How to Respond Effectively to a Request for Proposal.

For some businesses or independent contractors, a request for a proposal (RFP) is what keeps them in business. It’s a promise of work if yours is accepted, but that’ll only happen if your response is high quality and timely. It must beat out your competitors if you want a chance to render your services, and that can be a challenge.

To improve your chances of having the RFP accepted, you’ll want to draft a timely response. There’s more of an advantage to a speedy response time with your RFP than many people realize. It’s like getting a 10-second head start in a race. It may not be much, but it could mean the difference between your proposal being accepted and it being thrown out. Having your proposal take the first place in the queue ensures that the requester will read yours with a fresh set of eyes without comparing its weaknesses to other proposals. It’s the advantage that you may need in order to be chosen.

Unfortunately, the average response time for a proposal leaves something to be desired. Though the average time differs for every project, it can take several days or even weeks to send a proposal following an RFP. Such a long wait time is not always the most favorable of options.

However, thanks to Configure Price Quote (CPQ) software and modern technology, those sending out for proposals are expecting a higher standard. They’re looking to reward those who use their resources to their fullest extent in order to bring about a speedy response time without sacrificing the quality of work. If you’re looking to get that head start on a high quality proposal, there are a few things that you should try.


Use CPQ Software

First and foremost, be sure that you’re using the right tools. CPQ software is the best way to define accurately the price of goods for the purposes of your proposal. It applies dynamic pricing schemes to regular templates in order to deliver a more accurate reading.

CPQ software can also reduce the time needed to define pricing for a specific proposal format. CPQ software, like that from iQuoteXpress, is designed to make complex analysis and variables look simple on the page. That way, it’ll not only be speedy to make, but it’ll also be simple to read, highlighting important factors like excellent products, service charges, and configuring compatibility.


Understand the Process from the Beginning

You can’t expect to begin the RFP process flying blindly and come out with a speedy, high quality proposal. You must know the ins and outs of creating a good document. This involves clearly laying out the needs and questions of the customer in a single document that’ll compete against a series of other documents.

As a part of this process, recognize the time constraints. You want to get the product out quickly in order to beat competitors, but some projects are much larger than others and have many more components. The larger the project, the more time that it’ll take. You can speed up the process with CPQ software, but be sure that you don’t sacrifice the quality by moving too fast.


Be Ready for Last Minute Requests

You might be staring down a tight deadline to finish your proposal and still be faced with last minute requests that you’ll need to fit into your proposal in order to meet the requester’s needs. The more complex the project is, the more difficult it is to pull such a document together.

It’s always a good idea to consider all of the variables before writing your proposal. That way, when a last minute request comes in, you’ll have plenty of material to work with before submitting the proposal. If you’re prepared, your proposal is guaranteed to come in faster and at a higher quality.


Plan Your Time

Time management is something that most people struggle with in business. It’s difficult to balance multiple projects and devote the necessary quality. However, if you want a quick proposal turnaround, good time management is essential.

Begin the project by setting a deadline for yourself. If you want a good head start over your competitors, it’s recommended that you set a deadline that’s significantly shorter than the one presented by the requester. Then, meet with your team to discuss some doable benchmarks in getting the proposal finished early. With this kind of strategy, you could cut the response time down from days to hours.


Use Templates

Though you want there to be an original quality about the proposals you write and present, there’s no shame in using templates as the backbone in order to expedite the process and make it easier on you. You’ll obviously change the content to match the needs of the presenter, but using a template as the outline is an excellent strategy.

If you’re handy with your preferred proposal development program, you might choose to make the proposals from scratch. If not, using a few versions of a proposal template is a good place to start. You can customize it to meet your needs and the needs of the client while saving yourself a lot of time and efforts.


Have a Signature Statement

You’ll want something that can stand out from your competitors and brand the proposal as distinctly you. In general, a signature statement can achieve this, and it can be prefabricated in order to save time. You can simply slap your signature statement into the introduction or conclusion, and it will be easy to pick your proposal out of the piles of others.


Get Accurate and Time-Saving CPQ Software with iQuoteXpress

At iQuoteXpress, we’re hoping to make your RFP response as quick and painless as possible. Our CPQ software accelerates the proposal writing process with high accuracy and quality. If you’re interested in a customized solution that can cut away hours of work, contact us today

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