Better RFP Responses & Management


Dear Dizzy Izzy:

The client wants us to provide a Work Management System (WMS).
We have an enterprise management system (EMS)
sold by Acme Software (AS).
We use it for maintenance management and call it
our Maintenance Management System or MMS for irritating.
We will use this MMS as the WMS.
What should we call it in the proposal: EMS, Acme/AS, or MMS?
Yours in uncertainty,
Hapless Bidder

Oh my.

Dear Hapless Bidder:

The RFP asked for a WMS.
That’s what you call it. Always.

Yours unequivocally,

We give the client what they asked for, using their terminology.

We also explain (if and only if they asked) exactly how we’re going to do that. In this case, we’re providing the work management system by using our established MMS (an EMS we bought from Acme) (a leader in this field no doubt). We say that once and then we call it by the client’s term thereafter: WMS.




  1. Jim Taylor

    I dunno. They asked for a Chevrolet. We have a Ford. Should we call it a Chevrolet because that’s what they asked for?

    On the other hand, I agree that if the client works in metric measurements, you have to quote in metric, not in imperial.

    But other standards should not matter. Just because the client’s (old-fashioned) language assumes a male white engineer to supervise the job, it shouldn’t be relevant that ours is female and Asian, or Black.

    Jim T

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Jim T – If they must have a Chevrolet, we shouldn’t be bidding a Ford under any name. If we want to try to sell that switch, then we have to be clear we’re not giving them what they specified and show them why it’s as good or better. But we should never unthinkingly use our internal jargon instead of the client’s jargon. As for inclusivity – a different issue, and you’re right.

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