Not everyone that responds to a RFP will get to the next stage, in fact the initial large list of respondents’ will usually be reduced to 20!, but is it wort it? YES it is. Winning a state contract is a goldmine for a business, here are some of the annual spends from governments –
Ireland with a spend of €9 Billion and the E.U. €2.4 Trillion will make replying to RFP’s in your interest.
You need to get the right people assigned to winning these lucrative contracts, giving this team the best tools available is where we can help.
SpeedAuthor Accelerator is used worldwide, helping corporations to win these contracts. Our software will help your team to win.
- Find a Relationship: No matter how outstanding any RFP response is, nothing beats the human factor. Good relationships will put any proposal into the right pile. Always ask for a meeting, follow up and invite the prospect to the agency for a tour (it’s an unlikely but proven winning strategy). Build the relationship. Identify who the main decision-makers are, how they process information, how they think and move to match your response to their style.
- Look Beyond the RFP: Before you even begin to analyze the RFP, study the prospect’s industry and brand. Make sure you understand their overall strategic goals and objectives. This provides you with a good context for reading what is both in, and what is left out of,the RFP. The better you understand the market drivers and nuances, the better your response will be.
- Dig Deep: With a better understanding of the industry, sort the RFP into “information requirements.” If the RFP requires expertise in a field, or deep understanding of a market, make a note of it. If it requires more “strategic thinking” versus “process execution” versus “creative ideas” this should be noted and reflected in the response. List out all the specific requirements in the RFP and use this as a checklist in putting together your proposal.
- Lead with Questions: Have a list of questions and inquiries of items to clarify with the prospect. RFPs aren’t always clear, sometimes by design. As you process and sort the RFP, be on the lookout for areas that are missing, incomplete, or unclear. Structure and organize a list of questions and call the prospect. If they have a formal Q&A session, or a “call in,” go in as if you were on stage. Don’t be like so many agencies, timid, afraid to ask questions, sitting on your hands. Stand out. Be interesting.
- Match Language: While going through the RFP, highlight buzzwords, key phrases, and acronyms that the prospect uses. These may be used to describe the market, brand, technology, tools, whatever they use as “insider language.” Be sure to feed these words and phrases back to the prospect in your proposal. Phrases and verbiage in the RFP also give clues as to how the prospect will make the selection.
- Establish a Theme: You’ve researched the prospect and sifted through the RFP. Now it’s time to compose your proposal. We are a “creative industry” and our response should reflect that. Make your RFP shine. How can you make your proposal, including the team, services and pricing, stand out from other agencies? What is your overall message, your brand, your theme, and how can you keep reinforcing it? You must fulfill the mandatory requirements, but a strong theme can really stand out by how you demonstrate your agency’s capabilities.
- Build a Winning Team: Review the industry, the brand, the overall needs the RFP outlines and select the best staff to handle the response. Make sure to have a strong leader, someone who is not afraid to ruffle feathers and reject bad writing or ideas. Make sure the entire team is actively engaged in the strategy, approach and final sign-off on how the agency is being presented.
- Make It Sing: A proposal should be written with clarity, brevity and style. Avoid long-winded sentences, needless jargon, and an overload of “marketing speak.” Keep it short, with snappy sentences and phrases. Cut your words without losing your message. Use images, charts, and graphics when you can. Assume that the proposal will be perused, rather than read, so use call-outs and headers. Long paragraphs of text intimidate readers and will lose their attention. Consistency of voice and format is important, repeat information in each section if needed. Don’t assume the prospect will read each section in detail.
- Out-Organize the Sender: Make sure your response has a table of contents and that each paragraph, each page, each chart is clearly numbered. Cross reference each piece of your proposal with the scope of work and format requirements listed in the RFP. Make the format easy to read. Make it easy to find each section that addresses a requested need. And something I shouldn’t have to mention, but I will – proofread and edit the heck out of the response. I can’t tell you how many prospects have told me about an agency that left a previous brand in a paragraph, or misspelled the brand’s name. Silly stupid mistakes can cost you more than this account– it can cost you your reputation in the market. Word will get around.
- Submit Early: Almost every agency will end up delivering the RFP response right at the deadline. Help your firm stand out by getting your proposal to the prospect 24 hours early. Take the response to the prospect yourself, if you can, and mention how excited your firm is to be involved with the process. Schmooze with the receptionist, the secretary, anyone you can. Ask if the key decision makers are around, introduce yourself. The prospect is waiting for the responses to come in and will often pay close attention to the first ones arriving.
Read Bobs’ entire article here…