These 5 things will help make your RFP response process smoother

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If your firm depends upon winning bids on the back of RFPs, then you already know that having a good process in place is supremely important.

If you work on a bids and pursuits team then you know that efficiency is the name of the game. While you might love the thought of being able to spend weeks crafting one response to perfection, in reality, you know that your team may be under pressure to meet a bid-submitting KPI.

At Zoomforth, we’ve worked with many teams who use our product exclusively for sending out RFP responses. They’ve shared with us some insights about the steps they have taken to make the RFP-sending process a smoother and more efficient experience.

1. Have a system for tracking your RFP responses

Our first recommendation is to institute a system for tracking all your RFP responses.

Different RFPs have different lead times. Your business is also likely to ascribe more importance to some RFP processes than others.

All this calls for:

Using these two features, you can use decision-making matrices (such as this one) to know which RFP responses you should be working on right now; which you can plan for; and which you could even consider delegating to outsourced partners.

The good news is that such a system doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, it might be completely free. A simple project management tool such as Asana actually contains all the functionality required to build a system like this.

You can also:

rfp proposal site

2. Know a couple of good RFP response writers

You’re in the middle of crafting a couple of great and high-priority RFP responses that you’d love to see your company win. Then a tight lead opportunity comes in the door or catches your eye. But there’s one problem: everybody on your team is already working flat out on other bids.

This is where outsourced resources like freelancers can be really useful. And you don’t have to make do with a generalist either. Many freelance writers have held in-house positions managing RFP responses on behalf of organizations and have chosen to focus exclusively on RFPs in their freelance iteration.

Even if you don’t require their services right now, it’s worth putting out feelers to see if anybody you work with (or who works in comparable roles) knows of a couple of reliable RFP writers. When you need the ability to quickly scale up your RFP workload without needing to commit to another full-time hire, they can come in very handy.

3. Appoint a proposal manager

A proposal manager assumes overall responsibility for handling the RFP response process on behalf of an organization.

This hire brings value in a few different areas:

Hiring a proposal manager will also mean that there’s a single point of responsibility for this area of the business: somebody who’s answerable to the question of “what’s going on with our bidding at the moment?” If your bid response process is scaled up enough, this could be a worthwhile hire. If it’s not, sales managers often, in practice, assume this as one of their unofficial responsibilities.

4. Flag repeat content opportunities as soon as possible

In an ideal world (perhaps!) every proposal would be written from scratch all of the time. But if you work in bids, then you already know that that very seldom happens. Instead, most proposals are a synthesis of totally original content specific to the bid and some boilerplate text added from a library.

As we mentioned in our last blog, Zoomforth has themes and templates features that we built precisely for reasons such as this:

In the context of RFP bids, we’re going to be more interested in using templates to quickly iterate out new versions. We can create RFP response templates —or even multiple ones for different bid types—that quickly encapsulate common elements.

To be more specific, your average bid response might contain all of the following elements. But as we can see not all of them are going to have to be written from scratch every single time:

Leveraging a template-based process for building out RFP responses can enormously cut down on the amount of time it takes you to turn out each bid.

5. Be more selective about bids

Not every invitation to participate in a tender is a summons — and your business isn’t obligated to create a custom proposal for every potential customer that requests it.

Every potential business relationship is a two-way process. And before demanding that all hands in the sales team rush to deck, it’s worth spending a moment to consider whether this piece of potential business is really worth the time it may take to pursue it.

Factors that you may wish to consider:

By using a solution like Zoomforth, you can cut down on the time and effort involved in creating RFP responses. But that doesn’t mean that you should create a proposal for opportunities that are clearly a bad fit.

First, evaluate whether the business would be good for your firm. Only then should you devote the time and energy to actually participating in the opportunity.

If you’d like to know how Zoomforth can help improve the efficiency of your RFP response process, ask us for a demo.

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