Organizations problem requests for proposals (RFPs) because they have a need that will cannot be fixed internally—a huge need—one that will cost lots of money. This isn’t calling a plumber to fix a clog. This is soliciting bids from several contractors for complete remodels, or to construct full-on enhancements.
Obstacles in the RFP reaction process
The scale of the RFP can be huge
RFPs contain up to thousands of questions and requests for particular content. If your company has a solution to the problem put forth by the issuer, then you respond with a proposal that includes all the solutions and requested content. Based on the size of the RFP, usually it takes you hours, days, or even weeks to prepare a response. So long as you submit your completed RFP response by the deadline, your solution will be considered.
Competitors is fierce
The issuer compares your RFP reaction with all of the other RFP responses received from your competitors. Occasionally, the lowest price wins. Other times, the best solution wins. Occasionally, it’s both…or neither.
Success requires more than paperwork
Usually, the winner results from the best pitch — an coverage term that includes the RFP response, relationships built with sales and subject matter experts (SMEs) during the process, pricing, reputation, and also a variety of other factors. Then you will find the times when winners are usually selected based on prior or even existing relationships between the 2 organizations.
No matter what the deciding aspect between an RFP win or loss, the ultimate the fact is that you have to compose an RFP response to have a chance. Why don’t put your best foot forward?
How to respond to an RFP
The RFP response process is cyclical, not linear. I’ll get into more of that will in the best practices section. With regard to getting a proposal out the door, you need to follow these eight steps after you first purchase RFP.
1 . Qualify the bid —
Is this really worth going after? As I mentioned earlier, RFP responses can take days to compose. Starting off using a go/no-go checkpoint gives you an opportunity to evaluate how your remedy measures up, the financial viability of the project, accessibility to resources you’ll need to post a response by the deadline, and any other factors that will impact your business during the response procedure. Essentially, building a proposal is like investing in your future. Every investment decision requires close scrutiny.
second . Understand requirements —
What do you need to get it done? This runs everywhere from the type of articles, to who produces the content, to who is responsible for signing off on the final suggestion. The list can be quite lengthy, however it must be comprehensive to make sure absolutely nothing falls through the cracks.
3 or more. Answer commonly seen queries
Pull from your content library to fill in answers to commonly seen questions. In case anything needs to be reviewed by a subject matter expert, be sure to get their eyes on it before submission.
4. Assign due dates and tasks to key collaborators
Whose expertise do you need to get this done? After you figure out requirements, you’ll identify all of the milestones. There’ll be because of dates for content, evaluations, edits, and approvals regarding multiple collaborators. The trick will be respecting everyone’s time whilst driving the process forward.
5. Assign questions for evaluation and approval
Who has to sign off on this content material? Likely, this will not be a Caesar sitting in the stands giving thumbs up or lower. You’ll have multiple approvers in order to sign-off on content associated with sales, product, support, lawful, branding, etc .
Make sure you’re telling the storyplot you want to tell. Add pictures or other supporting content to tell your story better. This is when you can nail the aggressive differentiation. If you have the good lot of money to have a dedicated proposal team, this may fall on composing and design specialists within that team. It may also become someone from branding or marketing—someone who puts eyes on anything that your organization produces for external audiences. Assure your proposal is in a clean, easy-to-read format. Or even, even better, put it into a top quality template.
Don’t let poor grammar and typos be the reason you lose the bid.
8. Publish to issuer
Push send with no regerts (See? Proofreading is important! ).
The Standard Report: Proposal Management
Learn about the state of proposal management, and see what teams have to do to be successful moving forward
Best practices pertaining to responding to an RFP
Regardless of whether you have a dedicated team of stakeholders from each section or you assign a new group for each project, what matters most is that everyone within the organization recognizes that they have pores and skin in the game.
RFP wins, proactive sales proposals , and fast turnaround on questionnaires equate to income and may determine whether the company increases, shrinks, or offers an additional percentage point in following year’s retirement fund fit.
Build the right team
Offer managers lead the proposal team. Proposal managers might believe of themselves as the director of a motion picture. After that “Directed by” end title sensations, another three minutes associated with credits roll by.
The particular proposal team I’m talking about is made up of the individuals you rely on for a variety of functions:
- Prospect and customer interaction – Customer-facing teams get their fingers on the pulse associated with competitors and customer requirements.
- Subject matter expertise – Many RFP questions require detailed answers, and for those you should use the people who know the the majority of about their particular area of expertise.
- Brand messaging – Consult with marketing before submitting your response to ensure that you are on brand.
- THIS support – Can your company support the issuer’s needs?
. and all of the others who are crucial to creating a winning proposal.
A one-person proposal department requirements input from internal or even external SMEs to build a high-quality response.
