Should you respond to RFPs? Spoiler alert: your chances are better than you think!

It’s been a big debate in out office too. Responding to RFPs takes tons of effort, and losing is demoralizing. So we decided to put RFP responses to the back burner.

But we shouldn’t dismiss anything on gut feeling alone, so we did some research that changed our minds!

In our research, we spoke to dozens of:

  • personal contacts,
  • experts from the Clarity.fm platform,
  • Inc5000 business owners we interviewed for our B2BNXT.com blog, etc.

The majority were adamant about NOT responding to RFPs:

“They’re a waste of time and resources better spent elsewhere”
“These go out to hundreds of companies so your chances are negligible”
“You’ll have to go to (price) war because it all comes back to price”

But we also heard some very convincing anecdotal evidence from RFP writers (those that put out RFPs in order to hire vendors).

Your RFP response may have a probability to win as high as 30-40%!

Only a handful end up responding and meeting the criteria

Did you know… A typical RFP indeed goes out to hundreds of companies. But only a handful end up responding and meeting the criteria. So the odds of winning are actually pretty good.

Why is that?

  1. A very small fraction of your competitors believe that they have a fighting chance to win an RFP. If everyone assumes that it all goes down to price… who’s left responding to RFPs?
  2. Very few companies know where to find RFPs and don’t monitor databases
  3. Even fewer companies have the in-house resources to systematically respond to RFPs

What would happen if you shifted your mindset that your probability of success is not <1% but rather 25-40%?

But you still need to bring your A-game

This doesn’t mean that you can phone it in

This doesn’t mean that you can phone it in. Just use one of the RFP templates off the Internet, hire an intern to fill out some company info, and start submitting it to all RFP requests.

Because a) there WILL be a few strong competitors that also participate in the RFP process; and b) the company putting out the RFP sees your response as a reflection of what quality of work they should expect from you.

What does it mean to bring your A-game?

Demonstrate clearly that you understand the client’s business

Demonstrate clearly that you understand the client’s business & objectives. And make an even clearer case for your value proposition.

How are you uniquely qualified to solve their problem?

What results should they expect?

What objections can you address upfront?

By the end, they should be blinded so much by your qualifications and the value you can add to their business so price barely comes into play.

The best way to boost your RFP win rate? Convert your RFP into a short explainer animation.

Turn 100 pages of text that nobody’s going to ‘get’ to a 3-5 minute explainer

You can spend an hour or send them 100 pages of text explaining how you’re different and better. Unfortunately, nobody’s going to ‘get’ it.

(I can give you the scientific reasons why that’s the case over a call, but it’s a longer discussion and outside the scope of this post)

A 3-5 minute explainer animation will help your RFP response stand out and get you to the top of the pile. The RFP reviewer will ‘get’ your value proposition right away.

And at the RFP review meeting you can get all the stakeholders on the same page FAST. And then your subject matter experts can swoop in to answer questions. Time is of the essence during those meetings: the team that addresses the most objections wins!

The bottom line?

It’s worth revisiting your position against responding to RFPs

It’s worth revisiting your position against responding to RFPs. And you want to put your best foot forward… perhaps taking advantage of our very cost-effective solutions where you can create 1 video and repurpose it for many RFPs.

Maybe you can start by targeting RFPs with bigger clients than your average project. Give it a shot for a few months and compare RFP to other channels for winning business.

We’ve also written about 3 ways to make your RFP response truly stand out, demonstrate you’re a cutting edge vendor with your approach and materials, and further increase your win rate.

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