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Creating Consistency in Answering RFPs

In this weekly series, we’re going in depth on the reasons you should take RFPs seriously in 2021. Last week, we started with the high impact of RFPs on your SMEs’ time. This week, we’re discussing consistency in answering RFPs.

Are you being consistent in how you answer RFPs?

Here’s an all too common scenario:

An RFP comes into the office later than you would really like it to. The deadline is in a week. Tough but doable if the entire team can work on the response.

Unfortunately, when the legal compliance questions are sent to the legal team, the most senior team member happens to be away. They are the one who knows the answers like the back of their hand. With the deadline looming, the legal team will need to answer rapidly without their assistance.

With the leading subject matter expert (SME) away and no clear way to find out how the question may have been answered before, the results are inevitably mixed. Inconsistent at best, and at worst? Wrong.

It’s not the legal team’s fault. In fact, it could happen to any team, any time. The problem is access to SMEs, their previous answers, and a unified method of responding.

The more often you answer an RFP, the more risk you’re taking on if you’re not able to commit to a consistent knowledge library that is easily managed and up to date. Being serious about your responses means that you’re serious about your knowledge base.

As the key to 80% of your response are the answers, you need to make sure you’re handling them in the right way. Not only should you have a single source of information for the company, but it should be easily reviewed and accessed by the entire bid team.

Conquering this problem

Next steps include automating your response process so that you can pull the answers from your knowledge base directly into your RFPs without needing to worry if they’re going to be consistent across many RFP responses and questionnaires.

Using a solution like Avnio RFx would enable you to keep your answers current, but also automatically insert the answers deemed most appropriate by natural language processing and artificial intelligence to match questions with the click of a button.

Not only that, but by shredding through old RFP responses, you’ll be able to pull out the answers you’ve used before and use them again. This automatic process ensures that your company is keeping up with the demand for RFP responses. You’re also using consistent, accurate information for answers.

With a system like this in place, you need to make sure that your subject matter experts are regularly reviewing the answers in the knowledge base. The nature of the answer will change how often it should be reviewed.

Tackling a problem like the knowledge base is one more step down the road to conquering your RFP process. Don’t rely on faulty human memory, or even a single SME or team to answer your RFPs.

It’s time to automate!

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