Going through so many RFPs last month has led me to one conclusion: there is still a need to list tips for responding to an RFP. So here’s my take:
RFP Tips You Can’t Afford to Forget
- Read the entire RFP. This is especially critical when an RFP is broken up and given to different departments to access and respond. After collecting every department’s response, make sure someone reads it in full from a macro perspective so that every requirement is really covered by your response.
- Follow the schedule. Don’t miss the due dates outlined in the request. You’ll find dates such as Intent to Respond, Supplier Questions, and Final Submission; these deadlines are on different dates, so be sure to respond based on their schedule.
- Ask questions. Don’t quote yourself short. While in my experience most companies don’t respond enthusiastically (they feel every requirement is already listed in their RFP), it is important that you are clear on everything so that you can deliver on point.
- Use the template they provide. I’ve seen it many times before: companies spend lots of time deciding how they will format their response when it has been clearly stated that the provided template should be followed. Follow it! It will reduce writing time and give your client exactly what they want.
- Follow the section numbering. Be sure to match your answer to Section 2.2 in Section 2.2 of your response. Don’t make up your own numbering system!
- Write the Executive Summary at the very end. Do not attempt to write it before hand. The summary is supposed to capture the key points of your response, so it literally cannot be written until the entire proposal has been completed.
These tips have come from my years of witnessing how RFPs have been put together. Did I miss a must-do on this list? Let me know!