Getting the coach’s nod

Recent posts described the RFP contender spectrum and the importance of pre-RFP discovery appealing to the economic buyer, technical buyers and user buyers. Large procurement teams often include another member—the coach. Whenever a complex RFP attracts more than a half-dozen proposals, a coach often screens submissions to decide which go to the evaluation team. The rest are out of the game.

What coaches look for

The coach is all about compliance and process. He or she will sift through proposals to ensure bidders have addressed all compliance items, completed all sections, followed the “Instructions to Bidders,” and aligned with the RFP structure. Some coaches will even skim key sections for readability and clarity.

Keep the coach happy

To make sure the proposal you’ve spent weeks (or months) preparing gets evaluated, do the following:

  • Include a compliance matrix: If you’ve used a compliance matrix to manage your bid (as we advise), include it as an appendix. That gets you off to a good start with the coach.
  • Follow the Instructions to Bidders: Make a checklist and ensure you fulfill all items, including the formatting and delivery instructions.
  • Emphasize the right things: Most RFPs include scoring criteria. Allocate section page counts to align with the points weighting in the RFP.
  • Structure your response: Use an ATOC to organize your proposal and include a table of contents. Use strong heads and subheads to guide readers.
  • Back claims with facts: Ensure the coach can pick any section at random—Past Performance, Relevant Experience and/or Proposed Solution—and find specific proof for your claims.
  • Write clearly: Use plain language and keep responses brief. A coach won’t want to expose evaluators to overly complex and/or rambling content.

Rookies beware

Coaches may waive minor oversights by established providers to keep them in the running.

But most bidders don´t get special treatment. Especially if you are new to an industry or much smaller than your competitors, be sure to satisfy the coach. One way to do this is to have a coach of your own. That’s a role an outside resource, such as Complex2Clear, can fill.

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