Supplier checklist: Tips for writing winning RFx responses
Responding to RFxs efficiently and on time to increase your success rate takes a considerable amount of work. In this article, we’ll share our top 10 tips on how to win more work.
With average win rates on RFxs somewhere around 30-40%, all suppliers are interested in how to win more business! Here’s CompareCoOps top tips for winning more business when responding to RFxs.
- Read the RFx carefully and create a ‘compliance checklist’; what are the mandatories that you need to meet to make sure you are not ‘knocked out’. Responding after the deadline is an obvious one, but there may be others such as insurance levels, customer references or even word limits.
- What are the agency needs, both stated and unstated? Read the introduction and/or ‘background’ section of the RFx and specifications or scope of work. What is the problem they are trying to solve or the opportunity that they are trying to capitalize on? If the RFx is silent about risks, think about what risks the agency may be worried about; they may form part of their evaluation framework.
- Reflect upon how the agency’s needs align with your value proposition? Do you have a solution and how good a ‘fit’ is your solution with the agency’s needs?
- Make a ‘go/no-go’ decision. There are three key questions. Is the agency ready to buy (or are they just looking for a budgetary quote), will you win (or are you the ‘third quote?) and do you want to win (can you actually resource this job).
- Develop some win themes: why are you different from the other responders? The answer may be that you have done this before, or that you can solve the agency’s problems quicker, cheaper or better than your competitors. Be clear about why you are the best value, and make this a theme throughout your response.
- Answer the RFx questions making sure that the content adopts the format need/solution/proof. What is the question looking for (need) what is your answer that addresses that need (solution) and why is your response credible (proof).
- Avoid sales-speak! “We have a market-leading solution which makes us #1 in our field!” Instead, write “Other customers in your sector have chosen our solution on the basis that it kills 99.99% of germs without the need for toxic chemicals”.
- If you re-use content, make sure it mentions your win themes. Most of us recycle content, adapting a previous proposal to act as a template for subsequent proposals. That’s fine, but make sure that the win themes for this proposal are present (and delete references to the previous recipient!)
- Before you press send, read through your draft response and review against the compliance checklist. You can’t win if you get knocked out for a non-compliant response!
- Capture content for re-use in subsequent responses. Work towards having a ‘clause library’ of case studies and responses that you can re-use. You probably already do this for commonly asked questions like workplace health and safety and environmental policies, so gradually add to this so that you create a response library to reduce the time taken on subsequent proposals.
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