Tips for Tailoring Your RFP Response to the Client
Every proposal team wants to increase its RFP win rates, but setting the goal and achieving it don’t always match up. When dozens of vendors fight for one deal, you run a high risk that you’ll end up losing the bid – even if it is an existing customer. That’s why RFP responses take dozens or even hundreds of man-hours to complete, including key stakeholders, executive team buy-in, best practices, and even consultants advising on RFP response management and trends. Beyond all of that, how can you increase your RFP proposal win rate?
Simple: personalize it.
What Is a Good RFP Win Rate?
Before you dive into personalizing your RFP process, you might want to your RFP response game is and how your win rate compares to others in your industry. On average, vendors win about 44% of all of their proposal submissions. As you review your own success rate, consider how your win rates rank. Are you above average or below? Even if your rates are above average, you probably still want to increase your RFP win rate. And if you’re new to the RFP response game, trying to match your efforts to the 44% average might take some time. Nonetheless, implementing a personalization process into your RFP production will help you produce better RFP responses and increase your win rate.
What Does It Mean to Personalize an RFP response?
Simply put, personalizing an RFP response means tailoring each proposal to its specific audience, taking into account their industry, their specific stakeholders, needs, unique challenges, and even brand personalities. You want to make the proposal review team feel as if you have created a product, service, or solution that is made specifically for them.
Like all great methodologies, starting with a proposal template will help you work more efficiently and will make it easier for you to actually personalize your response. Although working from a template might sound counterintuitive to the notion of personalization, a variety of templates actually help you create a more personalized response in real-time. Without a template, you’d be scrambling to create an entire proposal from scratch, which wouldn’t allow you to implement the personalized touches it needs. As you consider other forms of personalization, consider how personalizing the print and presentation of the proposal will leave a winning impression. What else do you need to take into consideration? Check out these 7 tips for proposal personalization.
7 Tips to Personalizing Your RFP Response
1. A proposal template is great, but having several is better:
When working on submitting RFP responses to various vendors, you want to make sure that your proposal’s core is based on an easy-to-replicate template to save your team time and frustration. You should develop a proposal template appropriate for each of your target industries. Each template must address that industry’s specific challenges and problems. For example, your solution may be suitable for use in businesses, schools, and factories, but submitting an identical proposal to all of these industries will make your business sound like the wrong fit for each of them.
2. Include a tailored photo or image
Just as you tailor your template to match a specific industry, you should tailor the cover photo or image to each specific industry and vendor. Use an image that will spark the imagination of the vendor, empowering them to see your proposed solution implanted successfully in their setting. For example, if your solution is meant to help students better engage with digital content, include an image that showcases the successful implementation of your product in a classroom. However, if your solution can also help HR teams with their own learning and development solutions, personalize the image to show a corporate environment. As you choose the perfect image, make sure that you choose a high-resolution image that will look sharp and crisp both on a screen and when printing your response.
3. Start with a handshake by including a letter
If you consider your cover photo to be the face of your proposal, think of your personalized letter as the handshake. Although a personalized letter is often overlooked in the long and intensive practice of building a proposal, it’s an important human touch that can help your proposal stand out. Your letter should explain how your solution solves the problem the customer is facing. Often, it is signed by the account manager or someone with a more personal connection to the client, but if you don’t have one, a higher stakeholder (like your CFO or CEO) can be the one to sign it.
Make sure that you don’t confuse an RFP response cover letter with the executive summary. Although they may follow a similar layout, the letter is there to add a personal touch.
4. Make your letter as impressive as your proposal
Your team put a lot of effort into composing the perfect RFP response. You might have worked on the proposal for weeks or months. Spending so much time getting your proposal perfect, other tasks may get sidelined. However, don’t leave crafting your letter until the last minute. A well-structured and personalized letter will help you get your name, brand, and solution noticed and remembered.
5. Printed presentation matters
You worked hard crafting the perfect RFP and personalized letter, so don’t downgrade your printed proposal by relying on your old office printer and yellowing paper. What kind of paper should you print your proposal letter on and how do you ensure it gets there on time? A key factor in making your proposal get noticed is timeliness. Consider how using professional printing and mailing services for your RFP will make a strong impression. Mimeo is a leader in printing, distributing, and advising customers about building winning RFPs.
6. Acknowledge current events
Your products and solutions may have been negatively affected during the pandemic or as a result of other world events, but that doesn’t mean that your team hasn’t adapted. Use your proposal to acknowledge your product’s agility, how swiftly you’ve come to solve new challenges, and how new pain points customers may be facing have been integrated into your solutions and services.
7. Answers should be front and center
When crafting an RFP response, you want your prospects to be able to find the answers to their specific pain points quickly. That means you shouldn’t make readers look for an answer. Instead, answer their question directly in the first line. If certain functionality or expertise is requested in the RFP, don’t make clients read through a full answer for a Yes or a No. Also, since many proposals are reviewed and read in hard copy, don’t make readers click through a URL to find the answer. As you personalize your RFP response, answer the questions keeping in mind the specific vendor.
At first glance, personalizing your RFP response may sound like a lot of extra work but doing so will likely increase your proposal win rate. Furthermore, as you get more practice crafting personalized proposals, the process will become easier.
Printed on time, every time
You worked hard crafting the perfect RFP response and personalized letter, so don’t put your proposal at a disadvantage by relying on traditional shipping and delivery services that might deliver your proposal too late. A key factor in making your proposal get noticed is timeliness. Consider how using professional printing and mailing services for your RFP will make a strong impression. Mimeo is a leader in printing and distributing RFP responses and has advised countless customers on how to build winning proposalsRFPs.
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