Frustrated With The RFP Process? Learn How To Craft A Winning Response
The request-for-proposal (RFP) process is a pain in the butt, but RFPs are essential for many B2B sales. One way to think of the RFP process is like it’s an enormous test in following detailed instructions.
RFPs are a headache for any sales team because completing one takes a huge amount of time and the competition is stiff. Who knows how many hours get wasted on unsuccessful RFPs?
So, how do you beat the RFP process and not waste your time? While there’s no magic answer, there are a few tactics you should use to your advantage.
The first is to not even bother with RFPs that come in off the wire. If your relationship with a customer or prospective customer isn’t at a point where you could have influence on the RFP itself, it’s generally not worth your time to complete the RFP. To write a successful RFP, you need to be part of the conversation early on so you can help shape the entire RFP process.
It’s incredibly important that you have an intimate understanding of the client whose business you’re vying for. Government agencies, for example, want every RFP to be formatted a specific way. You should know that government clients follow strict rules and reject RFPs for what you may think are trivial details. If they ask for the RFP in single-spaced, 10-point Arial font, and you submit in double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman, they’ll throw your submission in the trash.
Once you understand the business you’re writing for, you should invest the time to deliver a stellar RFP. Make sure you follow all directions thoroughly. Don’t leave any sections blank or any questions unanswered.
If you commit to submitting an RFP, it’s critical that you deliver a great one. After all, if you can’t properly respond to an RFP, what does that say about your ability to complete the project?
You may save some time in completing RFPs if you create templates with content that’s easily reusable for any RFP. Also consider creating a dedicated RFP response team within your organization to handle the entire process.
The RFP process is fiercely competitive. That’s why it’s important to only invest your time in RFPs that you know you stand a reasonable chance at winning.
The Tellwise Nutshell (TTN): Don’t do anything that could disqualify you early in the RFP process. Think of submitting RFPs like applying for a job. Many resumes get weeded out based on format and word choice alone. To land the job, do your homework and don’t leave anything to chance.