7 Things You Need to Know When Writing an RFP Response
It’s common knowledge that you need to stand out from your competitors in order to win projects. The first step to achieving this is writing a good RFP response – concise, clear, well-structured. To this end, use headings and subheadings, numbered or bulleted ideas, etc. – anything that allows the reader to quickly understand your offer.
This is where RFP response automation comes in. It is like accepting a helping hand from technology, to end up with a compelling and competitive piece of writing. Kaito is a software based on Machine Learning. It allows you to import your RFP files in the system as a set of requirements (or questions), build the responses using Kaito’s suggestions, and export the completed RFP in the original file, or other templates.
It is able to identify the best answer from a set of similar ones, based on date, author, number of re-uses, user votes, and context (a best answer for an RFP may not be the same as the best answer for another, even if the question is the same). This is how automation supports the efficient production of a well-tailored RFP response.
What to consider when writing and RFP response
Let’s see some of the things that are worth considering when you are set on writing a successful RFP response.
1. Don’t rush
Before responding, take some time to do research and gather information. Gain clarity as to what the proposal is about so you can put together a meaningful response. This will increase your chances of writing an RFP response that stands out from your competitors’, and hence – of winning the project.
2. Be prepared to deal with the stress of limited time
‘Limited time’ means a rough estimate of two weeks. And in order to also comply with the previous point, you can make use of a generic template, which you start preparing way before the RFP. You can safely leave about a fifth of the work to be customized for current purposes, after you receive the RFP and before the deadline.
3. Make it clear that you understand the client’s problem
Reflect the information conveyed by your client, by rewriting it in a similar manner in your response. Especially if you reflect the upshots of the presented problem, and, relatedly, its significance. Procurement managers will appreciate indications that their message has come across the right way.
4. Show your ability to reason flexibly
Don’t assume that the client expects a unique solution proposal (unless explicitly stated). If, besides the main proposal, you also have an alternative plan, do not hesitate to share it. Develop the main one, but make sure to include you idea for a plan B. On the one hand, you increase the likelihood of a good fit with the client’s expected solution. And on the other hand, you demonstrate your capacity to ‘think outside the box’, which is always a plus.
5. Leave room to negotiate the price
To put it simply, resist the temptation to win your client by making an unbeatably cheap offer. Allow them to be ‘active players’ and ask for less. To this end, you should start by asking slightly more than your actual business price. Alternatively, you can be flexible and allow them to choose between several packages with different pricing.
6. Form matters
It goes without saying that the content is what substantiates your RFP response. But – as we also mentioned in the introduction – choosing an appropriate presentation format increases the chances of your content getting noticed. (RFP response automation can help here as well, by providing access to a template database.)
Design a cover page, make sure you include your company’s logo in a header or footer, include a table of contents, use graphs and tables to present the data, use readable (not too small) fonts, etc. And don’t skip the proofreading. All these show that you actually care about the client’s effort to read your work. Read more about best practices to improve your RFP response process here.
7. Have a diplomatic approach to the Q&A process
That is to say, be aware that both the questions you ask and the answers your provide convey information about you, and, most importantly, that information is shared with all of your competitors. So do pay attention to what you put on display (you can view this as a way to protect your copyright), and what you save as your ace in the hole. For instance, do not miss the opportunity to answer the questions that you know will highlight the advantages that only you can bring.
If you make use of these tips in building your RFP response, you work your way out of the crowd. Why? Because responding along these lines indicates that you take the proposal seriously, you are genuinely interested in what the client wants from you, and you are very clear as to what you are after (and why).