Only react to RFPs you can win
As part of your bid-qualifying at the beginning of your RFP response process, add a go/no-go checkpoint to ensure that you only react to RFPs you can win. Regardless of whether it’s a scheduled team meeting or a checklist, you have to answer:
- Is the RFP the right fit for your firm and solution?
- Do you have a comprehensive solution that addresses all the challenges presented in the request?
- Does your pricing match this?
- Do you have an existing or previous relationship with the issuing corporation?
- Do you have any insight into precisely why the RFP has been issued?
- Can you meet the submission deadline ?
Basing the answers to these questions on data rather than anecdotal evidence will help confirm the go/no-go step along with your role as a proposal supervisor. RFPIO’s AI-powered analytics tools provide that data.
Regard contributors’ time
If you want SMEs and other stakeholders to feel a sense of ownership for their offer responsibilities, then you have to respect their time. RFP reactions will suffer if contributors find yourself working after hours and week-ends, rushing to meet deadlines. Get their buy-in ahead of time on deadlines and time required for reviews and approvals.
Document your own process
A documented RFP response process will anchor your team during the the majority of chaotic times. It’s under your control to own the process, but RFP software will make it easier to automate, execute, and monitor processes from beginning to end on multiple projects working simultaneously.
Conduct a win/loss review
The win-loss review gives your team an opportunity to close the loop. Internally evaluate what worked and exactly what didn’t.
Did you win? Why? How can you repeat it pertaining to future proposals?
Did you lose? Why? How can you avoid this in future proposals?
Are the whole proposal team in a wrap-up summary, but associated with extra effort to work hand-in-hand with sales enablement to allow them to bring in the customer perspective.
Let technology do the heavy raising
Remember earlier when I mentioned the RFP response process is cyclical? The win/loss review will inform your go/no-go step, increasing your predictive accuracy of which RFPs you can actually win. It helps to have RFP software for a win-loss evaluation because you have everything that entered the response—the planning, communication, content, and the actual response—in one place.
Software is the particular single most effective way to conquer lack of time, experience, and other resources. It’s the difference producer that will help you respond like a boss. With only 43% of organizations using RFP-specific technologies, there’s a huge opportunity for you to get a leg up on competitors.
How RFPIO can help
RFPIO RFP software makes it simpler to collaborate with an extended team and leverage the power associated with technology. With automated processes for scheduling, collaboration, plus completing wide swaths associated with massive RFPs using our industry-leading Content Library, you can blaze through the first pass of a response faster compared to working without RFP software program or with less sophisticated software solutions.
You produce more time to spend customizing the responses that really matter and focus on differentiating yourself from your competition. And that’s the particular beginning!
Using software at every step in the RFP response process
Here’s a quick overview of how RFPIO RFP software program helps during each of the 7 steps of RFP reaction:
- Qualify the bet — Check data from previous similar RFPs. What required weeks without RFP software program may only take hours with it. All things being the same, is this RFP winnable?
- Understand requirements — Let the tool develop a checklist of open items based on what remains following the automated first pass carried out at intake by your Content material Library.
- Answer commonly seen questions — RFPIO RFP technologies consolidates all your previous Q& A pairs into an intelligent Content Library, so you can automatically respond to repeat questions in only a few clicks.
- Assign due dates and tasks to key collaborators — Assign each RFP question or area as a task to individual collaborators from the project dash in RFPIO. They’ll then receive a notification from where they’re already working (e. g., email, Slack, or even Teams).
- Assign questions for review and approval — Simplify the review and acceptance process with automated reminders and cues across multiple platforms.
- Polish — From intake, work within a branded design template and support answers along with approved content that’s often up-to-date according to the SME in charge of that content.
- Proofread — Still important, but working with already-approved content will decrease just how much you have to proofread.
- Submit to issuer — Push send from RFPIO or your built-in CRM!
We recently created a Proposal Management Benchmark Report where we discovered that organizations using RFP software already managed 43% more RFPs than those who seem to do not use RFP software program. If you’re looking to speed ahead of the field in RFP reaction, then gain traction quicker with RFP software.
Ill just leave these some other tidbits right here…
Acknowledge SMEs and salespeople from quarterly meetings. Salespeople are usually competitive and like to end up being recognized for winning.
Put into action formal kickoff meetings regarding RFPs. Make them quick and include pre-reading materials in the invite to hit the ground running. A few organizations combine this with a go/no-go checkpoint.
Hold 15-minute daily standup meetings or calls as you approach the particular RFP deadline. Focus on status reports and action products.
Commit to professional development period. Join this LinkedIn group , the response management Slack local community , or even connect with APMP . This is especially beneficial for small shops, where it can be hard to build a network.
If this has inspired you to investigate RFP software, after that schedule an RFPIO demonstration today!