Playbook: RFP Submission
Responding to a Request for Proposal (RFP) is a critical step for businesses seeking to secure new contracts and partnerships. RFP submissions are complex endeavors that require meticulous planning and a well-structured approach to ensure success. In this blog post, we will delve into the importance of an effective RFP submission process, provide a step-by-step playbook, and offer a free RFP Submission Template to help streamline your responses to RFPs.
This playbook is a FREE Industry template that can be tweaked or used as-is for your own organization or teams, in perpetuity. This contribution to the community was created after research on the current Industry best practices on the subject. However, this is only a guidance and needs to be modified as required, to best fit your needs. This template does not provide any assurances or guarantees. It also needs you to modify Roles, Tasks and Durations to those that best fit your specific needs.
The template provided for FREE DOWNLOAD covers the following sections:
The Need for a Structured RFP Submission Process
Before we explore the playbook steps, it’s essential to understand why a structured RFP submission process is crucial for organizations. RFPs represent valuable opportunities, and a well-organized approach can make all the difference in securing a contract. Here’s why having a playbook for RFP submissions is imperative:
Efficiency: A well-defined RFP submission process streamlines the entire procedure, reducing the risk of missed deadlines or incomplete submissions.
Clarity: A structured approach ensures that every member of the submission team understands their responsibilities and the overall strategy for responding to the RFP.
Consistency: Having a playbook in place ensures that all RFP responses align with your company’s values, objectives, and messaging.
Quality: A methodical process enables you to create well-thought-out, high-quality proposals that have a better chance of winning.
Now, let’s explore the steps in the playbook for RFP submissions.
The Playbook Template for Successful RFP Submission
Assess the Received RFP
The first step in RFP submission is to thoroughly assess the received RFP document. Look for criteria qualification requirements, such as the number of years in business, accreditation, and submission timelines, including vendor clarification, submission, review, and other stages.
Identify the Submission Team
Based on your internal processes, identify the team responsible for the RFP submission. This team typically includes an RFP Lead, Delivery Lead, Solution Architect, and other key roles. Initiate an initial meeting to share RFP details, the RACII matrix (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed), and timelines.
Understand Client Needs
Carefully examine the RFP to understand the client’s needs and requirements. Break down these requirements into relevant categories, such as process, technology, resources, compliance, and any other pertinent aspects.
Develop the Proposal Strategy
Create a proposal strategy that covers the positioning story, competitive strategy, pricing strategy, and any other aspects that will make your submission stand out. This strategy should be aligned with the client’s objectives and expectations.
Create an RFP Compliance Matrix
Develop an RFP compliance matrix that lists all the required submission items, along with associated timelines and responsible team members. This matrix serves as a roadmap to ensure that all requirements are met.
Connect with the Customer for Clarifications
If the RFP specifies a date for vendor clarifications, make sure to connect with the customer to seek any necessary clarifications or additional information. This step is vital for understanding the client’s needs accurately.
Complete Information Gathering
Gather all the required information and supporting documents in a shared repository. Ensure that each document is appropriately tagged and validated by the respective owners to maintain data accuracy.
Create Solutions as Needed
Depending on the RFP requirements, create solutions such as technical specifications, workflows, quality assurance plans, team structures, pricing models, or any other components necessary for the submission. These solutions should be validated by the relevant stakeholders.
Check for RFP Compliance
Review your submission to ensure that it complies with the RFP requirements and aligns with the compliance matrix. Verify that all mandatory items are included.
Formatting and Proofreading
Ensure that your submission is well-formatted and free of errors. Cross-check for any specific formatting requirements mentioned in the RFP.
Review All Required Attachments
Verify that all required attachments are included and that they are accurate and complete. This may include documents, links, videos, or other supplementary materials.
Submit the RFP Solution
Submit your RFP solution to the client within the specified deadline. Ensure that all appropriate artifacts and follow-up documents are included to support your submission.
Follow Up and Clarifications
If the RFP includes a predefined date for follow-up and clarifications, make sure to adhere to this schedule. Address any additional questions or concerns from the client promptly.
Presentation to the Client
Prepare for the presentation to the client, ensuring that all participants are ready and confirmed. Consider conducting a dry run before the actual presentation to ensure a smooth and confident delivery.
Evaluation and Next Steps
Evaluate the response and follow the instructions provided in the RFP regarding next steps. Once the process is complete, formally close the playbook, send a closure email to all stakeholders, and store relevant artifacts in an appropriate Knowledge Management System (KMS).25
A well-structured RFP submission process is a key element of any organization’s success in winning new contracts and partnerships. By following the playbook steps outlined in this blog post and using the provided template, you can enhance the efficiency and quality of your RFP responses. Approach RFP submissions with confidence, knowing that your submissions are aligned with your organization’s values and goals. Implement this playbook in your RFP submission process and increase your chances of securing valuable contracts and partnerships.