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47 Things to Know Before The RFP is Released

Most companies just try to do "the best job they can" at collecting intelligence and preparing for an RFP release. If they have any structure to their process at all, usually it emphasizes collecting intelligence to justify a bid decision. While establishing a positive return on investment is a good thing, there are a lot of other things you need to know to write a winning proposal. Here is a list of things you can use to assess your progress.


  • Define the scope of work
  • Determine the locations of work
  • Influence the scope to your advantage and to the competition's disadvantage
  • Develop approaches to fulfilling the requirements
  • Scope staffing requirements
  • Identify any gaps between the scope and your own capabilities
  • Identify relevant project references
  • Identify relevant internal subject matter experts


  • What is driving the customer's procurement schedule?
  • What are the milestones in the customer's procurement schedule?
  • When is the RFP release expected?
  • How much time will be allowed for preparing the proposal?
  • When would the customer like the project to start?
  • When would the customer like the project to be complete?
  • Will there be a phase-in/transition period?

Acquisition Strategy

  • What are the customer's acquisition strategy, contract vehicle, and/or approach?
  • What are the customer's procurement process/procedures?
  • Will there be any small business, local business, or other preferences?

Evaluation Criteria

  • Will the customer have written evaluation criteria?
  • If so, what are they?
  • If not, what are their unwritten criteria?
  • How is your company positioned against the evaluation criteria?
  • Can you influence the customer's evaluation criteria?
  • Do you understand what it will take to win?


  • What is the estimated value of the opportunity?
  • What is the customer's budget?
  • Is it funded/approved?
  • Can you influence the customer's budget for the opportunity?

Points of Contact

  • Can you draw the customer's organizational chart?
  • Do you understand the lines of authority and influence?
  • Who are the points of contact (POCs)?
  • Who should be contacted for which reason and by which person in your company?
  • Do you have a contact plan?

Competitive Intelligence

  • Can you identify all potential incumbents?
  • What other companies might be interested in bidding?
  • If you can't identify the potential competitors by name, have you identified them by profile (type, size, etc.)?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of each one?

Competitive Advantage

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses compared to the competition?
  • What is your strategy for positioning against the competition?
  • Why will the customer select you instead of the competition?
  • What are your other win strategies?
  • Can you articulate what you offer the customer and why they should select you?


  • Who could potentially fill any gaps in your ability to cover the scope of work?
  • What companies could potentially strengthen your bid or position?
  • Are there any companies that you would rather team with than compete against?
  • Identify reasons for and against teaming with other companies to pursue the opportunity.
  • Identify the requirements, process, and negotiation strategies for potential teaming partners.

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By Carl Dickson,
Founder of and PropLIBRARY

PropLIBRARY is our professional tool for people who want to win RFPs like their business depends on it.

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