RE: Know of courses on writing RFP responses?

Subject: RE: Know of courses on writing RFP responses?
From: "Mike Hiatt" <mhiatt -at- vocaldata -dot- com>
To: "Al Geist" <al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 3 Feb 2004 13:11:50 -0600

Lots of good advice about writing proposal responses. I had about four years of wirting them and three years of supporting people who wrote them.

A couple of points I'd like to add:

-Hard as it may be, put on your marketing hat. This is selling your's company's solution to the customer.
-Try to never say no - literally. We used to get creative (without lying) to respond to questions where we either didn't do exactly what they asked for and just plain didn't do it at all. Try to provide an alternative or, at worst, why they don't need to do it at all (replacement features/technology).
-Be sure to read all of the RFP thoroughly. I often found technical issues in sections labeled contractual and contractual issues in sections labeled as technical requirements.
-Al's correct - be sure you understand the playing field. Your salesperson should know if the RFP was influenced by another vendor and how to counteract that. Also understand how the RFP will be reviewed and the winner selected.
-I have no idea how big your company is, but don't be afraid to go to anyone in the company for information. You're answering the RFP, you have a need to know the answers to the questions. Financial and contracts people will let you know what you can't tell the customer. Others may have insights on how to respond to thorny issues.
-Submit on time. There is probably a time and date for the proposal to be submitted. Do not miss it. Period. Figure out how much time it will take to get it delivered and have it there early. The ship date becomes your real deadline for completing the response. Make sure you respond to all the questions first and tweak as you have time. When ship time arrives, ship. They'll live with an occassional typo or funny page break.

Writing proposals, especially because of the deadlines, can be nerve-wracking, but it is a very educational experience. I got my start in telecom doing that and from there moved to tech pubs. As a former journalist, the deadlines didn't bother me and working on different projects with different solutions was really interesting.

Mike Hiatt
Manager, Tech Pubs
VocalData, Inc.
Dallas, TX (yep, that one)
mailto:mhiatt -at- vocaldata -dot- com

-----Original Message-----
From: bounce-techwr-l-86349 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
[mailto:bounce-techwr-l-86349 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com]On Behalf Of Al Geist
Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2004 12:46 PM
Subject: Re: Know of courses on writing RFP responses?

<This was great stuff. Similar to what I learned over the years doing proposal responses.>

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