There are market markets. Then there are niche categories of niche markets. IBA, a medical device producer based in Belgium, is in one of those niches. That’s why these people face such tough competition for every one of their 30, on average, annual request for proposal (RFP) responses or tender bids.
IBA global director of sales support and tender management, Grégory Saive, and his team review every document released in relation to IBA’s proton therapy technologies. Due to the sensitive nature of the technology—it’s at the forefront of cancer treatment innovation—and the level of investment required to build plus furnish a proton therapy suite, RFPs and tenders are understandably complex. Hundreds and sometimes thousands of webpages of technical, legal, and medical information are included in responses and bids. Several subject matter experts must consider in to ensure accuracy plus mitigate risk.
Three years ago, Grégory overtook a team of local product managers and soft specialists participating in the business development of Proteus® proton therapy technologies. At the time, the team experienced multiple challenges:
- Even though team members carried the title of “specialist, ” the monotony of repetitive bid and reaction tasks relegated them to sensation more like “assistants”
- Manual processes took up a lot of time and had to be repeated for each bid or response
- Bids and reactions did not accurately represent the quality the company or the team desired to portray when representing this type of high-end brand in aggressive evaluation processes
- Content was scattered, siloed, and difficult to keep current
When Grégory took over, he committed to transforming the team’s response procedures while promising not to raise headcount. In order to fulfill his commitment, Grégory and his team knew that they needed an instrument that could be the foundation for the team’s transformation. Given the nature associated with his work, he began the process by running a tender. “We are tender specialists, and so i found it strange that will my team would select a tool based on a whim. So we created a full sensitive for RFPIO and some of its competitors, ” Grégory stated.
IBA offered the particular tender to four pre-selected solution providers. During the demo process, RFPIO’s search features stood out as a defined competitive differentiator. Grégory stated, “I was impressed by how easy it was to label answers with associated keywords, search for those keyword tags, and view search results using a score index to see the questions that are the most recent and most utilized at the top. ”
In the past, when Grégory desired to find the proper wording for an answer—wording that he knew existed but he could not precisely recall its location—he needed to search through multiple documents series by line until he found it. With the lookup functionality he witnessed within the demo, he realized that he or she wouldn’t have to conduct individuals manual searches ever again.
For Grégory, reaction management software was a tool. By itself, it could not transform their team or response procedures. Using response management software as the foundation, he sought to attain three goals that he thought would result in a successful modification.
Goal #1: Improve Quality
From the day Grégory overtook his team, his goal was not primarily to increase effectiveness. His goal was to enhance bid and response quality. “We do not win the deal with a tender, yet we can definitely lose the deal because of a tender, ” he said.
With such a highly specific solution, the market and possibilities are extremely limited. His team responds to an average thirty tenders or RFPs every year because there are only that many true opportunities that become available on a global scale.
Increasing efficiency so his team could produce a lot more responses or bids might do nothing for IBA’s bottom line. They had to improve the quality of their own bids and responses to improve the win percentage associated with existing opportunities. And IBA is not alone in its desire to re-invest time saved in to improving bids. In fact , 84% of companies with designated RFP software agree they have more time to personalize plans for specific use situations. *
Following a year of using RFPIO, IBA increased their win rate for Grégory’s business unit to 80%.
“With RFPIO, I would say we now have increased our win rate by 15%. ”
He’s quick to point out that RFPIO isn’t the only reason for this uptick. It’s also due to how he’s spent the time saved by using the tool. Simply by reducing time spent on looking documents and copy plus pasting answers, the team has more time to strategize about how exactly to compose the best solutions.
“RFPIO allows the team to spend more time on significant tasks… either training, reviewing answers, or improving quality. That’s where I’ve spent most of my time kept since the beginning. ”
Goal #2: Improve Content Management
Prior to applying RFPIO, Grégory and tender specialists had to browse hundreds of documents during the bid process. When they found something that was remotely close, then they copy and pasted it. They can not spend the time essential to fully think it through and make sure it was the contextually sound answer because they had to move on.
That presented a problem with regard to answers that had not been used in awhile. According to a Deloitte article called The new knowledge management, “If searching will be difficult and the results are not highly valued, workers eliminate trust in knowledge systems. ”
With RFPIO, the team now queries the Answer Library for the best answer and trusts the results based on the content score. When they find an answer, they can furthermore see when and how frequently that answer was used. If the answer is 2 yrs old, for example , then it is probably out of date because the product has evolved. The team sees that the answer needs to be reviewed by a product manager or various other specialist, depending on the context, and may assign and track that will review through RFPIO.
But even that will process will continue to improve. Because Grégory’s team concentrates only on proton treatment business, they can work in a single Answer Library. They are implementing processes to proactively review answers—especially long answers that are used regularly—with experts every six months. So in future searches, fewer Q & A pairs will be outdated and require detailed evaluation during a bid in-flight.
In the case of content that requires updating more often, Grégory expectations to focus the review process even more. “Content relating to funding options—stuff that we don’t use often or that’s actually specific to a country or prospect—usually needs 50% or even more changes. Maybe in 5 years, we tag that content with special comments saying it needs to be automatically reviewed by financial experts from IBA. ”
While content management has improved, IBA continues to determine new ways to streamline their own review processes to identify more time that can be spent on improving bid quality.
Objective #3: Enable Better Education
Grégory guaranteed management that in exchange with regard to investing in a response management device such as RFPIO, he would not add headcount. One of the major reasons he’s been able to maintain his promise is because of the courses advantages offered by RFPIO.
IBA is not on your own in its focus on training and maintaining headcount. 63% associated with proposal teams plan to increase team training on RFP response, while only 37% plan to hire more staff . *
Again, it isn’t really just the tool. As Grégory said, “It’s a great tool, but it’s not a marvelous tool. ” While the RFPIO Answer Library helps improve the answer process, it also gives time to Grégory and his team members to think and customize their answers.
Pertaining to Grégory, he can take the time to train team members on how to answer, or what makes a good answer to a particular question. For his team, it’s the difference between plowing through the bid process feeling like an “assistant” or “generalist” and approaching each query as a “specialist” who can deliberate on differentiating IBA through competitors.
Even though he is not adding headcount, transition on Grégory’s team does occur due to shifts some employees take in one department to another. In such cases, onboarding is much faster with RFPIO in place. “Again, the relieve with which we are able to search the solution Library has improved the particular onboarding process. ” When new recruits don’t have to consider the time to familiarize themselves with what the content is and where answers might be located, they can jump right into identifying the ideal answers through search.
So far, IBA has used RFPIO only for Proteus®. Later on, they hope to expand their particular Answer Library and Series to include partner software and hardware that can make a alternative even better. This will require a tradition change around collaboration, but it is all part of Grégory’s extensive plan to transform the group. IBA is also in the process of bringing its OneDrive integration online, which will expand their particular Answer Library with marketing and advertising videos, documents, and other content.
As for advice on how to get the most out of RFPIO, Grégory recommends having somebody in charge of response management who can drive processes and create goals. Setting ground rules plus expectations for management in addition to team members is essential to success.
The device may not be magical, but it gives Grégory and his team period and opportunity to insert magic into their answers to improve the standard of their bids and reactions.
“I cannot really measure the embrace quality in terms of answers, yet I can certainly measure the raise of quality in my team. ”
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The article IBA improved win rate by 15% by improving response plus bid quality appeared first on RFPIO .