Many firms live or die by their ability to win work through proposals, yet the process may not always be as smooth or successful as they’d like. Today, we’re sharing five RFP best practices for creating successful responses.
- Meet with the client about the project. I can’t underscore this enough. How well you understand the project directly corresponds to your success rate. Having a clear view of a client’s challenges and pressure points can help your team craft a response that alleviates concerns and solves problems.
- Submit everything they ask for and follow the instructions. Yes, sometimes you will win a project even if you don’t follow the letter of the law, but more often than not, it is harmful. So, do what they ask. If you can’t provide all the details they need, examine if this project is truly a great fit for your organization. You may be better served focusing on other work.
- When organizing your response, consider how simple it will be to review. Illustrate how easy your team is to work with by submitting an organized proposal. For starters, place documents in the order requested and include tabs if a submittal is lengthy. Show team members in the same order throughout the entire proposal. For example, if your team lead is the first person shown on the organizational chart, his or her resume should be the first page of your Project Team section. Use this same strategy for portfolio work too. Have project sheets follow the same order given in any experience tables.
- Give yourself time to review. I know this is easier said than done. Giving your team even a few hours (or ideally a day) to look everything over before sending a response is best. Double check your submittal against the original RFP, including number of copies and any labeling directions. Also, have someone outside the proposal team proofread it. Their “fresh eyes” are more likely to catch obvious (or not so obvious) errors.
- Review and reflect. After the work has been awarded, review the proposal. If possible, schedule a follow up meeting with the client. Then, internally discuss which components were effective and which processes need to be altered. In addition to the submittal, consider your relationship with the prospective client, as well as the degree to which your experience aligned. Was your firm a good fit?
Curious how your RFP’s stack up? Learn how you can evaluate your responses internally here.
Dotted Line Marketing conducts independent reviews of RFPs. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how we can help.