7 Strategies for Responding When RFP Requirements are Bigger than the Page Count
What do you do when you’re handed a 50-page statement of work (SOW) in an RFP but are restricted to just 10 pages for your technical response? It’s a common challenge for proposal writers.
Here are seven strategies to help you effectively address all RFP requirements within those 10 precious pages.
1: Create a Compliance Matrix, Detailed Outline, and Proposal Design
Start by creating a detailed compliance matrix. Use the matrix to create a detailed proposal outline. Then, use the outline to create a design for each page that optimizes the space without building a wall of words. This approach helps maintain clarity and ensure compliance.
2: Prioritize the Essentials
Identify and prioritize the core requirements of the RFP. Focus on what the client values most, ensuring these non-negotiables are covered within the limited space. Address remaining requirements more generally. This will ensure you cover the critical bases within the limited space.
3: Facilitate the Evaluator’s Compliance Review
Don’t let your proposal get rejected for noncompliance. If permissible, provide a complete compliance matrix in the document’s body; if not, provide a compliance roadmap in your section headings. Another option is briefly explaining how the proposal is compliant in the introduction.
4: Use Clear and Concise Language
In a limited space, every word counts. Opt for clear, concise language that gets straight to the point. Avoid overly technical jargon and lengthy explanations. Showcase past projects, case studies, or client testimonials demonstrating your ability to meet the RFP requirements. This builds credibility and reassures the client of your competence.
5: Create Visual Aids and Graphics
Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Incorporate charts, graphs, and infographics to convey complex information more efficiently. Visual aids can help you condense data and make your proposal visually appealing.
6: Use Appendices for Supporting Details
If allowed, use appendices for supplementary information. Include detailed specifications, timelines, or additional documentation that may not be critical but is useful for reference.
7: Collaborate and Edit
Enlist the help of your team to review and edit your proposal rigorously. Every section must be as concise and impactful as possible. Another alternative is using artificial intelligence (AI) to help reduce your page count.
Navigating the challenges of condensing a 50-page RFP into a 10-page proposal requires a strategic approach. By prioritizing, outlining, using concise language, incorporating visuals, leveraging appendices, and ruthlessly editing, you can maximize the impact of your response within the given constraints. With these strategies in your toolkit, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle even the most extensive RFPs.
By Brenda Crist, Vice President at Lohfeld Consulting Group, MPA, CPP APMP Fellow
Lohfeld Consulting Group has proven results specializing in helping companies create winning captures and proposals. As the premier capture and proposal services consulting firm focused exclusively on government markets, we provide expert assistance to government contractors in Capture Planning and Strategy, Proposal Management and Writing, Capture and Proposal Process and Infrastructure, and Training. In the last 3 years, we’ve supported over 550 proposals winning more than $170B for our clients—including the Top 10 government contractors. Lohfeld Consulting Group is your “go-to” capture and proposal source! Start winning by contacting us at www.lohfeldconsulting.com and join us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
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