Conforming to the technical requirement and responding well to the questions is the third-most important thing in RFP responses.
“What!?!” you (or some sales executive) cry. “Low price is more important than the technical solution or the proposal!”
And low price is critical, especially in government procurement, but follow the logic for a minute:
- If you’re late, they won’t accept your proposal: that makes managing schedule the most important thing.
- If you’re non-compliant, they won’t open your technical proposal: that makes compliance the second-most important thing.
- And if you score too low, they won’t even look at your price.
Here’s how you conform to the technical requirement (often called a statement of work, or SOW):
- Train every proposal team member in how to analyze the client’s requirement
- Assign someone to supervise solution development based on that analysis
- Conduct an early executive review of the solution so that there’s time to change direction if necessary
Here’s how you respond well to the questions:
- Train writers in proper response techniques
- Assign an editor (and, on big proposals, writing/volume leads) to review and improve the draft responses
- Conduct an in-process review (by the team) and an end-of-process review (by Red Team) to improve the final document
See the pattern? Train, supervise, review. And, as a best practice, involve the executives throughout.