A RFP is a formal invitation to bid for the supply of goods and/or services. A tender or bid is the formal application to be considered for this supply. Tender or bid writing is a competitive obligation for any company that wishes to improve its profitability and turnover. It stands to reason that a winning bid and tender writer is a prized member of staff on whose shoulders much rests.
So where are these RFPs? Some are found by sales staff keeping close contact with potential suppliers but many are found on major consolidation sites set up for just this purpose. From government contracts to small one off writing jobs or major IT and infrastructure projects there is a site that holds information on numerous of these sites. One of the first jobs for the bid management group of a company is to seek out the appropriate sites and register for their newsletters.
If you do not have a bid manager or a bid writer, these can even be found on these sites by placing your own request.
Once you have found your RFP and ascertained that your company has the ability to perform the project for a profit it is time to read the RFP. What is the potential client seeking? How do they want the project performed and what do they seem to be emphasising as most important. Now time to check out the company. Who are their potential clients? What is their price point likely to be? What kind of products and services do they deal with? Now look to your potential competitors? How can you stand out from them?
Once you have all this information you can start writing your tender. Be precise, easy to understand and concise. Follow the rules set out in the RFP and ensure that your differentiate your company from others. Be accurate, spell correctly, use good grammar and graphics to explain complex matters. Do not exaggerate or outright lie. Many tender documents are used as part of a contract and the future client will be expecting you to deliver what you promised at the price you quoted. A word about pricing – make sure that you leave some reasonable profit for your company or you will not be improving, merely standing still for a lot of effort, or worse still losing money.
If this sounds too difficult for your company, then you need to obtain the services of a good tender writer. Ask for references and ensure that your potential tender writers have full details of what you expect from them and when. Timescales are always tight, but try and allow your bid writer time to write a great bid for you.
Expect to give a lot of information to your bid writer. Even the best of them cannot read minds. They may know the market area, and it is better if they do, but they will not know the inner workings of your company and its strategies. A good tender writer will tell you what they need to know. A great tender writer will know how to present this information in the best possible manner so that you have a great chance of winning.