The secret to winning business deals is no secret: have a perfect response to every request for proposal (RFP) that comes your way, and deliver it first.
But any RFP you receive this week is likely going to be different from those that arrived last week, and crafting that perfect response takes time and resources.
Luckily, when it comes to time, you and every competitor responding to an RFP are equally matched with everyone having 24 hours in any given day. But are you matched with resources?
Do you have professional proposal templates populated with targeted content ready to send?
Do you have optimized product and pricing configurations for the markets you serve?
Do you have the ability to track every interaction within your RFP response processes?
If you’re using quoting software, you have all the above and more.
Targeted templates, properly positioned
A templated approach to RFP responses is a huge time-saver for any business, and helps reduce errors that are bound to happen when each rep uses his or her own “talents” to create RFP replies.
A key to effectively using RFP response templates is that your prospects must never be able to spot them — a targeted template on your side should feel like a personal reply on the customer’s side.
Your sales quoting software can store endless templates, all of which can make your brand look beautiful. But success lies in the content within the template, in how you position and personalize your offer for each prospect.
To maximize the efficacy of your RFP response process, train your reps in the “soft skills” as well: e.g., start every RFP response with the customer’s pain point, rather than your product; detail their project before your pricing; etc.
A simple pivot in positioning is all it really takes: start with “We understand you” instead of “Here’s who we are” and you’re sure to better engage any prospect.
Products and pricing, competitively configured
RFP replies and the products, services, and prices you put into them are never one size fits all.
While there are established winning product combinations for most markets (e.g., a company that purchases 1,000 volleyball nets is likely a fit for at least 1,000 volleyballs), business needs and budgets will always differ, and you need to meet prospects where they are. Because while the proper positioning described above sets the tone for your proposal, it’s the products and pricing that help seal the deal.
Ensure your software and systems are set up so that every rep in your organization can learn about winning configurations from every proposal sent. You can do this through a series of lengthy meetings where each rep describes in detail what worked and what didn’t, or you can can automate by using quoting software as part your RFP response process.
Replies and reports, masterfully managed
You used a professionally designed proposal with customer-friendly positioning in your RFP reply. You ensured the product and pricing configurations in your RFP reply were a win-win proposition. Now all you have to do is sit back and wait…
Wrong: your RFP reply is only the first of many communications you and your team will have to send to ensure a win. Automating this part of the process is especially critical because:
You can’t have anything stall — no one or nothing or your end should result in delays
You can’t have your reps spending every minute following-up — there are new RFPs that need their attention!
With tools like templates and a product/pricing configuration engine, sales quoting software drives vast improvements in kicking off the RFP response process. But it’s automating replies and improving overall tracking and reporting of quotes that helps you get more RFPs across the finish line.
A better response to RFPs is neither one size fits all (as mentioned), nor is it one and done. It’s a series of communications and interlinked processes that need to be managed and optimized to capture as much business as possible. With quoting software in the mix, your RFP response process goes from good to great, automatically.