When it comes to your RFP response, one of the key factors to winning is having an efficient process. After all, if you are scrambling to put together your response, you won’t have time to make sure it persuasively answers every question.
That is why it is worth taking the time to make sure your team works as efficiently as possible.
What does RFP mean?
RFP stands for Request for Proposal. When an organization is going through a formal vendor selection process, they put out the RFP, which is usually a list of questions they want every vendor to answer. This makes it easy for them to compare offerings and select the best vendor.
The tricky thing about RFPs is they usually require a lot of responses while setting a deadline for you to submit them. If you and your team are not highly effective, you can quickly get swamped in RFPs, either missing some altogether or sending in substandard work to represent your company.
The good news is, you are not alone in this challenge. Here are three ways our customers have created superefficient proposal teams.
1. Clearly define roles and communicate deadlines
As with everything, communication is key. That said, RFPs usually require some cross-departmental collaboration, so it is important that everyone involved knows their role and deadlines.
For example, you may need to get a product manager involved to explain your development roadmap, a sales person to lead the project, and an executive to provide final sign-off. Be sure to clarify with each person what you need from them (and when).
You may even consider using a color-coded system to keep everyone on task.
2. Free your team from non-essential tasks
Once each person on your team knows exactly what they are supposed to be doing, make sure they don’t get bogged down with tasks that could be easily automated.
For example, instead of wasting time emailing back and forth, use a project management app like Asana, Monday, or Trello to keep the RFP moving forward.
Then, once the RFP is completed, don’t fall into the pitfall of printing, binding, and shipping hard copies yourself. Instead, find a print on-demand partner like Mimeo who will produce your hard copy RFPs overnight (and remove non-selling steps from your process).
3. Hold project debriefs
Many teams skip debrief meetings in the interest of moving on to the next RFP. While this may seem like it makes you more efficient in the short term, in the long term, you are likely making the same mistakes over and over again.
For proposal teams, it is worth holding debriefs twice: once, immediately after submitting, to review the RFP process. This is your opportunity to find and fix bottlenecks that keep you from delivering your RFP responses smoothly.
Then, hold a second debrief after finding out the prospect’s decision, whether they select your company or not. In this debrief meeting, you’ll want to look at what happened at a macro level. Was the deal worth pitching? If so, what caused the outcome? Does your proposal content need to be improved, or was it pricing or product that decided the loss?
By taking the time to think critically about your RFP process, you will end up fine tuning your team to maximum efficiency. For tips on running a debrief, refer to this HBR article.
Organizing a winning RFP response is stressful business. By making sure your team works at maximum capacity, you’ll be able to spot the weaknesses in your process and move towards a higher win rate. To keep learning about this process, watch our complimentary on-demand webinar, Optimizing the Proposal Process.