Often when an RFP is published many of the vendors that see it simply check to see if they are capable of performing the work and then they begin the process of submitting a proposal. Or in many cases, a CEO comes in on Monday morning sees a new RFP on GovSpend or some similar site and sends everybody chasing after that contract.
It takes time and research to put together a response to an RFP so it makes sense to consider whether the proposal is worth writing up and submitting. That’s where our next best practice comes into play. Before you start working away at your proposal ask yourself this question…”Can you win the contract?”
What are the chances that you’ll win the contract? Many vendors don’t take the time to think this question through. Have you ever met the customer? Does the customer know anything about the vendor? Do you understand the agency’s problems and real issues beyond what’s mentioned in the RFP? Do you know anything about who previously won contracts? How did they do and when was that contract last awarded?
Imagine you’re an agency searching for a vendor and you’re reviewing proposals in response to a published RFP. Now, what if one of those proposals came from a vendor you don’t recognize and haven’t had the chance to speak with. Compare that to a proposal from a vendor you’ve used before or has maybe already been pitching to you. Which one would you pick? This is how you should think about RFPs and how you want to line up your proposals with the right opportunities.
Answering these questions can save you time and effort if there is a great possibility that you won’t win the contract then it might not be worth it to write a proposal for this particular RFP. Instead, you could spend the time searching for opportunities more suited to your business.