Winning Less Than 50% of RFPs? Here’s why…

Most of the organizations I talk with and work with have a RFP win rate of no more than 30%. That means that for every three RFPs they respond to, they only win one of them. Sounds familiar? And we all know how much effort goes into the submission of a RFP response.

Here are three reasons why your RFP win rates are so low:

  1. You respond to too many RFPs. You have no way of identifying a good opportunity vs. a bad one, so you respond to everything. I recently worked with a client to reverse this problem and the results were immediate – higher win rate, higher revenues. All because they focused on those opportunities they had the best chance of winning and that afforded the largest growth opportunities.
  2. Too many people touch the RFP response. If you mapped out all the people that contributed to the submission of a RFP response, I bet it would look like a spider’s web. There’s no way all of those people are adding value and enhancing the response. I helped a client look at their RFP response process and helped them realize that, on average, 25 people touched a RFP response. I also helped them realize less than half of those were adding any value. Submission effort went down and win rate went up after implementing some changes around this.
  3. You don’t know what the customer really needs. Many organizations read the RFP document and respond to what is asked for. Don’t let the potential customer define your solution. You are the expert. You have done this before. Ask a lot of questions. Set up a meeting to find out their objectives. This can be extremely effective when done before the RFP ever comes out. I have helped a few clients be more proactive in this area and not only did they win more RFPs, but those RFPs were bigger than originally planned because my clients engaged in a discussion with the customer around THEIR objectives. Thus, they were able to offer better solutions than what the customer had originally envisioned.

Increasing your RFP win rate requires a different mindset and approach to what you have done before. In my first meeting with one client I told them that if they wanted to win more RFPs, they had to respond to fewer of them. I thought the executive was going to kick me out of the office. 12 months later, they had doubled their win rate and grown revenue by more than 10%. That is the reason why this is so important!