Meeting the mandatory requirements is critical if you want to be considered as a successful bidder on any RFP Response.
It sounds simple: read the Proposal, make a task list for your RFP response team, answer every question and send in your response and get your team back to their regular work-day.
Is that really enough to win the contract or to be short-listed?
The issuer of RFP’s are often faced with multiple bidders, sometimes hundreds of responders. An RFP issuer’s first task is to narrow the field. This is simple; find reasons to disqualify a bidder. This can be anything from the size of a logo on the cover page to not printing double sided, to not having one of the mandatory insurances.
We have sat on both sides of the RFP evaluation table, as an evaluator and as RFP responders.
As an evaluator, we are frequently surprised and oftentimes shocked at what organizations of all sizes respond with. The most common offence we see is, not determining whether the RFP issuer wants to know more about what solutions you have provided in the past – or what you will do to add value in the future. Huh? That sounds like two entirely different solutions.
Where does the problem exist? It’s in correctly interpreting what the issuer is truly seeking.
Your internal teams responding to RFPs are made up of subject matter experts. This doesn’t mean that they are always good at interpreting what an issuer is asking. Many people say ‘just do what we did on the last RFP’. Why do that when you didn’t win the contract? And, you didn’t even take the time to find out why you lost out?
Bringing in an outside resource such as an RFP writer/specialist is a simple solution. Yes, there are people that choose to respond to RFPs day in and day out!
A profestional RFP writer has 3 top priorities:
First priority: Ensure that you are compliant.
Second priority: Ensure that you are responding in the correct context related to this specific and unique RFP. This requires a deep dive into the RFP to look for the patterns in the questions, this is not about a cut-and-paste from any previous RFP Response.
Third priority: Ensure that your proposal team develops a competitive proposal that showcases the firm’s people, experience, and expertise in a professional manner, in the language of the issuer that makes it easy to evaluate and navigate through your submission.
When you write a response that is tailored to the issuers specific criteria – this builds trust that you as the responder understands and can meet the issuers needs.
In the end, to be awarded the contract means ensuring that the issuer knows you and your team will handle the solution better than any other bidder.