Bredemarket and proposals, part one: RFx responses

If you saw my “two truths and no lies” post, you probably saw that I recently updated my Bredemarket and Proposal Services page and the accompanying collateral.

Excerpt from https://bredemarket.files.wordpress.com/2022/02/bmtprop-20220221a.pdf

It occurred to me that some of the acronyms in the red bullets above may be gobbledygook to some people, so I thought I’d delve into some of the bullets, beginning with the first one.

(Warning: post series ahead.)

The need for RFx response services

“RFx” is shorthand for a number of “request for” items, including requests for proposals, requests for information, and requests for comment. These RFx documents ask entities to submit a formal response in the format dictated by the RFx document. The response may be one page long, five pages long, or one thousand pages long. The response may include a simple narrative, or the entity may need to submit specific forms with specially formatted answers to dozens or hundreds or thousands of questions.

  • In the ideal world, the entity knows that the RFx document is coming, and has been working for years on its response. (How can you know how to respond when the RFX hasn’t even been issued? Know your customer.)
  • In the non-ideal world, an account manager goes to the proposal team and says, “Hey, our customer issued an RFP last week. I had no idea it was coming. But the customer really likes us, as long as we get our price down.”

In any case, an entity that wants to respond to an RFx needs to read the document and develop a response that puts the customer first (see Truth Number One here), complies with all requirements, scores high on the RFx’s evaluation criteria, is easy for an evaluator to evaluate (see Truth Number Two here), and wins the business.

Bredemarket’s solution for RFx response services

As you can see from my collateral, Bredemarket has assisted its clients with nine (so far) RFx responses, all of which were either responses to Requests for Information (RFIs), or responses to Requests for Proposal (RFPs).

There are differences between the two.

In the Request for Information stage, you still have an opportunity to shape the final procurement (if a final procurement takes place). For example, if you offer a green widget and your competitors do not, your RFI response will make an important point about how the customer will benefit from a green widget, and a solution without a green widget is substandard.

(One important point here. I didn’t say that the RFI response should say that XYZ Company offers a green widget that is a technological marvel. I said that the RFI response should say that the customer will benefit from a green widget.)

In the Request for Proposal stage, the time to shape the final procurement has already passed. (This is why you engage with a customer years before the customer issues an RFP.) At this stage you have to go all out and win the business, telling the customer how they will benefit from your solution.

The mechanics of writing an RFx response have varied between my clients. In some cases, I have worked with one or two people to come up with the response, and the client then sent it out. In other cases, I have worked as part of a team of dozens of people in multiple companies to come up with the response, and followed multiple processes to ensure that the proposal is not only sound, but is approved at the corporate level of the client. Some processes are dictated by the client, but some clients have no processes which means that I need to implement a simple one to get the job done.

Do you need Bredemarket’s RFx response services?

If you need help responding to an RFP, RFI, or related document:

Oh, and by the way, Bredemarket offers more than RFx response services. Stay tuned for the next installment on sole source responses.

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