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It's all About the Evidence when Responding to RFP's

By Michel Theriault |

Proposal reviewers automatically assume there will be pure marketing and fluff in the proposals they review. You can differentiate yourself and dispel that perception by providing detailed, concise and relevant evidence that supports what you've written.

Not only is generic marketing language unconvincing, it will lead the reviewers to doubt the validity of your entire proposal if most of what they read is the same type of sales material.

That doesn't mean you can't do a sales pitch, it simply means you need to anchor it in real information and examples, not empty language. You can do this by demonstrating what you say with examples from your past experience, or showing how it will impact specifically on the client, using their own situation as an example.

Saving money, improving services, reducing turnaround time, responding to and resolving client problems quickly and implementing unique or innovative techniques can be very powerful evidence of what you can do for the client.

You can also include quotes from other clients to support your examples, or use research and information from other well-known and reputable organizations to support your point. For instance, in a proposal response where an innovative and very different approach was proposed as a solution, the company included statistics and references from a well-regarded research organization to give credibility to their approach and satisfy concerns they knew would be raised by the client during the evaluation process.

The ability to provide evidence that demonstrates and supports what you are proposing in a concrete way is an important part of your strategy to increase your credibility and differentiate yourself from your competition. Start to source the supporting information early in the process, and make it a requirement of the proposal contributors. When you see an area of the proposal that doesn't have credible evidence to support it, find evidence and include it in the proposal.

Getting this evidence from within your own organization can be hard. The people you talk to often can't think of solid examples or evidence, and even if they do, they often don't recognize the examples as being relevant - to them, it's just part of the job. Clearly outline your intent and the purpose of the information you're trying to gather, and interrogate subject matter experts to draw it out.

It's compelling and powerful evidence for the reviewers to evaluate you with. All you need to do is find it and add it to your proposal response.

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