To bid or not to bid?

That is the question. If you’re a business, any business, you probably respond to countless Request for Proposals (RFPs) for various products, ...

To bid or not to bid?

That is the question.

If you’re a business, any business, you probably respond to countless Request for Proposals (RFPs) for various products, and/or services, time and time again.

With multiple RFPs landing on your desks, you naturally want to respond to all of them because after all – the more opportunities you get – the more potential business, right?

Wrong.

Let’s talk about qualifying an RFP. Many companies skip this all-too-important step, thereby wasting a lot of time and effort on opportunities that won’t benefit them in the long-run. So what can you do? Consider the following tips the next time an RFP comes your way.

Qualifying an RFP
  1. Read the RFP entirely. This step is critical and shouldn’t be bypassed. How will you truly know if it’s a good opportunity without reading the RFP? Know the ins and outs of the prospect’s requirements, and goals, and figure out if your organization would be a good fit and vice versa. A relationship is a two way street – it needs to be right for both you and the client.
  2. Determine if the opportunity is profitable. Run a profit analysis to identify if the prospect (and eventually client) would be good to your book of business based on the revenue you’d generate. Of course, there’s other things that impact a client relationship, but do this early in the process before you get too invested!
  3. Identify your team’s workload and capacity.  Responding to RFPs is a collaborative process as it involves a team’s time, effort, and expertise. Do you have the time to put together a quality proposal? Usually, the bulk of the work is done by a Proposal Writer, with the support of the sales executive, and other departments. This will vary by organization and sector, but organizations are challenged by RFPs with short timelines and complex requirements, so consult with all parties affected by the RFP process!
  4. Ask critical questions. Were you expecting this RFP or did come out of nowhere? What if you need clarification on some RFP components? Now is the time to submit questions to your prospect. You will discover any key points that will position your organization perfectly, or perhaps you may even discover some deal breakers that confirm you should move on to the next opportunity.
In summary

Qualifying an RFP should be integrated into your sales process. It saves time, energy, and resources, and enables your team to focus on the opportunities that are aligned with your organization, your unique selling proposition, and products or services. Think quality over quantity – this is a wise way to evaluate the RFPs you and your teams respond to.