A common RFP Proposal Response misconception that I have seen across North America is about the Executive Summary (ES).
If the RFP proposal doesn’t ask for an Executive Summary, should you still provide one in your RFP Response?
Yes – is always the RFP answer!
We suggest including an Executive Summary in every proposal submitted, whether it is formally requested or not. Place the Executive Summary at the beginning of your RFP Response.
The purpose of the Executive Summary is to ‘Sell the Evaluators’ on choosing your company over all others. A well-developed Executive Summary should be buyer-driven and concise (1 page in length).
Ensure that your Executive Summary clearly states that you understand all of the Issuer’s requirements of this particular RFP. The Executive Summary should resonate to the RFP issuer/evaluators that ‘our company truly understands your needs’.
An Executive Summary should ONLY be written at the end of answering all of the RFP proposal requests – as this is when you will ACTUALLY know what your total solutions are.
The Executive Summary should clearly state that you understand the key issues requiring your solution, and that your company can meet (and exceed) the Issuer’s needs better than every other competitor. Outline the benefits of choosing your firm. Make it personal by including the Buyers name and their company name.
True sad story: A Software Client contacted us for RFP writing help 11 days into their Insurance RFP Response that was due in 5 weeks. We were SHOCKED to discover that 7 key members of the 10-member RFP Response team had just spent 9 valuable days locked together in the Boardroom working only on developing a rather convoluted Executive Summary. This was prior to answering the extensive RFP requirements. ‘Yikes’ we exclaimed – ‘you can’t summarize your solutions if you haven’t determined what they are yet!!’ We helped the client get clear on the priorities to Respond, but we did not engage further as they were committed to their non-winning-formula.
I can’t resist the urge to put a reminder in here – to both novice and professional RFP Responders: Please resist the temptation to cut and paste from previous RFP Responses. Let your competitors do that.
Oh, and always remember to add a great Executive Summary to your RFP and Proposal Responses….your competitors might NOT do that!