High five! That company you’ve been crushing on has finally submitted an RFP (“request-for-proposal”). They’re interested. You’ve hooked them. Game on! Now all you have to do is reel them in, win them over, and close the deal. No sweat. You’ve got this. And we’re going to help by showing how to win an RFP like the winner you are.
Maybe this is your first RFP. Maybe it’s your thousandth. Either way, the RFP process can be nerve-wracking. Having only one shot to prove you and you alone can make someone’s dreams come true is always intimidating.
But with the right attitude, game plan and tools you can easily put the odds in your favor, and turn that prospect’s request into a resounding YES!
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- How to Improve Your Odds of Winning an RFP
- The Most Important Component of a Winning Response
- How to Use Pathmatics to Win an RFP
Improve Your Odds of Winning an RFP
Here are four things you need to know in order to craft a winning RFP response.
Does the RFP Match Your Ideal Customer?
It’s enticing to respond to every RFP that comes through your door, but if the issuer doesn’t match your typical sales qualified lead, it’s not worth pursuing.
Do You Have a Pre-Existing Relationship?
Is your RFP response the first time the issuer is seeing your name? Then you’ve probably already lost. Get to know the issuer and, more importantly, make sure they get to know you. Identify the decision-makers and reach out to them. Ask for a meeting. Follow-up. Invite them to tour your agency. They might refuse, but at least they’ll start becoming familiar with your name.
Are You Positioned as an Authority Online?
Rest assured, the issuer will do their research. Your digital footprint needs to be up-to-date, active, and authoritative. Most issuers tend to form their decision well before receiving your RFP response. How do they get there? By having a pre-existing relationship (see above) and researching you online.
- Are You Sticking to the Project Scope?
Consider the RFP process from the customer’s point of view. It’s a fact-finding mission for them. So make sure your RFP response is clear, concise, and to the point. Stick to the project scope and remove anything that isn’t immediately relevant. If it doesn’t directly provide a solution to their problem, it’s fluff.
The answer to all those needs to be YES if you want to win your next RFP. But of course, these will only get you so far. In order to truly be successful you’ll need one thing above all else.
The Most Important Component of a Winning RFP Response
At its core, an RFP response should convey to a prospect:
- A full understanding of THEIR needs and concerns
- A clear plan for helping THEM achieve what they want (with a timeline and budget for achieving it)
In other words: It’s all about the customer.
Keep your response customer-focused. That’s what sets the RFP winners from the losers.
Sharing agency awards, testimonials, team bios and metrics is nice, but the prospect doesn’t really care. (They probably already know all that anyway from researching you online.) All they really care about is what you can do for THEM.
To win an RFP, reassure a prospect you understand their problems and have the right solutions.
How do you do that? By doing your research.
How to Use Pathmatics to Win an RFP
There’s a lot of reasons to love Pathmatics Explorer. It does some pretty amazing things. One of the most valuable being to help sales teams win new business.
There’s no better way to show prospects the value you can provide than by showing you’ve done your homework. Pathmatics Explorer is so thorough at providing business insight that you’ll be sharing data with prospective clients about their business that they didn’t even know about.
That’s what we call the WOW factor. And any RFP response with it is sitting pretty. Here’s how you can use Pathmatics to win your next RFP:
Get an Overview of a Prospect’s Budget
With Pathmatics Explorer you can instantly find out how much a company is spending on advertising, over any time period.
In addition, you’ll get a snapshot of the impressions they’re getting, as well as how many unique ads they’ve used to get there.
Then break this data down further by device and platform. Here’s a look into Coca Cola’s advertising on Facebook.
In just a matter of seconds, we’ve found out that this prospect spent $7.05 million over the last 12 months on Facebook and earned 918 million impressions using primarily video posts. They primarily target iOS users and they spend the most in California demographics.
That’s a massive amount of insight, and all we did was type in the company’s name.
Looking deeper we can find out how they allocate that budget. Here we see the site’s they advertise on for mobile, and how much they spend on each.
We don’t have to tell you the value-add here. Every RFP response needs a specific, accurate and realistic budget plan. With this spend data, you can easily get there.
View Historical Data to Set Realistic Milestones
A key aspect of a successful RFP response is to set tangible benchmarks and milestones. There is no shortage of data, charts and graphs available via Pathmatics Explorer to help formulate this plan.
Below is a more detailed look into Coca Cola’s historical data, looking at their monthly impressions over the past two years on mobile.
And here’s the monthly spend it took to earn those impressions.
Notably, we found the company spends a monthly average of $124,300 on mobile advertising.
From that alone we can show a client where they’ve been and, more importantly, give realistic data on where we can take them.
Furthermore, it’s important to provide concrete evidence of the results we can provide. You can easily do this by using Pathmatics Explorer to search for your past clients and find similar data demonstrating the positive return on investment you’ve achieved for customers in the same areas.
View Past Creative for Inspiration
The best way to understand what matters most to a company is by looking at their current brand messaging. With Pathmatics Explorer you can hone in on a company’s priorities, voice, and style by pulling up all their past ad creative.
Use this insight as inspiration to show that you intimately understand the prospect, what they want to achieve, and how you can help them achieve it. (Remember, it’s all about the customer.)
To further help you prioritize your gameplan, Pathmatics explorer further breaks down this creative insight according to spend, impressions and campaign lifespan.
We’re not suggesting you throw all this data at the prospect. But it should help you get a firm grasp of their digital strategy and will help you hone in your RFP response to be as relevant and valuable as possible.
Backup Recommendations with Fact-Driven Visuals
To win an RFP your response needs to be as impactful as possible in the shortest time possible. That means you should keep it simple and skimmable.
To boost readability and convey a strong message you should also use charts and graphs throughout.
Fortunately, Pathmatics Explorer can provide tailor made infographics, or even PowerPoint presentations, about a prospect on a whim. Just hit the “Export” button and select the data you want to share.
With Pathmatics Explorer you can confidently make recommendations for optimizations and back them up with facts that are easily digestible. Use these visualizations to help your customers see the facts quickly and realize your impact instantly.
To Win an RFP Tailor Your Pitch with Pathmatics
Knowing how to win an RFP is never easy. That’s because every RFP is different. So gaining concrete intelligence about a prospect’s specific business is invaluable. The more you know about your prospect’s creative and buying strategies, the better you can tailor your RFP response to their needs.
By following the recommendations above, and using Pathmatics Explorer to convert your responses from guesses to hyper-targeting game plans, you will be able to do just that, and definitively turn that prospect’s request into a resounding YES!
A lover of fresh air, live music, sport & high performing teams. After the University of Colorado @ Boulder, Sam began his career improving the relationship between major digital advertisers & independent publishers. Currently Sam leads the Operations and Sales Development teams @ Pathmatics with a focus on pipeline growth, process optimization & market strategy.