In the B2B world, Requests for Proposals and responses to RFP are common currency, especially in the public sector. A request for proposal (RFP) response is an organization’s answers to a set of issues and a potential project to solve them published by a prospective customer. In a changing and extremely competitive environment, prospects demand a convincing argument from vendors before they make their mind and decide to sign on what is often a critical deal. This decision is made by a committee that evaluates all the accepted proposals. In other words, an RFP response is a critical sales collateral that has the power to make or lose a deal.
In this context, it is key that the document is thorough, polished and inspires trustworthiness. Therefore, from a marketing as well as a sales point of view, choosing the right format to build an effective RFP response is an important decision.
In this article, we will see the different benefits of the two most used formats to create RFP responses : Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Word.
What is an RFP and what is expected in an RFP response
What is an RFP ?
A Request for proposal or RFP is a business document that states a project, describes it and solicits bids from relevant contractors to complete it. Many organizations in the public and private sector and even governments use RFPs to launch their projects.
When publishing an RFP, the entity requesting the bids evaluates aspects such as the feasibility of the responses submitted, the companies that responded and their experience of the bidding company in similar projects. In a nutshell, they evaluate each bidder’s ability to undertake the project.
Requests for proposals are mostly used for complex projects that require the involvement of one or more contractors. These type of document describe :
- The organization publishing the RFP
- The project’s scope
- The project’s expectations and objectives
- The criteria that the bidders should meet
- The contract terms and conditions
- The bidding process
What is expected in an RFP response ?
Organizations can sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that, as long as their sales team properly negotiated with the prospect, the RFP response is more of a formality document rather than a key sales collateral. Unfortunately, this would be a grave mistake as an RFP response is about much more than simply putting into writing a plan for a prospect that has already decided on who they are going to choose for their project.
Naturally, an amazing proposal does not have the power to revive a deal that is already dead, but a weak proposal can certainly shut down an initially strong deal. The team’s attention to detail and commitment to the project presented in the RFP response really sets the tone for how they will handle the customer in the future.
In other words, the prospect needs to feel confident that your team cares about them and their specific needs. If they feel like they are not worthy of your team’s best efforts, they will not hesitate to choose that one competitor that submitted a customer-centric, well thought RFP response instead.
PowerPoint or Word : Which one is best for an RFP Response
Word for RFP Responses
Microsoft PowerPoint is a majorly used commercial word processor created by Microsoft. Microsoft Word is a part of the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software, but it can also be purchased as a stand-alone product.
Microsoft Word was launched in 1983, and has since had several new revised versions. It is available for both Windows and Apple operating systems.
Microsoft Word has three key benefits when it comes to creating RFP Responses :
- Great for writing extensive paragraphs and describe technical processes;
- Includes a “Table of Contents” functionality;
- Easy embedding of other “Objects” (such a PowerPoint objects or Excel sheets);
PowerPoint for RFP Responses
Microsoft PowerPoint is a widely used, powerful presentation software created by Microsoft. The program uses slides to convey information rich in multimedia. Microsoft PowerPoint is a part of the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software, but it can also be purchased as a stand-alone product.
Microsoft PowerPoint was launched in 1987, and has since had several new revised versions. It is available for both Windows and Apple operating systems.
Microsoft PowerPoint has three main benefits when it comes to creating RFP Responses :
- Increased design capabilities that allow a more visual end result;
- Better to handle multimedia (pictures, diagrams,video);
- More user friendly
Which software should you go for to create your RFP responses ?
We have quickly described what a prospect expects when it comes to RFP responses and the benefits of both Microsoft Word and Microsoft PowerPoint, the main softwares used to create them. Now, you might be wondering : which one is the best to create an RFP response ?
The answer is not that simple : it really depends on your needs. Microsoft Word is great for developing extensive RFP responses that include large paragraphs or describe complex technical processes.
On the other hand, Microsoft PowerPoint is a great option for a less scholarly result, with increased design capabilities that enable a more marketing oriented result.
In the current market, PowerPoint has gained momentum as companies start to pay more attention to the visual aspect of their sales collateral but Word is still widely used.
Whether you are working on Microsoft PowerPoint or Microsoft Word, Bricks.ai is a Sales Enablement all-in-one solution assembling hyper-personalized documents in seconds by meeting the needs of Sales, Marketing, and IT when it comes to the creation of sales collateral such as RFP responses.