Our 5 steps to RFP-winning proposals

Last updated by Brecht Carnewal Brecht Carnewal on 2023-04-29

Winning RFP bids is a critical aspect of many businesses' success. However, the process of submitting proposals can be challenging and time-consuming, with a low success rate. Here are 5 steps that will increase your chances of success exponentially:

Assemble a team

Define required competencies

Assembling a strong and competent team is the first step towards winning an RFP bid. A team with the right mix of skills, knowledge, and experience is critical to creating a proposal that will stand out from the competition.

Example: By having a Product Onwer take care of reviewing requirements, they can also fine-tune their roadmap to these requirements and make commitments for deliveries.

Define responsibilities

Each member of the team should have a clearly defined role and responsibility. This will ensure that everyone knows what is expected of them and can contribute to the proposal in a meaningful way. This ensures everyone knows what’s expected of them.

Create a diverse team

Diversity can take many forms, such as gender, ethnicity, age, background, education, and more. By creating a team with individuals from different backgrounds and experiences, you can tap into a wider range of skills and knowledge, which can help you to craft a more compelling proposal that stands out from the competition.We recommend involving people that have never done RFPs before as well. This way, you help grow their career and make sure you’ll have a diverse team ready to tackle these proposals.

Read and process the RFP


When it comes to responding to tenders, the first and most crucial step is to read the document carefully, including all attachments and instructions. Make sure to take note of any mandatory requirements, such as deadlines, deliverables, or formatting.

Understand the requirements

This means taking the time to understand the requirements, scope, and objectives of the project your customer is envisioning.

Understanding the objectives of the project is essential to crafting a compelling proposal. You need to demonstrate to the client that you understand their goals and can help them achieve those goals through your proposed solution. To do this effectively, you need to show that you have a deep understanding of the client's business and the challenges they face, and that your proposal is tailored to meet their unique needs.

Knowledge is power

A thorough understanding of the bid will allow you to respond effectively and efficiently and increase your chances of winning.

Pay close attention to the evaluation criteria provided in the RFP. This will help you tailor your proposal to meet the client's expectations and requirements.

Identify gaps or risks

Identifying any gaps or risks in the project scope or requirements should be a walk in the park after reading the request for proposal. This will help you prepare a proposal that addresses potential issues and provides solutions.

Process the RFP by creating a timeline of deliverables.

Track key dates Make note of any key dates or deadlines provided in the RFP, such as the deadline for submitting questions or the proposal due date. This will ensure that you don't miss any critical dates and submit your proposal on time.

Leverage technology for success

Tools like Tended.ai help you keep track of your RFP’s due dates, gaps, risks and responses through its strong project management capabilities.

Ask questions

Identify your contact person

Identify the appropriate contact person listed in the RFP and reach out to them with your questions. This could be a project manager or procurement officer. Remember: they are just another human, and chances are high they want to help you succeed!

To the point

Demonstrate your interest and commitment to the project, but do it in a concise way. Avoid lengthy explanations or extraneous information that may confuse the recipient.

Outshine the competition

Identify your competition and assess their strengths and weaknesses. This will help you identify areas where your team can differentiate itself and provide value to the client. Asking tactical questions leveraging this knowledge of strengths and weaknesses can steer the bid in your favour.

Create the proposal

Develop a proposal outline

A proposal outline provides a structure for your proposal and helps you ensure that you cover all the necessary sections. Your proposal outline should include the cover letter, executive summary, introduction, project description, timeline, budget, qualifications, and conclusion. This outline will guide you as you write your proposal.

Write a compelling executive summary

The executive summary is one of the most important parts of your proposal. It is a brief overview of your proposal, and it should provide the reader with a clear understanding of what you are proposing. The executive summary should highlight the key benefits of your proposal and why it is the best solution for the client.

Be complete

Address all requirements. Respond to each question asked and providing all the information requested.

  • Be honest. If you don’t fully comply with a requirement, it’s better
  • Highlight your qualifications and expertise in the area of the project. This may include a description of your team's experience, qualifications, and certifications.
  • Using visuals such as charts, graphs, and diagrams can help to illustrate your proposal and make it more engaging and understandable for the reader.
  • Provide examples of similar projects you've worked on in the past. Share case studies or testimonials from satisfied clients to demonstrate your track record of success.


Before submitting your proposal, make sure to edit and proofread it thoroughly. The response should be well-organized and easy to read. Use headings, bullet points, and other formatting tools to make your proposal easy to navigate. But be aware: some proposals require you to follow certain formatting.

Ensure that there are no errors or typos that could undermine the credibility of your proposal. Seek professional copywriting support if you require it.

Refine your process

Take feedback to heart

Review the feedback you received from the client after submitting your proposal. Look at the areas where you fell short and work on improving them. Incorporate any feedback received into your RFP response process.

Analyse your data

Collect and analyze data from your past RFP responses. Look for patterns and trends that can help you improve your process. For example, analyze the types of questions that are commonly asked, and ensure that you have a robust process for addressing them.

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