The Request for Proposal (RFP) process – or how organizations source, evaluate, and acquire goods and services – used to be a pretty archaic ordeal. Think binders slowly making their way through the mail, typewriters bleeding ink, and warehouses full of questionnaires piled as high as the eye can see.
Now, thanks to digital trends and exploding opportunities for public, private, and nonprofit organizations alike, the RFP process is more streamlined and increasingly lucrative. That said, added value usually invites added competition, which is why it’s more important than ever for issuers and vendors to ensure they are communicating clearly.
So, how do you ensure you are communicating correctly with RFP issuers?
Answer: By having the right RFP writer.
What makes a perfect RFP writer?
Know Your Structure
The most effective RFPs follow a broad structure not unlike any story, with a beginning, middle, and end:
Beginning – Start your RFP by giving an overview of the current situation that addresses the exact problem – or problems, as is often the case – that this RFP is aiming to solve.
Middle – Next, list out your requirements explicitly within the RFP. At the very least, include business, technical, and cost solutions that your organization wants the winning bid to fulfill.
End – Finally, provide a summary of how your organization plans to grow as a result of the successful implementation of the winning proposal.
RFPs aren’t written alone. Instead, they force the engagement of myriad internal stakeholders to achieve completion. From budgets to technical functions to legal reviews, RFPs mandate all relevant inputs are correct and approved. This not only helps to confirm buy-in when it comes to budget allocation, but it also assists in implementation after the project concludes.
The perfect RFP writer will not shy away from describing exactly what he/she needs to craft a winning proposal. Communication is key to the RFP process and failure to embrace a communicative, and if necessary, assertive, spirit will undoubtedly hamper the results. In fact, RFPs aren’t just about the lowest price, organizations also consider important factors about a bidder, including, but not limited to, its business structure, employees, company history, financials, demonstrated success, reputation, references and the completeness and presentation of the RFP itself. The RFP writer depends on thorough and consistent communication from its stakeholders to translate its less obvious requirements to bidders.
Enjoy The Process
RFPs need not be a dreary ordeal. Take pleasure in the fact that you are telling your organization’s story and setting your team up for success. The perfect RFP writer views the process not as simply an obstacle to be overcome, but as a monumental first step in a journey of significant progress.
It may seem trivial, but a positive outlook when it comes to RFPs is absolutely critical if you are going to stay organized and efficient throughout the many necessary details of creating the perfect solicitation, especially when deadlines are tight and the stakes are high.
Practice Makes Perfect
At The Bid Lab, we believe that any team who is truly committed and dedicated to the RFP process can complete a winning proposal. But, here at The Bid Lab, we also understand that people have day jobs and RFPs aren’t usually high on the ‘can’t wait to do list’. RFPs take time, effort, and hard-earned experience to fully execute the advice above. That’s where we come in.
Our team of experts works with clients who don’t have the time, resources, or experience to manage, write, and build perfect Requests for Proposals. If a perfect RFP is your goal – and honestly, why wouldn’t it be – contact us today for a free consultation.