The year 2020 has shown us how to get prepared for fluctuations in proposal numbers and various remote working difficulties with increased financial scrutiny. After an unpredictable year like 2020, now there has been a lot to learn in terms of RFP management.
At some point, your organization will require to purchase a product or service from a suitable third-party vendor. The RFP is a petition; you ask vendors whether and how they can resolve your problem. A request for proposal (RFP) is the document that describes the requirements for your particular project or demand, it will be put together by your company. This RFP allows you to assemble offers from distinct vendors for you to compare their rates and skills and pick the most suitable vendor that best serves your criteria.
Most procurement businesses are familiar with managing an office product – Request for Proposal (RFP), mainly three things are required; resources, time, and effort. With years of experience, while running RFPs businesses gain enough confidence, they are setting in place an efficient office supply, dealing with negotiated savings. But, hidden costs are not always revealed.
As per a search report, Requests for proposals (RFPs) make around an average of 30% of yearly sales revenue. When we speak about responding to RFPs, we usually imagine the complicated process of what happens with content and its various contributors.
Some might suggest that using RFP software will allow a different perspective, and tell you there are ways to work smarter. Giving a portion of your precious time is a crucial part of the RFP response process. With the use of the most suitable technology, you can reframe the complete RFP response process and build a wrangle-free environment.
How to Transform RFPs from Obstacles to Opportunities in 2021
RFPs are assumed to be an essential part of sales growth in 2021. But, keeping up with RFPs can be a barrier during various times. Occupied technical experts, hardened deadlines, and complex approval processes, all add up to a challenge in the sales cycle.
1) Analyse your Prospects and Ensure the Decision-Maker with Reassurance
You should deeply understand what your prospect wants, otherwise your sales proposal can become a guessing game. You should know what their goals are, what are the challenges they face, and what are the tangible problems that they want to resolve, what is their budget, and if there is any urgency, is there any place for negotiation or is it a set amount? The fundamental action to do here is the research to get an answer to all these above questions. Now as you find these answers, take a record of the exact words and phrases that your possible consumers are already using to explain their situation.
Your proposal should always begin with the distillation of the RFP followed by drafting a request for proposal. This makes the company that you were proposing identify that you have understood what was being asked. It also proves that you’ve put the effort and time into understanding the project. Decision-makers usually read the executive summary. They read it in the beginning, and sometimes it is the case that it is the only thing that they read. Because of this, the executive summary provides a tremendous opportunity, if effective.
2) Do Some Analysis on your Most Successful Consumers and Be Clear About what the Buyer can Expect
Your most loyal and successful customers are typically those that have been the longest with you and spent their most money with you, and make the most repeat purchases. They normally have a mix of these characteristics or indeed all of them. Once you’ve recognized them, analyze their experience as your consumer, their communication with you in that process when they were still a prospect.
You’ll get the best insights by combining the above analysis with the data about your existing clients or customers. Even great if you use data concerning your most reliable customers. Remember their process as they decided, and ultimately picked your solution as the most suitable one.
Always remember that every step of your proposal should drive the decision-maker on to the next level. Describe why your previous experience has affected you to believe a project is going to take five weeks. Here is where you plan how long your incredible team is working and what resources you will pull.
3) Be Careful While Responding RFPs – Which Ones are Worth It
It takes around 114 questions and an average of 20 to 40 hours of writing time to produce an RFP response. So, responding to a higher percentage of proposals isn’t always a good chance of success. It’s worth thinking regarding whether you should spend the time and effort on it or not. You should understand that it’s just not in your best interest to employ this sort of time on requests that aren’t expected to win.
You should always consider these four things:
- Whether the project is a good fit or not?
- Have you successfully undertaken related projects in the past?
- Do you understand adequately the industry and the prospect’s requirements and goals?
- Does the issuer even in your target market?
Therefore, you should evaluate that if an RFP is worth responding to? By executing an efficient decision-making process, you can concentrate on quality opportunities that make the most sense for your business.
4) Create a Great Answer Library and Content Library
To have a greater chance of achieving a successful RFP, the quality of the response you draft determines everything. It can become difficult if you’re facing a proposal with hundreds of questions you have to answer and the deadline is of the next day. For example – A sales engineer noticed that his team constantly came up with workarounds to handle sales content and RFP.
Information pits were widespread across the organization and their entire sales process was lagging. Now if his team instantly realized the functional opportunities with their fresh RFP answer library, how much time IT members would have saved just by studying previous RFP responses. Creating a great answer library can save a lot of man-hours.
The topmost challenge in the RFP process is that the most common issues respondents mentioned were finding correct answers to questions instantly, collaborating with internal subject matter experts, and picking the right answers from a collection of possible answers. Building the library will demand time, but the effort will be worth it. Ultimately, your team and you too can utilize this library to instantly bring together a rough draft for the proposal.
5) Automation of your Response Process
RFP software automates slow sections of the response process with the help of smart libraries that auto-detect plus autofill responses to questions based on prior responses. The appropriate software can support the sales team to develop a first draft RFP in minutes rather than hours.
Research explains that teams that use RFP response software contribute an average of 42 more RFPs yearly than those that don’t have software. This RFP software additionally centralizes projects in one place for more beneficial collaboration and to reduce version control problems.
How can you tell that your team can be benefited from an RFP solution or not, simply ask these questions? If the answer to these questions that are defined below is yes, then your team would possibly benefit from using RFP automation.
- Do you add five or more contributors in every RFP? Don’t miss to count legal, exec, and security approvals.
- Do you respond to more than one security questionnaire or RFP every month?
- How frequently do you answer repeated questions in your RFPs?
6) Involve a Big Board of Experts to Enhance Proposals
Top challenges concerning RFP teams focus around discovering and collecting accurate answers and collaborating with in-house Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). Research reveals that best-in-class RFP teams comprise an average of 10 contributors. More collaboration implies that proposals are more likely to incorporate knowledge from across an organization, which increases the overall proposal quality and your possibilities of winning. It’s essential to remember that contributor numbers change with company size.
Building a leading sales proposal comes down to one simple thing and that is, monitoring and listening to your potential customers and utilizing sales proposals as a tool to illustrate the picture of an outcome that you can provide.
Your sales proposal should make your prospect feel what it’s like to have or utilize what you are offering, and how that differs from your competitors, this can make you super-efficient in this process. Utilize resources to make the process as seamless as possible, assuring project success, even great if utilizing templates as a shortcut.