Lesson 7: How to Respond to an RFP
Part 2: What?
What do I need to consider when responding to an RFP?
The winning recipe for a solid RFP response is equal parts compliance and responsiveness. Your “what” includes client needs (both explicit and implicit), your solution and resources. Remember, your goal is to write so that the customer understands both your solution and its value proposition.
If your solution is not clear and concise, the client will not understand how it benefits them. Consider your win themes. This means focusing on the client’s needs, anticipating their desires and weaving both throughout the entire proposal.
Okay, so you’ve got win themes and a highly responsive solution – you’re good now, right? Well, maybe not. A responsive proposal is not necessarily compliant, and a compliant proposal may not be responsive.
Compliance entails meeting the specific requirements of the RFP, including:
- Addressing all RFP questions
- Proposal structure (e.g., order of responses)
- Limitations (e.g., page restrictions, font type)
- Submission and delivery instructions
Aside from creating a compliant and responsive proposal, consider “what” tools, software, and other resources are needed to craft a winning proposal. Revisit Lesson 6 – Bid or No Bid? Part 2 where we looked at the total cost of developing a proposal.
Then, check out Part 3 of this series for strategies for contingency planning and getting your proposal across the finish line.