We all have been there…spent a ton of time on an RFP and got “nothing”. If you look back at some of the RFPs you have responded to, did you feel like you were guessing about what it would take to win? I certainly had a few early in my career…not a great feeling. Winning more RFPs is directly connected to your preparation long before the RFP is issued.
How to prepare for an upcoming RFP
This is about identifying what you DO and DO NOT know. Critical information you need includes:
- Customer goals (for the RFP)
- Decision process (steps)
- Decision criteria
- Players and their roles in the decision process
- Competitors (including doing nothing different)
Outline what you DO NOT know and make a plan to pursue that information long before the RFP comes out.
What is next?
Important steps as you pursue information you need:
- Take time on a recurring basis to “stop and evaluate” how you are doing
- Leverage every possible opportunity to improve your position in the account and the value the customer perceives is available from your company
- Use what you learn before the RFP to guide how you respond
The good news is that you likely have some new RFPs coming up. I know many sales professionals that start their preparation 6 – 12 months ahead of when they anticipate an RFP. Look over the horizon…what RFPs do you anticipate? Even if you do not win in the short-term, you may start some important working relationships that payoff down the road. Be prepared…you will like the results!
Feel free to contact me directly for ideas and/or help on this or other topics!
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