It is easier to win an RFP response process when it is created in your favor based on your influence. The 20 best ways to influence an RFP are most effective when your organization has a strong relationship with the client issuing the bid and you begin your influence as early as possible. Think about your relationship with decision makers at those organizations. Once you determine the relationship is strong, move forward with the 20 best ways to influence an RFP.
How to determine the strength of your relationship with the client:
Loop in your sales team, capture manager, and proposal manager to have a conversation about the status of your contract with the client, your performance with the client, and the upcoming RFP release. Are you the incumbent? If so, is the client pleased with your performance or seeking to replace you? How long have you had the contract? Are your services or products an essential requirement for the scope of the upcoming project need?
Your answers to these questions will help provide a clear picture of your ability to influence the next RFP. Let’s say your relationship with the client is strong. Based on your understanding of your status with the client, tailor RFP requirements to be in favor of your relationship. As soon as possible, employ the 20 best ways to influence the RFP:
#1 Determine the project scope –
Your performance is already well perceived with the client. It is likely that the RFP is just a formality. Emphasize the technical requirements that are necessary to facilitate project transition and successful development. These skills ought to be your expertise.
#2 Influence the pricing model –
Your cost model may be ideal for the client to continue saving money or to scale resources without significant increase in cost. Influence cost requirements to mirror your current contract or perhaps better terms for your organization.
#3 Number of Awards –
Perhaps the RFP can offer more than one contract. Increasing the number of winners means you have a higher chance of being one of them. Heads up! It also has implications for vendor partnership and competition for subsequent RFP processes.
#4 Resource Quantity –
Ensure that the RFP requires the amount of resources your organization can confidently provide throughout the course of the contract.
#5 Resource Quality –
Set a standard for the types of resources required to successfully implement and sustain the project for the life of the contract.
#6 Personnel Experience –
An RFP can help identify strong vendors with resume requirements or requesting robust vendor staff experience. Ensure that your staff is well-qualified in the specified project areas.
#7 Minimum Qualifications –
Suggest minimum qualifications for vendors to be considered.
#8 Specialized Qualifications –
Suggest specialized qualifications that your organization can provide.
#9 Locations –
Perhaps the RFP can require local vendors or resources only. Maybe it is the opposite and the RFP will seek vendors who have national presence. Your influence can specify the location requirements.
#10 Project Timeline –
Ensure that the project start and prospective contract renewal terms are within a time period your organization can honor.
#11 Evaluation Criteria –
You want the final decision in your favor so work with the client to determine evaluation criteria. Perhaps there is an area that may be weighted higher to even the competition or appeal to the client.
#12 Proposal Format –
Certain proposal formats ease evaluation and will help eliminate unqualified vendors.
#13 Proposal Due Date –
Consider the RFP response process timeline and the best due date for submissions.
#14 Presentation Selection –
Determine how the post-RFP presentation will benefit vendor selection.
#15 Insurance Requirements –
Consider a minimum insurance requirement that your organization can hold under the contract.
#16 Types of References –
Discuss how many refences should be required and the level of detail each reference should present. Some RFPs require all related reference information, while others only require one that is similar in scope.
#17 MBE Requirements. It could be beneficial to open the opportunity for more subcontractors. On the flip side, this could increase competition to vendors who offer lower rates.
#18 Q&A Requirements –
Determine the level of rigidity in the Q&A period. You have direct access to the decision makers. Thus, it could be beneficial to restrict bidders from talking to people outside of the procurement officer during the RFP response process.
#19 Penalties –
The RFP response process can be strict or lenient. Consider if the RFP will add penalties such as disqualification if vendors do not completely follow the RFP requirements.
#20 Alternatives to the RFP –
There are many ways to acquire new resources or partner with different vendors. Work with the client to determine the need for a formal RFP process. Your client could be interested in saving time and acquiring resources in another way, which means you remain the incumbent.
Once you have influenced the RFP, simplify the RFP response process more with your RFP software. The best proposal management tools can help you manage the capture management process and streamline the proposal process once you have the RFP. Influencing the RFP, capturing all of the client information, and using the best proposal management software is the recipe for more contract wins.