Designing for Rapid Responses: Getting Pricing to Clients Faster

Our goal was to build a new RFP (Request for Proposal) process that enabled our internal staff to match the project to the right engineer, faster and at a better margin. 

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Our new RFP process quickly gathers multiple bids from our network of community partners. Project Managers can look at all the information in a central place helping them to select the best partner for the job. 

_ Quick Context

I arrived at Design Everest to help scale our digital solutions. One of the first issues I saw was in how the current RFP process took place. Closely partnering with Product and Engineering, we rebuild the experience in a new web application allowing us to completely reinvent how Design Everest engages with the supply side of the marketplace; receiving proposals quicker in turn helping improve our close rate. 

Role: Lead Product Designer + Lead Project Manager

Timeline: Fall 2022

_ The Problem: 

Timeframe for RFP response does not match consumer expectations.

Every day, Project Managers at Design Everest send out RFPs to our community of architecture and engineering professionals (Community Partners). These RFPs play a crucial role in accurately pricing projects and are vital to the success of Design Everest. Our close rate is directly impacted by how quickly we can price projects. 

When I joined our close rate was 15%, half the industry average of 30%.

I identified this as a key metric to improve. Working with Sales + Marketing we developed an assumption that if we are able to provide our potential customer a price faster we could improve our close rate by an additional 5-7%.

_ Setting Key Goals

In addition to improving the close rate, what can this project unlock? 

With such a cross-functional team involved in driving this project forward, I believed that to get everyone on the same page we needed to define early on what the project goals would be. This project had the potential to shift how Design Everest engaged with both sides of our marketplace ecosystem, and the impacts could be enormous if the correct opportunities were identified. 

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Project Goals

How can we get accurate Quotes to Customers Faster?

Key Measure of Success

Increase Speed to Quote

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How can we get more Community Partners to bid on projects?

Increase bids received per RFP

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How can we encourage responsible competition between partners?

Increase Project Margins

_ Research

How is the existing Bidding and RFP process done?

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Each Project Manager has their own process.

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Long Email Threads.

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Project Managers reach out to partners they know already.

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Partners don’t have the information to make an accurate bid.

Project Managers have their own templates and process for asking for bids. The lack of standardization is confusing for Partners.

The back and forth over email takes longer and as a result the average timeframe to receive a quote is 96 hours.

If it's not broken right? There is no incentive to use new partners on our platform. Project Managers only reach out to the partners they are familiar with.

Often clients leave out key pieces of information that affect the price of a project. These are uncovered later on and no one is happy about it.

Q: What do our we want to see from a new Bidding and RFP process?

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A: An Automated, Consistent, and Transparent experience*

* Learnings from our research phase. I developed a research plan working closely with Product, and held 8 one-on-one interviews with Engineers and Architects on our platform who have previously participated in the RFP + Bidding process. 

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Selecting a Marketplace Typology

I began to brainstorm about the structure of how we would be requesting and accepting bids - what type of marketplace did we want to design? Considering previously completed persona studies, our existing information architecture setup, and results from our interviews we narrowed it down to two options: Post-a-need (filtered emails) and Browse (a job board). Taking it back to our partners we learned they preferred Post-a-need, and felt it would be more personalized and specific to them. 

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Quick Wireframes for Quick Buy-in

I was managing a large cross-functional stakeholder group, in order to quickly move early concepts I quickly wireframed and conceptualized quickly so we could move into high-fidelity designs will a full signoff and stakeholders feeling like there would be no suprises. 

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_Designs

Internal Project Managers can now send bid requests directly from our platform - no more long email threads

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It's faster than ever to send requests to multiple partners.

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We can compare received bids and instantly select partners.

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_ Results

This new RFP tool was introduced and quickly became the standard way to send and receive RFPs company-wide. Additionally taking a look back at our previous goals, I was pleased to see positive results. 

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Project Goals

How can we get accurate Quotes to Customers Faster?

Key Measure of Success

Increase Speed to Quote

Result

Bid response time decreased by 375%, from 96hrs to 36hrs

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How can we get more Community Partners to bid on projects?

Increase bids received per RFP

Number of bids received increased 2X per project

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How can we encourage responsible competition between partners?

Increase Project Margins

Average Project Margins improved by 8%

Our initial assumption that we could also improve our close rate also proved to be true. Initial assumptions estimated an improvement of 5-7%. The next full quarter after this project's implementation company-wide we saw our close rate increase 8%. On an annual basis, this represents a companywide revenue increase of 1.2M dollars.

More Projects

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Lets build great products together!

Thanks for stopping by, contact me at: Saitelbachj@gmail.com 

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