RFP stands for request for proposal , but it’s so much more than that. It’s a request for help, a clue to problems that need resolved, and an opportunity to build pipeline. This article will take you through asking, “What is an RFP? ” to knowing how to make use of RFPs to drive revenue in less than 1, 500 words. Belt buckle up.
Very first, an assumption: If you came here because you want to know what an RFP is, after that I’m guessing that a high-value target has decided to problem an RFP to find a means to fix a problem you feel strongly about solving. When that target finally understands that you’re the answer to their problem, then you’ll pick up a sizable chunk of business. Now you just have to play the RFP game.
(Just in case you’re here because you want to know methods to issue an RFP, check out this article instead. )
What is an RFP opportunity?
You will find essentially two types of RFP opportunities: solicited and unrequested. Solicited means that you’re invited to play the game. Unsolicited indicates you have to crash the game. You do have a better chance to win whenever you’re invited.
That reminds me. There is a fair bit of jargon within the RFP world. Here’s a brief glossary of some typical terms you’ll encounter frequently , including in this article:
- RFP issuer: The organization that will sends out the RFP. They have got a problem, and they’re ready to pay someone to solve it, within certain parameters.
- RFP responder: You.
- RFP response: How you solution the RFP.
- RFP proposal: Your response to the RFP.
- RFP Q& As: Most RFPs existing a number of questions that responders must answer. This section makes up the lion’s share of your proposal.
- RFP win: You were selected by the company to solve their problem.
- RFP loss: Happens to the best of us.
Back to more on “What is definitely an RFP opportunity? ”… While you can still win an RFP if you submit an unsolicited response, the odds are against you and you need to take an honest look at whether or not it’s worthwhile to respond.
RFP responses are not easy, even if you’re invited to partake. If you’re lucky enough to be notified to an RFP on the day it’s issued, then you’re probably looking at a 3-6 week window to compose your response. Rarely are you so lucky. Sometimes it’s introduced with notice of a week or less, putting you on a tight deadline. The number of hours you’ll have to commit to building a proposal during that period will be determined by, among other things, team participation, content relevance and access, and how much you need to rely on manual processes to accomplish the response.
Now that you understand what an RFP is and the chance it presents, you need to put yourself on a path to react only to those RFPs that you could realistically win. If this is one of your first RFP reactions, then it could be a rabbit hole of unknown depths. Put a go/no-go milestone before going ask Alice. It involves thinking about the following five questions:
- What was your level of involvement prior to the RFP becoming issued?
- Is your solution a fit (now, not at some squishy day in the future after you’ve a new chance to adapt it as to what the problem calls for)?
- Does your price suit the RFP issuer’s spending budget?
- Will winning the RFP be a tactical fit for your organization?
- Do you have bandwidth (to complete a competitive proposal, to not deliver your solution)?
As part of the RFP response process , you should have an opportunity to request the questions necessary to complete the gaps for your go/no-go milestone. Best-case scenario? Your sales team has already laid the groundwork for all of this with the issuer and it’s just a matter of taking their learnings and making them workable.
It’s a “go. ” Now exactly what?
It’s the process deal. Doesn’t that will take the pressure off?
I won’t enter into the nitty gritty of the RFP process here ( you can do so here if you’re ready to start now), but I will touch on the value of efficiency. Even when this is your first RFP, you’ll want to go into it since prepared as possible to save you and your team some pain and provide your organization its best photo at winning.
Break down your efficiency objectives into three main types: project management, content administration, and proposal quality. Before you start checking boxes under these types of categories, you need a team . Part of that will team has likely already formed. The salesperson at the tip of the spear is going to be your subject matter expert (SME) for issuer-related questions plus perspectives. The rest of the team should come together based on your review of the RFP. What questions need answered? Who has the particular answers? Who has the design plus technical chops to build the proposal?
After you identify potential team members, get into their availability and try to create a schedule to complete the reaction by deadline, preferably prior to deadline to give yourself some buffer. Then schedule the kickoff meeting with all team members to get their buy-in in order to process details for the subsequent:
- Project management: You’ll be the lead designed for collaboration, assigning tasks, and driving the schedule.
- Content administration: You’ll need content creators, content reviewers, and a storage system for the content library (if you’re gathering all this valuable information for an RFP, you’ll wish to save it for repurposing; even if this will be your just RFP response of the 12 months, the info will be useful for business proposals, answering prospect plus customer questions, and teaching new hires).
- Proposal quality: Answering RFP Q& As won’t be enough. You have to personalize the proposal to be able to stand out.
Remember, the issuer is using the RFP process to identify its optimal vendor. They’re inciting competition, so you need to play to win. Second prize doesn’t even get a set of steak knives.
Beef up your sales pipeline
Since you’ve discovered RFPs as well as the opportunities they can offer, you may want to evaluate how they can help you attain your sales goals. 69% of B2B salespeople don’t have enough leads in their pipeline to meet quota. Pursuing RFPs can build up pipelines fast: Globally, $11 trillion associated with revenue is won by means of competitive proposal processes (i. e., RFPs) every year.
Obviously, you’re never going to win every RFP. We all found the average win price to be 45%. However , RFP opportunities can cost as much as 5X more than traditional sales possibilities, which makes your process and your sales tech stack your best friends when it comes to response effectiveness.
Automate to dominate
The particular optimized sales technology stack is a hot point associated with conversation these days. With so many software program solutions, it’s easy for product sales teams to overspend upon solutions they barely use. A recent Harvard Business Review content cites the survey where 62% associated with B2B companies were not pleased with their sales technology revenue. It also found that:
“The winning companies in our analysis were 1 ) 4 times more likely to fully set up sales technology tools plus 1 . 9 times very likely to fully integrate them… Through the time to embed these systems properly into its sales processes, the [SaaS] company was able to boost revenue growth by 200 basis points within a few weeks. ”
RFP automation offers a massive competitive advantage for responders. This saves time, improves suggestion quality, and helps businesses create their best work by activating their company understanding. Companies with RFP-specific technology responded to 43% more RFPs in 2020 than those without a designated RFP tool. “With RFPIO, I would say we now have increased our win price by 15%, ” said Grégory Saive, IBA global director of sales support and tender management,
But it has to be the correct RFP automation technology for your sales tech stack. It has to be able to manage your entire reaction process — from building proactive proposals to answering prospect and customer questions on the fly and responding to questionnaires — while integrating seamlessly with the other applications you rely on, such as your CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT, communication, and cloud storage solutions.
What is next? Demo.
We started with “What is an RFP? ” and made it all the way through to the value of RFP automation. Once you win one, you’re going to want to win more. Since I’m almost at my promised 1, 500-word cap, I’ll wrap it up with a tip in your next step: Timetable a demo . It is the fastest and simplest way to find out if RFP automation is right for you. Even if it’s not, you’ll get some valuable response suggestions from our process experts.