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How to Craft a Winning Response to an RFP

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Openasset

Published on 1st September 2021

Responding to an RFP can feel like a time-consuming, cumbersome chore that stands between you and a potential new business win. 

However, it’s a great opportunity to show your potential client why you’re the perfect fit for the business. And it doesn’t have to be a daunting or stressful process.

Here are six tips to help you knock it out of the park.

1. Identify the client’s needs

Before writing a proposal, it’s important to take stock of all information you have from the RFP and your external research.

Identify the potential client’s underlying concerns, key issues plaguing their business, and, ultimately, their goals. This will enable you to deliver a more custom response that speaks directly to their needs.

2. Analyze the requirements and determine whether you can meet them

The next step is to look at the client’s requirements and make sure you’re able to deliver the expertise and service needed. If you feel like your company can’t deliver, it might be best to decline the opportunity and turn your time and attention to other projects.

If it looks like a good fit, create a list of the essential requirements and make sure they’re the core of your response.

3. Assemble a powerhouse team

Responding to an RFP can be a labor-intensive task with the added pressure of a looming deadline. Rather than tackling it alone, gather a team of people from across your business. Working together will make the job easier and more efficient, and likely yield better results.

Depending on your industry, your team could include representatives from these areas:

  • Sales and account management
  • Marketing
  • Technology
  • Senior management
  • Procurement
  • Legal

4. Create a powerful proposal

Once your team is in place and prepped, get to work creating a response that consists of several essential components. Together they create a compelling argument for selecting your company over the competition. Make sure you include:

  • A cover letter
  • An executive summary
  • A response to the main proposal request
  • Case studies
  • Pricing

Here are a few tips to make the most of each piece:

Cover letter

In your cover letter, introduce your business and demonstrate that you understand their business. Show them why you’re the right choice.

Executive summary

Here’s where you deliver a concise overview of your offering. It’s your opportunity to convince key decision-makers that your proposal is the best option. Avoid making it a pure sales pitch by remembering that you’re offering the client a solution, not just selling a product.

Use the executive summary to:

  • State their objectives as you see them (“you listen”)
  • Show that you understand their objectives (“you empathize”)
  • Display your expertise and how you can help (“you can deliver”)

Proposal

A proposal is a place for you to demonstrate your expertise, so don’t distract the reader from your message with pricing. Save pricing info for a separate section at the end.

Case studies

Look at your previous and current clients and find a few that share similar challenges as your prospective client. Showcase how your business helped them solve those challenges and improve their overall business.

Final checklist

You’re not finished yet. Once you’ve drafted the proposal, read through it, make sure your answers are clear and concise and double-check spelling and grammar.

If you’re repurposing an old proposal, check the document properties to make sure no other client names or sensitive information is mistakenly used.

Finally, look at your response objectively and think, “Does this address their needs?” and “Would this proposal convince me if I were the customer?” Does your response:

  • Comply with most of their requirements?
  • Empathize with their needs?
  • Offer a compelling story as to why they should choose you over the competition?

5. Branding your response

Never underestimate the power of visual appeal. Make sure your proposal looks professional and accurately represents your brand and its attributes. Include your logo and make it easy for the client to learn more about your company by providing contact information, website address and social media links.

If you’re required to provide a hardcopy of the RFP response, consider printing it on higher quality paper, for example, at least 100 g/m2 weight with a matte or satin finish.  It’ll look sharp and stand out from the others in the pile!

6. Leverage technology to streamline the process

No doubt, responding to an RFP is a lot of work. It can be overwhelming—from start to finish—and winning new business depends on the overall quality of the end product.

Fortunately, there’s technology that can help make the process easier. Consider investing in a digital asset management solution to help leverage your digital assets more efficiently. It’ll save you time and stress and help create a more impactful proposal.

Final thoughts

Feeling better about creating a standout proposal? You’ve got this.

We’re always here to help. Check out some helpful tips on managing the pressure of tight deadlines—a given with most RFPs—and explore our digital asset management solution to learn more about how we can help streamline the entire process.

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