Questions About Using Standard Answers in RFPs

Subject: Questions About Using Standard Answers in RFPs
From: Syed Ahmed <SAhmed -at- DKSYSTEMS -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2003 16:17:26 -0500

Greetings Techwrlers!

My questions are primarily for the Sales Proposal Wranglers on this list. I
know that our own Mr. Keith Cronin and a few others list members regularly
battle such documents. I couldn't find relevant posts in the Techwrl
archives, so I'm looking for your guidance.

Some background: Our Sales Manager left the company a few months back, and
I've been assigned the task of editing and formatting all Sales documents,
such as Request for Proposals (RFP) and Request for Information (RFI). I've
been completing these tasks successfully, but without a Sales Manager to
overlook the entire process, and have become the driver of getting the
RFP/RFIs out the door with the highest level of quality we can provide.

The dilemma: We've adjusted to her absence and the sales force and
management has been quite pleased with my output. However, it's starting to
become my fulltime job, and I find myself having less time for technical
documentation. Having worked on over 30 sales docs thus far (all varying in
length and level of detail), I'm seeing trends in the questions that are
asked, and the product requirements they've submitted. I have seen mostly
all the questions asked in at least one other potential customer's Request
docs. Discussing these trends with our Vice President, I've suggested that a
repository (or something akin to it) of standard answers be created, so that
we have stock answers to provide to potential customers. This will hopefully
ensure that our external message is always consistent, and reduce the amount
of time we spend hunting down answers from previously submitted RFP/RFIs, or
creating new ones. He has agreed that a master answer list will indeed add
great value and raise productivity in this area of the business. He was *so*
pleased with this suggestion that he's assigned this project to a Sales
Associate and myself. Before we fully immerse ourselves into it, I have some

- Have you ever created such a list/repository?
- If not, how have you addressed this issue?
- What steps specifically did you take to achieve this goal? (For example,
I've suggested using three-five of the longest RFP/RFIs we've submitted, for
which we've won the contract, as a starting point).
- What was your delivery format? (I think a database would be overblown for
our purposes. I would like to keep this information in a spreadsheet, but
I'm open to other suggestions).
- Most importantly, has it truly reduced the amount of time you spend
gathering information, or do you still find yourself spending the same
amount of time customizing the answers for each potential customer?

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!


ps-can you please cc me when responding? I'm on digest.

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