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Developing a Process in an Established Business

By Beth Rogness

WITH AN INDUSTRY-LEADING suite of services, an international presence, and 64 consecutive quarters of revenue growth, SPS Commerce is well on its way to becoming that billion-dollar company it hopes to be. It’s amazing to think that at one point, the sales organizations were responsible for handling their own bid/proposal responses. While this process, or lack thereof, seemed to be working, in all reality the company was struggling.

The company was focused on business development. The sales organizations, marketing teams, subject matter experts—they had nothing in place in terms of best practices when it came to answering an RFI/RFQ/RFP request. The old process looked something similar to Graphic 1.

In an already established company, the struggle is real when it comes to developing a new process. This article is based on the experience of creating a bid operations process in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) environment in which SPS Commerce operates, but the information should be applicable to other areas as well. Here are some key takeaways from the first eight months of building a process:

  1. Define your role with your manager and create your objectives as they relate to your company’s growth objectives.
  2. Build relationships with your internal teams and introduce your objectives. (Be humble and let your teams know you are training, learning, etc.)
  3. Jump in and learn what your company currently does to respond to bids/requests and then offer recommendations. (While you should not be expected to take on a project right away, offering your support and building credibility will go a long way.)
  4. Analyze current processes and begin establishing best practices that align with your company’s objectives. Make them into a repeatable process that proves to be effective and continuously analyze to improve.

While you may further develop your process as time goes on, communication is key to starting off on the right foot. Collaborate with marketing and product teams throughout the process. Graphic 2 shows SPS Commerce’s established best practices and bid operations process. There are also a lot of behind-the-scenes processes and tools needed to ensure the project is completed.

You need to make sure that the response is accurate with up-to-date information, the content of your response is tailored to your customers’ needs and objectives, and you have complied with the customers’ requirements. There are design aspects to consider and the organization of the response, as well as proofreading your subject matter experts’ content. The list goes on. As the process continues to develop, you need to continuously keep up with internal communication and relationship building to successfully establish bid operations best practices.

Beth Rogness is an associate sales operations analyst at SPS Commerce. She can be reached at 612-435-9556 or

APMP Journal Volume V Issue 2

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