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Financial services firms: automate more than your proposal responses

By Ryan Halliday, Project Manager

I recently attended the Professional Association for Investment Communications Resources (PAICR)’s annual RFP Symposium. Though sales and proposal teams across industries share many common pain points, this event highlighted some of the concerns unique to the financial services market. Here are a few of the topics that came up repeatedly:

Online RFPS

Rather than sending out files for RFPS, many organizations are providing vendors with a link and a password to access questions through systems like Ariba. While Qvidian users can currently copy questions from online RFPS to the content library to quickly track down relevant answers, it’s no surprise that clients used to creating automated responses balk at having to revert to more manual processes to complete online RFPS.

The increasing volume of online RFPs is definitely on our radar. These are growing quickly, just as Excel-based RFPs did. Both online and Excel-based RFPs point to a trend of buyers being more analytical in their evaluation and decision-making processes. This puts pressure on the seller’s organization to be ready to respond quickly, and, many times, more concisely. Our product team is exploring online response from multiple angles, including potential integrations to deliver the ease and convenience our customers want.

Content management to support compliance requirements

Scrutiny on financial services organizations has intensified over the last few decades and shows no signs of letting up. Strict compliance regulations about language, disclaimers, and information requiring regular updates have many RFP teams trying to create workflows that provide audit trails to help demonstrate compliance. Tracking who wrote, edited, and reviewed content—and when they made changes—can offer critical documentation for an SEC compliance audit.

Automating due diligence questionnaires and fund fact sheets

While at Qvidian we talk mainly about proposal automation, most financial services firms produce many other documents that could easily be automated. Due diligence questionnaires, for example. Or fund fact sheets. In both cases, companies answer the same questions repeatedly—and the answers go through the same content review process as much of the information used to create proposals.

But the team responsible for generating those documents rarely knows someone else in the business has a tool that could make their lives easier. RFP teams, you can help your colleagues in marketing and other groups boost efficiency and accuracy. Share your resources and you could have an even bigger impact on the company’s bottom line.

Flexibility that accommodates complexity    

Proposal managers regularly say to me, “We’re so unique in how we respond there’s no way we could automate.” Yes, automation has its limits. But there are many repetitive tasks and processes these companies COULD automate that they haven’t.

Like all those DDQs you’re responding to every quarter.

Financial services folks—share your unique challenges in the comments below.

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