5 Tips to Reduce RFP Decision Fatigue

It's estimated that the average adult makes 35,000 conscious decisions each day. As responsibility increases, so does the multitude of choices you have to make. All of these decisions add up, leading to something psychologists now call decision fatigue.

Coined by social psychologist Roy F. Baumeister, decision fatigue is the emotional and mental strain resulting from the burden of choices. This type of fatigue leads to risky decision-making and sloppy outcomes.

When given a choice, we all would like to reduce the number of decisions that have to be made daily, especially when it comes to managing and producing polished responses for requests for proposals (RFPs).

RFP Decision Fatigue

No one RFP response, sales proposal or statement of work (SOW) is identical. Each RFP, proposal or SOW comes with major and minor decisions that must be made to produce timely, error-free documents that win business.

The stress of collecting timely responses from other contributors, avoiding left-over details from the prior RFP response, and making sure pricing and products are accurate – all in a short time frame that beats the competition – is what makes RFP responses difficult to systematize into a repeatable process and ultimately leads to decision fatigue.
This blog details five expert tips for better managing the RFP process and reducing decision fatigue that can lead to a sloppy outcome.

5 Tips to Reduce RFP Decision Fatigue

1.  Practice the Touch It Once Rule

The “touch it once” rule suggests that as soon as you touch something, whether it's a piece of mail or a project that needs to be filed, you immediately act on it. This could include completing a task on the first touch or automating a process to reduce the number of times you revisit the issue.

One of the best ways to implement the “touch it once” rule is to create an outline of the content that you’d like to pull together into your RFP response and address each piece of the content outline one at a time, storing the content pieces in an easy-to-retrieve location on your network or other shared file location such as SharePoint.  Then, at the very end of the process, you can copy-and-paste the content pieces together into your final RFP response document.

RFP response software can automate that process.  For example, RFP Response  Builder – which is our RFP response software – enables you to create an automated document outline that allows you to manage the content pieces and then, when you’re ready to assemble the final response document, automatically pulls documents and information from various places within your content library and shared file locations without having to cut and paste or start from scratch. When the outline-driven final document is generated, all the sections of the RFP populate, providing a complete, ordered RFP document. Voilà!

Click to see how an Outline-Driven RFP Document Works.

2. Create a centralized content repository

Whether it’s a sales proposal, statement of work or RFP response, there are content sections you will use again and again, such as a personalized cover page, your value proposition, pricing descriptions, etc. With various versions of similar content, it can be taxing to track and manage the latest version.  At a minimum, you should set up a shared file location where you can store a “library” of content that can be reused.

Technology can help streamline and track the countless tasks that follow the assembly of an RFP response. We suggest you embrace RFP response software to create a central repository for adding, cataloging, and managing content updates. RFP response software (such as RFP Response Builder) also allows the RFP response administrator to automate the content update process, enabling users to submit update requests for missing or incomplete content, making this a must-have weapon for reducing decision fatigue.

3. Use a Familiar Tool to Build & Manage Your RFP

Learning a new tool to create and manage your RFP and its components creates change and decision fatigue for users.  The chance of successful software adoption is likely to be higher when choosing a software tool that most employees are familiar with, like Microsoft Word and Excel.

RFP Response Builder is built to work inside the Microsoft Office 365 suite, enabling you to insert content (from the content library) directly into your Word response documents and add content to your content library from within any Word document.

4. Manage the Entire RFP  

Continuous decision-making is often the result of having to manage several disparate parts of an RFP response project.  As mentioned earlier, an outline of the content that you need to pull together helps.  You’ll also want to assign sections and content for review and updating by the subject matter experts (SMEs), which you can track in your favorite task management software, then follow up with the team via email.

RFP response software can turbocharge the management of the RFP response process.  For example, RFP Response Builder’s Dashboard allows you to view all quote files, proposals, tasks and documents related to the RFP project. Layer on RFP user approvals and content updates and you’ve immediately reduced the stress that typically accompanies a complex project like an RFP response.
Watch this 3-minute video to see how you can manage all components of an RFP from a single dashboard.

5. Let the Software Find the Errors

Significantly reduce errors in your final document by conducting a final document review before it is sent to the customer.  If you use Microsoft Word for your RFP responses, proposals and SOWs, make sure to check for any remaining tracked changes, comments, unfilled variables or – worst of all – remnants from past RFP responses by using Word’s search functions.

Once again, RFP response software can help.  For example, RFP Response Builder automates the error finding process by performing an all-in-one “final check” of several areas that are prone to error, including assigned content reviews that haven’t been completed, along with remaining tracked changes, comments and unfilled variables.

Want to Automate & Reduce Decision Fatigue?

If you spend at least 5 hours a month finding content, cutting/pasting, and reformatting your RFP responses, RFP Response Builder may be the right fit for you. Discover how an automated RFP response software solution can dramatically reduce the time and effort required to respond to RFPs, producing polished, mistake-free response documents that help you win more RFPs in less time, hence increasing your win rate!

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