We share three sets of questions that will protect you from responding to a Response for Proposal that you probably will not win.
For an introduction to Nazca and our Sales Acceleration and Enablement Tools, take a look at these three Quick Reference Guides:
Responding to a Response for Information, if you do it regularly, will be quick and should not take too much time, assuming you have a good track record of winning Response for Proposals or RFPs.
If you are investing a significant amount of time responding to RFIs and have a poor track record winning RFPs, I recommend you treat RFIs no different to the guidance we provide responding to RFPs.
Your Three Questions for responding to RFPs
Your Sales Process Development Platform guides you to answer providing your opinion to these three questions.
- RFP Clarity: Rate the clarity & completeness of the RFP?
- Resourcing: Rate your ability to deliver a quality response within the deadline?
- Influence: Rate the extent to which you influenced the RFP?
Review the RFP clarity
You are asked to Rate your ability to meet the requirements, providing your feedback between 1 and 10 where 1=Risk, 10=Confident.
Your opinion score is used to calculate your overall RFI/RFP confidence score that is displayed in the lead/opportunity scorecard dashboard, as well as the My Scorecards dashboard.
You should rate your ability to meet the RFP requirements based on your confidence you can address the critical operational conflicts.
Warning: Be honest when scoring your opinion. Your reliability and competency will directly affect the level of trust you earn from your management and those who depend upon your win rate.
You need to consider who has written the RFI/RFP. Sometimes authors lack a realistic understanding and include everything. Sometimes, authors include everything. Be careful if you plan to respond, you must base this decision on three factors.
- Your experience and precedents successfully winning similar RFPs.
- Your ability to remove offending obstacles and challenges outlined in the RFI/RFP. These obstacles are the main contributors to the conflicts that are hurting the business. Removing them you must be able to demonstrate measurable operational cost reductions, competitive advantages gained, and/or compliance benefits mitigating quantifiable risks to the business.
- Check this is not a regulated process that dictates the highest scores are selected. If it is, check the rules surrounding the response and selection process before setting your score.
Review your ability to Resource your response
Caution, are you satisfying a procurement process?
Receiving an RFI/RFP unexpectedly must be considered a 'red flag'. Is there an incumbent better placed to win?
You are asked If it were your money, confident you would win? responding with 1=Risk, 10=Confident sets your score. This question is intentionally geared to play on your emotions.
A valuable tip to remain objective responding to RFPs is to consider the investment you are committing your company to, which includes your own and your colleagues time and resources, is being paid for from your own pocket.
Have you have unexpectedly received an RFI/RFP?
Procurement Teams typically have to follow a selection process that normally requires a minimum of three submissions. Usually, two are taken through to final selection.
This usually involves a 'bake-off' shortlisting suppliers with a challenge. These challenges are performed under pressure, on-site with the client. Occasionally this involves handing over a configured pilot solution to the client to perform their own test.
These are extremely resource and time-intensive engagements that you should avoid unless you are confident you can win.
Keep checking if there is an incumbent better positioned to win. When receiving an RFI/RFP always pass it through the Company and Contact Disqualification Checklist before committing to respond.
Review the extent to which you influenced the RFP?
You are asked is you are confident there are no competitor traps? Responding with 1=Risk to 10=Confident sets your score.
This question is intended to focus you on objectively reviewing the RFP and looking for areas where an incumbent could have influenced the writing of the RFP.
A 'Golden Rule' for RFP Responses is "If you have not influenced or have a relationship with the company issuing an RFP, carefully consider whether to qualify out".
Note I said, "…RFP". Typically a Request For Information proceeds a Request For Proposal. You should have expected to have been included in the RFI process.
Check whether there was an RFI if you were not included. If there was, ask your contact why you were not included. Make sure you are connected to a contact in authority to give you a truthful and honest response. If you do not have a satisfactory answer, qualify out unless you are absolutely confident you can win.
Next, check which of your competitors are better placed to win. Look for signs whether one of the competitors could have influenced the RFP creation and laid 'trap questions' that favour them over you and other competitors.
RFP traps are questions that position a competitive solution to win that you would struggle to deliver. Do not answer these questions alone. Review them as a team and include those who would support you deliver your company response should you proceed.
How your RFP scoring works
If the combined score of all three opinion questions is 80% or higher, the score in both the Scorecard dashboard and the My Scorecards dashboard will have a green traffic light.
You should be aiming to achieve a green traffic light score before committing your and your business to respond. If amber, make sure you have a good reason for responding and have the support of those whom you are relying on to deliver a winning response.
If your combined score is between 40% - 70%, the dashboards for the RFI/RFP conversation brick will display an amber traffic light.
And if your combined score is 30% or less, the RFI/RFP conversation brick will display a red traffic light.
Take a few minutes to walk through with us qualifying an RFP
Grab a coffee, or cuppa tea, sit back and let us for the next ten minutes walk you through how using My Scorecards included with the Sales Process Development Platform, you can hit the ball out of the park managing your time and strengthening your sales pipeline by better managing your time qualifying RFIs and RFPs.
What is my next step?
Get in contact with us and we will:
- Lead you through a discovery allowing us to understand your concerns, wants, and needs.
- Show you what's possible and how using Nazca and the Onboarding we can solve the problem to help achieve your business objectives.
- Listening to you.
- Make the return on investment (ROI) case clear so you can present a compelling business case internally to invest in Nazca and plan with us your sales team onboarding programme.