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18
May

What is the Key to Writing an Effective Proposal in Response to an RFP?

Contrary to popular belief, a request for proposal (RFP) response comes at the end of building the relationship with your prospective client. After the response is complete, and wins, the next step is fulfilling the contract. Ultimately that is your goal – to win the contract with a quality RFP response – and to maintain a successful partnership with your new client.

But before you can think about moving forward with the contract, let’s talk about how to create a winning proposal first. The key to writing an effective proposal in response to an RFP is always understanding your customer, understanding how to leverage the right resources, and your ability to be strategic in response planning.

In this article, we will address those areas and some essential information that proposal writers should use for every proposal management process:

04 Keys to Writing an Effective Proposal in Response to an RFP

Understanding your customer:

Any good RFP response will follow substantial research, careful planning, and proactive strategy to learn and understand the value of creating a new partnership with a prospective customer. Understand the customer that you are pursuing. Unfortunately, many organizations make the mistake of responding to issued RFPs without first doing the due diligence necessary to ensure a successful win of the project. Though there’s always the possibility for loss, you increase your chances of winning with some clear steps to help you stand out.

RFP response exercises are competitive. You will always have multiple organizations, including the incumbent, participating in the same exercise as you. Your response must stand out, and the best way to do so is to show thorough understanding of the customer and the project or need of the RFP. Here are some ways to make sure that you do:

  • Develop a capture management plan
  • Talk to the customer prior to RFP release
  • Research the customer’s industry and current projects
  • Learn about the incumbent and their services

These activities take time and are not expected to be done overnight. A strong proactive strategy that starts at least 06 months in advance of RFP release will help solidify your understanding of the customer.

Leverage the right resources:

As you may have guessed, RFP responses are time consuming processes. It is possible for one person to respond to an RFP, but it requires quite a bit of analysis, planning, writing, and reviewing that we’re sure one person does not want to deal with over and over again. Even the most experienced of proposal writers know that using the right resources is important when responding to an RFP. The right resources will help streamline the process, lessen the burden of workload, and enhance a strategic plan to win. Here are some of the resources that will accomplish this:

  • A qualified team of writers, subject matter experts, reviewers, and sales champions. Dividing the work among a qualified team is best practice for productivity and fast-tracking delivery
  • Customizable templates that express your corporate standards
  • A shared space available for full collaboration with easy access
  • A proposal management tool that will bring each of these efforts together

Streamline proposal management with Zbizlink. Watch it here!

Be strategic in planning

Winning contracts with the government or commercial organizations is tough work, but the payoff can be grand. One of the ways to write an effective proposal response to an RFP is being strategic in planning your response. A winning RFP incorporates understanding of the customer, a tailored solution that fits the requirements, and elements of proper planning.

It is smart to plan the response process along with the pre-RFP capture management plan. In conjunction with the right resources, your response plan will help speed up the proposal management process. The response plan is all about aligning your capacity with the requirements. Here are some ways to be strategic in planning:

  • Create a resource management plan
  • Align each resource with your response timeline – make sure to give yourself some cushion time for review and proposal submittal
  • Create a compliance matrix template
  • Incorporate the capture management plan and its findings with your compliance matrix

Managing the response plan is just as important as writing and delivering the actual RFP response. Use these areas to prepare a strategy that can be replicated and used by the whole team.

Writing an effective business proposal to an RFP response goes beyond simply knowing the elements of the RFP and organizing answers to it. Your chances of writing an effective proposal start with strategy and having the best proposal management software that you can find.

Zbizlink is a dynamic, cloud-based proposal management tool that helps proposal teams automate the proposal process. To learn more about its robust solutions for small to corporate proposal teams, request a demo.

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