If you’re reading this, then you have already contemplated why you need a request for offer (RFP) response process. Something hasn’t been going right. Too much time being spent on responding? Poor quality proposals? Lack of wins? Or maybe you are a new proposal manager, or even you’re trying to provide proposal manager-level leadership as a product sales or marketing manager. The thing is that now you know why you need an RFP reaction process, so where do you get started?
I’m likely to lay it all out for a person, but first…
How do you respond to an RFP?
Depending on your own industry, an RFP might contain several hundred questions and ask you to gather dozens of documents, certificates, and other articles that validates your product as a solution to the issuer’s problem. You’ll have to create a response that addresses the questions and content requirements, which may require you to reach out to multiple people in your organization for help. Oh, and of course there’s a deadline. And it’s never far enough in the future that you can feel comfortable about hitting it.
Your response will be reviewed and in comparison to responses from your competitors. The standard of your response will evaluate if or not your organization moves forward in the sales process. As many an RFP pro can attest , you can’t win a offer solely on the basis of an RFP, but you can certainly lose one particular.
RFPs can be painful without a process. Analyzing what’s required, searching for articles, tracking down subject matter experts (SMEs) to help, and composing a high-quality suggestion takes period, most of which will be wasted if you take an ad-hoc approach. Your process does not have to be extensive, but it does have to can be found.
What is a good RFP response process?
An RFP reaction process is an efficient work flow that clarifies roles, obligations, and timelines to help an organization meet the issuer’s deadline. An excellent RFP response process is definitely practiced by an entire team. RFP contributors come together to build the process, and they follow it regularly.
When to produce an RFP response process
I handled on some scenarios within the opening paragraph, but here are some more red flags that might suggest you need to create an RFP response process:
- A new suggestion manager is taking over the procedure. Whether they are taking over an existing process or even implementing one for the first time, this is an excellent opportunity for a proposal manager to make an early influence.
- The existing “process” just isn’t functioning. This can vary from being tired of responding to RFPs in an ad-hoc fashion, to recognizing the current proposal process is broken or are not able to scale, to realizing that AI-enabled software help is accessible and it’s time to carry out.
- Joining organizations with separate RFP response processes. Rare is the occasion whenever two companies come together plus proceed in lockstep via their first RFP as a merged entity. If you’re going to try to cherry pick the most of both processes, then you might as well scrape the lot and build anew. The good news is that your combined experience will speed up decision-making.
- New markets or new products. What may have worked in the past with familiar markets and established products may fall flat with audiences that don’t identify your company or product. It is a prime opportunity to get back to basics and modernize a process that may have grown stale anyway.
Set objectives for your RFP response procedure
Start by identifying what you want to achieve. Only after that can you draw a blueprint that you can follow to get generally there. I recommend including these 3 objectives in your initial goal-setting:
- Decrease response time: The pain of a lot of time spent on responding is likely exactly what got you here in the first place. Drop this metric in as one of your primary guns for success. If you do it correct, you can decrease response time by up to 40% or even more. The right process will make a person more nimble.
- Improve response high quality: Some, if not all, of that time a person save with a new RFP reaction process can be re-invested in your responses. Instead of scrambling to find answers or begging intended for reviews, you’re spending time customizing a proposal to better position your solution for that win.
- Increase shortlist rate: This will take a few responses before you see improvements. More shortlists means that you’ re receiving greater thought. Eventually, an uptick in this metric will correlate to an uptick in win prices, too.
Further out, you can look at targets for win rate, content development, and increasing the number of RFPs you respond to every year.
12 RFP process steps for efficient RFP responses
Start with this RFP procedure checklist. Plan on at least per month of work to get the process going. The status and volume of your existing articles will be the major determining aspect in how quickly you’ll notice results.
- Identify key stakeholders: Who are they will? What is their contribution? What exactly is their role (e. gary the gadget guy. proposal development/management, subject matter expertise, strategy, review, etc . )?
