"It takes a village" is certainly true for many things—including the development of effective sales proposals. In today's corporate world, collaboration is king; that applies to the RFP process, too.

Considering the volume of information needed, the wide variety of product and service details and the input required from subject matter experts (SMEs), it now takes on average 3-10 people to successfully complete an RFP response—sometimes up to 20 people. It's no easy feat.

And it's not just about the content, it's also about the project management processes and workflows required to assemble and package all of the required content into a best-in-class document. RFP team members need to supervise the entire RFP process to make sure everyone's time is used wisely, requirements are addressed, and deadlines are met—often with quick turnaround.

So how can organizations make sure RFP projects become true collaborative efforts? Follow these six best-practices.

1. Think in terms of Is-Does-Mean

Subject-matter experts, typically in product management, services, or engineering, can often be too close to the topic, producing responses that are too product detailed and which fail to address the question, "What does it mean to the prospect?"

To overcome that hurdle, it's important to ask them to generate responses using the Is-Does-Means method:

  • What is the offering?
  • What does it do?
  • What does this mean for the buyer? (Does it save money, increase quality, grow the business maximize ROI?)

That third question is the most important, but it is too often overlooked.

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image of Jeffrey Weil

Jeffrey Weil is general manager of proposal automation software provider Upland Qvidian.

LinkedIn: Jeffrey Weil