How To Create A Successful Sales Enablement RFP

 In All Things Productivity, Blog

A request for proposal (RFP) is a common tool used to help you select the vendor whose solution is most attuned to your company’s needs. However, sometimes the RFP process can become overly time-consuming and waste valuable resources – all this before a solution is even implemented!

To help you through the RFP process, we have developed a set of best practices and guidelines. By following these steps you can avoid a time-consuming RFP process and also ensure you choose the right sales enablement solution for your business needs.

Here are 6 key areas a sales enablement RFP should cover.

1. How long does it take the system to deliver results?

The sales enablement space has become flooded with vendors who claim their solution alone will solve your content inefficiencies. However, one thing you need to be clear on is how long it will take the system to become fully operational. Factor in considerations like time to deploy, headcount required to maintain, ease of use and training as you assess time to value.

The trouble with many of the vendors in the sales enablement space is that there are so many steps involved in setting up the new system. Users may have to:

  • Audit all existing content to figure out which materials should be uploaded to new system.
  • Manually upload content to new system on an ongoing basis as new materials are created
  • Schedule user training

Even after these steps, you may still not realize any benefits. If the system is difficult to use, you may not get the adoption rates you had hoped for.

2. How does your content recommendation system work?

Content recommendations have become a key selling point for sales enablement systems. Systems that recommend field-proven content to reps can, in theory, help underperforming reps get up the level of the top performers on your team. However, as you create your RFP, you need to find out exactly how each vendor’s recommendation system works.

Many vendors make big claims about their recommendation system – but you must be wary of tools that rely on rule-based logic. These tools require extensive setup and a rule-based system, that is maintained by a “middle-man” can’t keep up with the production and use of content and activity across the enterprise. In the end, you end up limiting the content your reps can use.

You should look towards tools that leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to provide recommendations based on a range of inputs like deal stage, size, industry, use case, and how the content has been used in the past.

3. Does your analytics system leverage historical data from all enterprise content sources?

Content analytics are a key selling point for sales enablement systems. By providing visibility into what materials are used by reps, companies can see exactly how their messaging works and which materials are being used to close deals. However, one often-overlooked thing to consider with content analytics is their relationship with historical data.

If a vendor makes some big claim about how their content analytics system will accelerate your revenue, you should enquire how historical data and activity impacts the recommendation system. Because if historical data is ignored – like it is in many systems – then you really won’t have any analytics of use until about a year after the system has been rolled out. Instead, you should look towards systems that leverage historical data from all enterprise sources like CRM opportunities and metadata from cloud storage to provide incredibly valuable content analytics and recommendations from day 1.

4. How much maintenance is required in the system?

Within the sales enablement space, there are many solutions that are simply repackaged and re-marketed content management solutions. Essentially, these solutions are just another place to put your content. To set up and maintain these systems you will fist have to audit your content to decide which materials to upload, then you will have to manually upload your content to the new system. Then, you might have to create tags and categories to add some structure to your new system. As new materials are created, you will have to continue on this process.

5. How can we scale our content library?

Scaling your content library will test many of the solutions in this space. If you need to manually upload and tag all content that can be troublesome as your library inevitably expands. If you are using auto-update live doc functionality, you might need to build a lot of rule-based logic to support it – which is also a major time suck. It is not unusual for enterprise sales content library to scale past 10,000 pieces of content. Imagine the work involved in auto-updating all these pieces or organizing them with tags etc.

6. Does your solution integrate with all enterprise content repositories?

“Content Sprawl” is an inevitability in business today as the volume of enterprise content continues to grow exponentially. In other words, enterprise content is stored across a range of locations like cloud storage, file servers, CRM systems, enablement systems, and even email. The leading enablement solutions available today integrate with all content repositories – essentially acting as an intelligence layer to provide reps with access to and analytics on all enterprise content regardless of where it is stored.

 

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