You sent a response to their RFP, now all you have to do is sit back and wait, right? WRONG. The follow-up bird gets the worm!
Here are three simple things you can do to follow-up on your RFP response:
Be brief, be direct: No “how’s it going, just checking in, how’s the weather” nonsense. Instead: When we talked, you said you wanted X; here’s X. I’ll call later today. Thanks.
Let them take the next step: Put the ball into their hands, let the prospect take the wheel, LISTEN. If it’s true that the customer is always right, then the prospect is right to a degree bordering on genius. Listen, and speak only to empower them to choose the next step.
Automate: Did you email them on time? What stage is this deal at anyway? Did you forget anything? If you’re using the proper business tools, like a cloud-based CRM system with an integrated online sales proposal tool, these questions never need to be asked as they have been answered and addressed via automation.
Let’s dig a little deeper into the big three
“Brevity is the soul of wit”
— William Shakespeare
What the heck did The Bard mean by this and how does it apply to sales language? We’re glad you asked and we’ll cut to the chase: it means cutting to the chase.
There’s a time when you can be expansive with a prospect, but that’s not during RFP response follow-up. They’re looking at more responses than just yours, so heed ol’ Bill and nail each point in just a few words and in just a few bullets. Were Shakespeare alive today, he may have instead written, “Bullets are the soul of wit, bro.”
You’re not in charge
We said above that you should put the ball in your prospect’s hands, let them take the next steps. Which you should absolutely do. But always remember — you get to decide what KIND of ball you put into their hands, and the general direction in which next steps should be taken.
Everyone wants to make their own decisions, and base them on the best information available. Let them! Because — as it’s your product or service they’re asking about — you’re the one who is charge of the aforementioned “best information available.” Which means the next informed steps they choose to take will almost always be in your direction.
Automate RFP follow-up
There are proper principles and best practices for RFP follow-up (like what we detailed above), and then there are the best platforms, such as online sales proposal tools.
Configure, price, quote (CPQ) software not only automates the building of sales proposals — it automates the entire process. Triggered responses, automated reminders, and electronic signature tools can make RFP follow-up as easy as set it and forget it.
For sales managers, CPQ — especially in a seamless CPQ/CRM integration — provides sales reporting tools that deliver more complete oversight of all quotes in the pipeline. And if a manager knows that Joe Salesguy quit in the middle of a big sale, they can easily manage any open RFP follow-up within the software.
You, too, can avoid the RFP follow-up “follies” by adhering to two simple practices and one powerful software.