Three Typical RFP Response Workflows

The easiest way to gain a better understanding of when and how to use the Excel and Word tools in RFP Response Builder is by discussing three typical RFP response workflows:

  1. Simple Response – responding within the actual RFP response document with no collaboration needed.
  2. Simple Collaborative Response – responding within the actual RFP response document with the help of other members of your team.
  3. Large/Complex Response – responding within separate documents that are auto-assembled into a final response document with the help of other members of your team.

There are of course more types of response workflows than these; many responses fall between these categories.   Please see our Overview of RFP Response Builder Tools to gain more familiarity with the toolset contained within RFP Response Builder.
 

Simple RFP Response

Simple RFP responses do not require a separate response document; you are able to respond right within the original RFP.  Most of the content you need will be available in the Content Library and you don’t have PDFs or graphics that you need to include.  You also are answering the questions yourself and don’t need help from other team members.  These kinds of responses are generally done exclusively in the Word Tool.

Here are the general steps for a simple RFP response:

  1. In Word, save the document to the Dashboard by going to Files/Docs >> Auto-name/save this file
    • New Opportunity - Choose to associate the document with a new opportunity and fill in the requested data (including customer name, project name, etc.), or…
    • Existing Opportunity - Choose to associate the document with an existing opportunity
  2. Add content from the Library as needed – see Finding/Inserting Content from the Library
  3. You may also want to:

More Information:

Simple Collaborative RFP Response

Simple Collaborative RFP responses do not require a separate response document; you are able to respond right within the original RFP.  Most of the content you need will be available in the Content Library and you don’t have PDFs or graphics that you need to include.  You need help from other members of your team in order to answer some sections of the RFP.  These kinds of responses are generally done exclusively in the Word Tool.

Here are the general steps for a simple collaborative RFP response:

  1. In Word, save the document to the Dashboard by going to Files/Docs >> Auto-name/save this file
    • New Opportunity - Choose to associate the document with a new opportunity and fill in the requested data (including customer name, project name, etc.), or…
    • Existing Opportunity - Choose to associate the document with an existing opportunity
  2. Add content from the Library as needed – see Finding/Inserting Content from the Library
  3. Assign sections of the RFP response to team members.  This is also called “marking content for review”.  Team members will then need to review the assigned content.
  4. You may also want to:

More Information:

Large/Complex RFP Response

Large/Complex RFP responses can require a separate response document or they may allow responses within the original RFP.  They will necessitate a lot of additional content including Library content, PDFs, and graphics, and you probably need help from multiple members of your team in order to answer sections of the RFP.

Large/complex RFP responses may need to be broken down into several sub-documents which is done in the Excel Tool using an outline-driven approach where the content components are auto-assembled into a final response document.

Here are some reasons to use an outline-driven response using the Excel Tool:

  • You don’t have co-authoring capabilities (as is available using SharePoint Online).  Shredding the RFP response into sub-documents allows multiple people to work on the RFP response at the same time since they’re accessing the sub-documents rather than attempting to access a single document at the same time.
  • You need to incorporate PDFs, graphics or content from other documents.  The outline-driven RFP response allows you to incorporate all kinds of files and content and then auto-assembles them into one final RFP response document.  There’s no need to manually cut and paste them together!
  • You do a similar RFP response over and over again.  If your RFP responses are very similar to each other and you want to have a “template” that you can just tweak and be done, you should use the outline-driven Excel tool.    
  • You have different RFP responses for different verticals.  The RFP Builder Excel tool makes it painless to build templates that can be used for multiple industries. 
  • You need to generate Proposals, SOWs, and other documents.  RFP Response Builder's outline-driven approach makes it easy to generate proposals, statements of work and other documents.  You can create outline templates that allow users to pick and choose the content they want to include in their outputs.

Here are the general steps for a large/complex RFP response:

  1. Open a new Quote file in the Excel Tool.  See Creating the RFP Response Quote and Project (Excel).
  2. Complete the customer and project information on the Base Info Tab.
  3. Save the Quote File, at which point you will be prompted to associate the Quote File with a new or existing opportunity.
  4. Shred or section the RFP response into sub-documents
  5. Assign sections of the RFP response to others.  You may want to assign sections of the RFP response to team members (Excel).  This is also called “marking content for review”, and it allows you to track review assignments via the Dashboard and send reminders to reviewers.  If you’ve broken down the RFP response into sub-documents, then you’ll want to assign content within those sub-documents. Team members will then need to review the assigned content.
  6. Notify team members of the document files they need to edit/review.  This provides links to the document files and is not the same as marking content for review within the document files.  See Email Doc Links to Others in Excel
  7. Select and insert the Doc Template for your response into the outline to set the cover page, headers/footers, formatting and initial content for the RFP response document.
  8. Add other content to the outline including PDFs, doc files and images.  See Add Content to the Outline (Excel).
  9. Generate the RFP response document when you are ready to collate and assemble all the pieces together from your outline, then finalize the response document to check for any unreplaced variables, incomplete sections marked for review, remaining comments, and any tracked changes that have not been accepted/rejected.

More Information: