Figuring out how to have a faster RFP response process is one of the biggest challenges bid managers face, but if you take into consideration a few of our tips, you can overcome it in no time. After all, RFPs represent an opportunity to attract new business opportunities and also refine proposal writing skills.
It’s really not that difficult: in order to respond faster to a request for proposal, you should focus on the following aspects when crafting your response:
- Identify the problem
- Provide the solution
- Include all the arrangement terms
And of course, make sure your answer is informative, valuable, as well as transparent. As for managing your time properly while doing this, we’re going to discuss that below.
How to respond faster to a request for proposal (RFP)
1. Put your team together
Responding to an RFP is one of the best examples of a team effort so once you decide that you want to go through with it, you need the right people to handle the response.
Our recommendation is to have a dedicated team that’s permanently in charge with RFP responses, as this will allow you to work on proposals without ‘exploiting’ your resources. And, of course, the team we’re talking about should posses specific procedures and processes they can refer to, so everything can go over smoothly.
2. Make sure you fully understand the ask
Responding faster to an RFP is basically impossible if you don’t properly understand the ask. We know, this should be somehow obvious, but we feel it’s necessary to mention that understanding what the issuer wants should be one of the first things to do, before giving them what they want.
Your final proposal should include what you’re hoping to accomplish after accepting the RFP, a breakdown of how you’re planning to meet the goals, a timeline with milestones, as well as the key deliverables.
3. Discover the client
This phase of the RFP answering process uncovers the client’s needs, but also their challenges and desired results. Therefore, it will allow vendors to discover what they really want and start finding the best way to reach their goals.
Or, simply put, it will allow you, as a vendor, to find the exact problem your potential client has, thus resulting in a more effective and quick RFP response. And these are the steps you need to follow, for efficient time management while crafting your response:
- Review the client’s intake questionnaire
- Review the client’s website
- Do some research on the client and their market space
- Review the client’s marketing materials and strategy
- Review the client’s competitors
- Perform a basic brand analysis
4. Go for strategic pricing
When responding to an RFP, the pricing chapter takes a lot of time. Still, you can avoid this by opting for a strategic and transparent approach.
First of all, there’s no need to break everything down line by line at this point. Secondly, don’t quote for your lowest price, nor rely on your pricing to make a difference when compared to other applicants. The final version of your RFP response should be a mix of reasonable prices and proven skills. If you start with your lowest price and the client comes back with a counteroffer, you, most likely, won’t be able to accept it.
5. Use an RFP automation software
RFP responses can take a while to write, as managers have to deal with lost emails, deliverability changes, forgetting attachments or even not including the right people in emails.
In a nutshell, there are a lot of common mistakes when responding to an RFP, but there’s also a solution to avoid them and make the entire process more efficient: using an RFP automation platform. It’s a big step for your company, but when you will see the amount of time you can save, you will agree that it’s definitely worth it. If you’re curious to find out more, we dedicated an entire article to the main reasons why you should use an RFP management solution.
To sum up, responding faster to an RFP is not impossible, as long as you keep a few important aspects in mind. And after doing this once, it will surely become an important part of your workflow when dealing with requests for proposals.
An effective RFP response process will automatically improve your bottom line, thus leading to better results for your company. And putting together a quick answer is just one of the best ways of improving your RFP response process.