurable, and streamlined, you have a greater chance of winning more proposals. RFP automation helps you increase productivity and the best proposal management software provides automation to help you scale your responses to a greater output. Use RFP automation to increase your proposal conversion rate by 50% and to, very simply, make your life with proposals a bit smoother.

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