7 RFP Best Practices to Improve Your Response Process
Putting together the response for a Request For Proposal (RFP) can be meticulous work. And sadly, you can end up labouring over a proposal and eventually find – on rejection – that everything hinged on a vital piece of information you lack. However, the entire process can go much smoother if you follow some RFP best practices to drastically improve your response process.
We strongly believe that a correctly conducted RFP response process has several benefits, like clearly identifying and communicating how you respond to the purchaser’s needs, revealing the real quality of work you can produce, as well as being a source of objective support for your client’s final decision.
Therefore, in an attempt to help you go through the entire process, we’ve put together a short list with a few of the most important practices on how to improve it.
1.Start with researching the organization of the purchaser
One of the most important things you need to do when starting the response process is to obtain as much information as possible about the purchaser. Research their track records, check their references and see what other projects they were involved into.
Only when you have an idea about them and feel comfortable working with them, besides fully understanding the proposal, you can proceed to the next steps.
2. Use the purchaser’s terminology when talking about goals
The idea is to articulate the goal of the project clearly, no matter if it’s brand awareness, website traffic, sales and many others. Based on this, you will be able to respond to RFPs with a clear pricing structure, but also allow the client to have lower initial costs.
It’s also very important to know the terminology a client uses and use it when talking about and defining the goals. This relatively simple practice can get you a lot of bonus points.
3. Keep your response and don’t forget about testimonials
There’s no doubt that one of the best ways of proving to a client that you can successfully complete their project is to show them some examples of past projects that you’ve completed. If they are similar to their own, it’s even better, as it helps clients get rid of any doubt related to your ability to fulfil a project.
Tip: Put a lot of accent on similarities with other projects, if they exist, so that the client can observe them with ease and eventually be impressed by your work in a similar field.
4. Create a task management strategy and system
During the response process, you must be a master of efficiency, so one of the best things you can do in order to achieve this is to split the tasks. Having an RFP project owner is mandatory, but having owners over certain sections is even better.
The entire reason why everybody is working together to complete an RFP is to win, so managing the many parts of the RFP is easier when you automate repetitive tasks the team is spending a lot of time on.
5. Organize and centralize the content
One of the biggest disservices of a response team is not having an answer library. In most cases, companies are simply copying and pasting from past RFPs to complete projects, but this means that they are also wasting time browsing through folders and emails to find those RFPs.
There are a lot of opportunities to organize and centralize content, so you can avoid information hunt. Simply put everything in a spreadsheet with multiple tabs and you will save a lot of time, not to mention that this will help your sales team a lot.
6. Manage both your team and your data
Being well-organized is obviously a big plus for a team that is in charge of the response process. As previously stated, if all the information you have is well-organized and all the members of the team know exactly what tasks they should complete, the entire process will go on smoothly and – most importantly – be completed very fast.
It’s also essential to set a timeline and make sure that all the steps are completed accordingly. Abrupt deadlines can be considered a lack of respect, so if your organization faces a serious problem or opportunity, consider starting with a serious timeline.
You can use an RFP response automation platform like Kaito, which besides being able to manage your team and data, can also organize all your content, manage testimonials and features an entire task management strategy and system in place.
7. Develop a process and review your answer library regularly
There’s no doubt that you will have to deal with several RFPs in time, so this is why one of our main recommendations is to put together an entire process for this. The first time may take longer, but you will thank yourself in the future, as all the information and procedures will be in one place.
A content library will come in handy each time when you need to take a look at your previous responses, for other clients, as it can significantly reduce searching time. After stacking up a big amount of information, it’s recommended to review everything, as some things may be outdated or even incorrect, according to newer standards or other aspects.
It is more than obvious that an RFP response process which is not well supervised, organised and, of course, ignoring the advantages technology brings, will have a hard time winning any projects. But this is where a response automation platform comes in, making all these issues a thing of the past and saving you and your company a lot of time.