👷🏼‍♂️ WORK IN PROGRESS 👷🏼‍♂️


The typical round of Q&A that follows receiving the …

👷🏼‍♂️ WORK IN PROGRESS 👷🏼‍♂️


The typical round of Q&A that follows receiving the RFP, and whereby the Q&As from all suppliers are published back to all, is always tricky to manage.

On the one hand, asking great questions (especially ones that challenge the client's thinking, and positions unique abilities of your solution at the same time) is a critical step in the sales process.

On the other hand, knowing that your questions (and the client's answers) will be seen by your competitors, limits what you want them to see, so as to not disclose your position and sales angles.

Finding the balance is key.

One workaround is to send "safe" questions within the deadline, and send the best questions either shortly before the submission deadline (though in very process-oriented companies, they will publish follow-up questions to everyone too), or even within your submission as part of the intro.

Asking thoughtful questions is a critical piece in winning a RFP in my opinion - I have an unfinished blog post about that sitting in my Drafts since forever :)

It shows that time has been taken to understand the needs, rather than provide cookie-cutter answers based on assumptions.

It’s an opportunity to sell, position strong points of one’s offering, challenge the client’s needs, establish trust, identify new sales angles, provide more contextual and relevant answers in the submission, etc..

Even better are questions that are beyond the  requirements/needs listed in the RFP, especially important for the biggest, more strategic RFPs - this shows forward thinking and a more “consultant”-like approach, helping establish oneself as a more strategic partner.

Though one should be careful/strategic about questions to submit at this stage, when answers will be provided to all contenders, as it risks unmasking you/your sales strategy to competitors (ie they can then counter/attack you in their own submission).

So I keep those questions for the submission itself, and indicate the impact depending on the answer or clarify during the pitch.

Examples of generic RFP questions:

what solution(s) are you using/have you been using so far?

what is making you run this RFP versus the status quo?


RFP Tools

The challenge with those tools on the seller side, is that it outputs cookie-cutter answers most of the time, lacking personalisation to the client/opp and missing sales points opportunities.

If generic answers are really good (from a Sales perspective), then it can be useful to scale without impacting close ratio.

But mostly it’s used to catalog dry answers, that do nothing except “checking boxes” - imho this leads to scaling the internal RFP process but hinders the win ratio.

Key for it to work is to have a proper pass done manually by SE + AE - both adding (Sales) value where possible.