RFP Templates – By Saving Time, Can You Lose a Bid?Posted: December 21, 2016
This is a guest post by Debbie Ouellet of EchelonOne Consulting. Note from Bill: Here in the States, you might hear the term “boilerplate” instead of template.
I’m often asked by sales professionals if I can help them write powerful RFP (Request for Proposal) response templates that will help them win every upcoming bid. It’s true, responding to RFPs can be time-consuming and stressful. That’s especially true for many sales and operations professionals who work on RFP responses while still being expected to deliver in their full-time jobs. And, templates save time and ensure a standardized look and approach to a response.
A template response can help you save time, but lose the bid
Though going the template route sounds like a time saver, you’ll find that the end product won’t give you the kind of results you want.
You’ll end up with a lower win ratio and have to bid on even more contracts in order to meet your sales targets.
Don’t misunderstand – templates for standard questions often found in RFPs, like requests to show your quality assurance program or problem resolution process, are a good thing and should be used.
But the key pieces like your solution, executive summary and related experience need to be written specifically for the RFP and the project. Even resumes for key team members often need to be edited to highlight the experience that is relevant to the RFP requirements.
Here’s why: Most RFP decision makers see a lot of responses and can smell a template response a mile away. You stand a much greater chance of winning a contract when the decision makers feel that you really understand them and their needs. Your solution needs to address their problem, not the average customer’s problem. A template response won’t do that for you. That’s especially true when you’re asked to provide a technical solution to a complex problem.
Other ways to save time when responding to RFPs
If you want to save time in the RFP process, you may want to consider your “bid, no bid” process to make sure that the contracts you’re going after are a good fit to begin with. Only respond to bids where you have a good story to tell, can meet all mandatory requirements and the potential payout is worth the effort needed to respond. Then you can spend quality time creating great solutions and presenting them convincingly.
Debbie Ouellet of EchelonOne Consulting is a Canadian RFP consultant and business writer. She helps business owners win new clients and grow their business by helping them to plan and write great RFP responses, business proposals, web content and marketing content. You can find out more about Debbie at www.echelonone.ca/.
This article originally appeared at https://www.echelonone.ca/rfp-templates-by-saving-time-can-you-lose-a-bid and was reprinted with permission.