Answering RFPs has the same energy as college finals week: too much to do and not enough time. Rushing to meet a strict deadline creates a pretty optimal environment for all sorts of mistakes. There are few things worse than submitting your team’s proposal only to notice a glaring error on the first page.
Don’t let the hard work of your team, sales, Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), and more be for naught. From one proposal team to another, here are errors ones you definitely don’t want to miss:
RFP Mistake #1: Grammar
Grammar is the point of contention for a lot of internet arguments, but it’s something that you can’t ignore. Most often, grammar errors happen because you’ve changed the subject in the sentence, but forgot to edit the rest.
There are free applications you can use to catch these errors, such as Grammarly. On top of that, try reading your copy aloud, as time consuming as it sounds. It’s a great way to catch any errors technology could’ve missed.
This Is What It Looks Like:
The team are responsible for…. → The team is responsible for…
Respondents should sends their response… → Respondents should send their response…
RFP Mistake #2: Incorrect Names
One of the sneakiest (and most catastrophic) errors is misspelling names. In proposals, you have to list company names, the names of your team, and the names of the prospects receiving your bid. Don’t forget to double (and triple) check the spelling of your company name, their company name, and their name.
You’ll have to do this manually as not even spell check can’t help you here. There are just too many ways to spell the same thing: Caitlin, Kaitlin, Katelyn, Catelyn, KVIIIlyn, etc.
RFP Mistake #3: Different Fonts & Sizes
Is this mishmosh of fonts and sizes a mistake or a stylistic choice? Make sure it’s clear in your proposal.
Are your headings a different font from your responses? Make sure it is consistent.
Is one heading Comic Sans while the rest are Helvetica? Definitely an error; no one uses Comic Sans.
All jokes aside, different fonts and sizes can make your proposal difficult to read. More often than not, the content and people you consult will all have different formatting, so CRTL+A and make sure it’s uniform. It’s one of the easiest ways to present a cohesive image.
RFP Mistake Honorable Mentions
Google Drive Comments
Sharing a proposal over Google Drive can be convenient for the respondents. Don’t forget to either:
a) create a new version
b) delete your team’s comments on the proposal before sending it over!
Not only could you accidentally reveal unintended information, it looks unprofessional.
Need for Speed
Slow down. Typing too fast is what results in errors like “wsa” instead of “was” and “teh” instead of “the.” Unfortunately, if you do this often, spell check might catch these. As an added punch, our brains make it easy to skip over spelling mistakes.
If you are going to get rejected, let it be because you aren’t a good fit for their business. You never want it to be for something as easy to fix as misspellings or grammar mistakes. The proposal is the sole representative of your company, so make sure you put your best foot forward.