The ABCs of RFPs
A Request For Proposal (RFP) is a bidding process that many companies and municipalities use to purchase big-ticket items. For the purchasing organization, it’s an efficient way to compare product specifications, value and the quality of the provider. For many in the sign industry, RFPs offer the opportunity to reach new prospects and highlight their products and services.
If you’re not careful, an unqualified RFP can cost you time and money without delivering success. Before submitting a bid, companies and organizations should evaluate the submission guidelines. Consider the products, services and timelines, and whether you have the capacity to deliver what is promised. Submitting an RFP may get you access or visibility to a target market, but beware of red flags, like obscure requirements or competitor language.
Once you’ve determined the RFP is a good lead, improve your chances of winning the bid with these ABCs of RFPs.
Access Your Watchfire Team
RFPs are often complex and require a team of experts to respond. As a part in the Watchfire dealer network, you have access to a deep knowledge base of outdoor and indoor signs, video displays and scoreboards. We provide the research, testing and technical information you need to accurately and quickly complete a bid.
Watchfire has been an industry leader in outdoor signage for over 87 years. We have built LED products for numerous applications, like on-premise signage, gas price displays, digital out-of-home (DOOH) billboards, interior displays, and video scoreboards. If you don’t have experience in one of these industries, we do.
As a trusted partner, you can leverage Watchfire’s project management skills to confidently submit bids for large-scale projects. When Watchfire won the bid for largest single video screen in the world, the Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas, it was because of our ability to comprehensively manage large projects. This display is roughly twice the square footage of the White House and requires risks assessment, timeline management, cost control and logistics.
Bust the Boilerplate
Customizing a bid is an opportunity, not a chore. The right combination of information, responses and examples of your work can help prove you are the right choice.
It’s easiest to use and reuse a list of all your capabilities, but RFP readers don’t want to sift through a long list to find what they requested. Tailor bids for the request. Submit only the solutions that the requester needs. This kind of personalization can keep bids concise and easier to read.
Explain why each example is relevant to the request. Don’t make them guess.
Reference your experience within the requester’s industry. If you’re feeling unsure, tap into Watchfire’s successes. With more than 60,000 LED signs in operation today, Watchfire also has extensive experience with many industries, including retail, restaurants, healthcare, education, hospitality, sports and municipalities.
Compete to Win
Use the Q&A section of the RFP to set yourself apart from the competition. When you know your service and product is the best, say so. Use the answers to showcase the values that your products bring to the project. Be cautious though. RFPs are often shared with other bidders. Don’t share too much or you might educate the competition about your products and processes.
Bidders question claims. Include impartial evidence that your competition cannot. Ask your Watchfire representative for third-party test results and certifications to back up regulation compliance and technical specifications.
This is another opportunity to benefit from your partnership with Watchfire. Your competition will have difficulty measuring up to Watchfire’s warranty, unmatched customer service, whole-sign calibration process, weather resistance and multi-channel data configuration that keeps messages readable in the event of a service issue.
RFPs aren’t for everyone. They are time-intensive and may not immediately yield results. But participating in the RFP process can also generate lucrative leads. Follow the ABCs to keep your proposal in the stack that receives attention and wins approval.