- Determine the average timeline. Government RFPs tend to have lengthier lead times but more requirements. Private sector RFPs are generally quicker but may not be as complex. Knowing this will help you construct your reaction calendar. For example , if you have an average of two weeks then reviews won’t be extensive, or you may have to respond with a generic offer instead of a custom version.
- Identify other metrics that will determine whether or not you pursue the opportunity.
- RETURN ON INVESTMENT: Is it worth committing resources to the effort?
- Proper positioning: Will be your solution truly the right fit for the issuer’s problem?
- Pricing: Does the approximated budget align with your prices?
- Current relationships: If you’re an unknown entity, then you have a steeper hill to ascend to get shortlisted.
- Locate content and evaluate how easy or even difficult it will be to access it. Dollars to donuts that this will be your biggest headache.
- Select the optimal stations for collaboration. Email? Slack? Teams? You will need to include all of your recognized stakeholders. Then you’ll have to create a strategy of how to collaborate. Include everyone in everything (and risk earlier onset of project fatigue)? Customize communications for every activity item (and add a big amount of work to the project business lead while risking losing touch with some stakeholders)? Quick suggestion: Break away from a linear process; people can work upon multiple pieces simultaneously.
- Get buy-in from everyone. For a process to be effective, it needs to be followed. Bring in executive sponsors from the get-go, and begin selling efficiency benefits in order to SMEs pronto. Relationship building within your organization will be of similar importance as the business development relationships your salespeople are augmenting.
- Think about whether software can help. Software helps you possess a clearly defined process. Software itself enforces the process, with the help of the administrator. It also centralizes content, makes it searchable, and automates part of the response process, all of which will simplify creating the process in the first place.
- In the event you hire a proposal supervisor? This is a professional role that brings worth to the RFP process. It is a combination of project management, proposal development, and relationship-building expertise earned from extensive reaction experience. Otherwise, someone will probably have to multi-task with their other responsibilities to lead the RFP response.
A template: The ideal RFP response process flowchart
As soon as you have got your ducks in a line, you can go about building your own proposal process in the flowchart below.
8 essential RFP process steps:
- Meet the criteria RFP: Put a go/no-go evaluation at the start of the RFP response process. Sales will be the loudest tone of voice, but proposal teams, SMEs, and executive sponsors will have to weigh in to evaluate danger, timing, and strategic match.
- Kick-off project: Supply clarity and accountability to the full response management team, including strategic objectives that everyone can work toward.
- 1st response: Make an initial reaction pass based on reusable content. This step is much faster with RFP software.
- 2nd response: Tap into resources for brand spanking new questions, and assign segments that require customization to particular SMEs.
- Review & revise: Conduct internal reviews to ensure a high-quality suggestion. Link review requests in order to specific purposes (i. e., Are strategic objectives met? Are responses accurate plus high quality? Did we fully answer the question? )
- Submit: Deliver polished RFP with reviewed supporting components. Follow up to confirm receipt. Maintain internal stakeholders abreast of improvement.
- Conserve & audit: Save finalized responses inside a centralized location and commit to regular content audits.
- Post-mortem: Winning doesn’t often mean content was ideal. Losing doesn’t mean it had been a bad response. Evaluate exactly what worked and what didn’t.
Strengthen your RFP response process along with RFP software
I touched on some of the benefits in the above checklist. But there is a lot more than management of process and content. Integration with other applications in your sales tech collection, the ability to work from custom made response templates, Auto Respond functionality, and streamlined collaboration are just some of the highlights.
The happiest teams we know find that RFPIO features make it easier to stick to a consistent RFP response process. Visualize being able to assign reviewers sequentially to ensure the proposal is polished with the highest quality responses for every section. You can do it from a single interface, communicate with responsible SMEs, and establish clear timing of every task for everyone to see.
You are able to certainly respond to RFPs with out software, assuming you have a solid approach that hums along without any inefficiencies. But if you would like to go from moving the hook to burying it, then combine a strong process along with RFP response software.
Still not sure where to start? Demos are always great launching pads. Plan one for you personally and your RFP response stakeholders today!