43 RFP Statistics on the State of Bidding in 2022
Whether your organization has a formal proposal team or takes an ad hoc approach to requests for proposals (RFPs), you have a lot to gain from improving your response process. Increased revenue, more efficient sales cycles, and a higher customer retention rate are just a few benefits of better RFP management.
However, creating winning bids is easier said than done. It’s getting tougher for teams to juggle the number of RFPs they receive—especially when they have to contend with tight deadlines and limited resources. And while we don’t have a crystal ball, we do have key trends that are shaping the year ahead for sales and proposal teams.
The following statistics are from Loopio’s third annual RFP Response Benchmarks & Trends Report, which analyzes data from 800+ RFP teams across North America.
From improving win rates to the disconnect between executives and those managing proposals, here’s a curated list of the 43 RFP statistics you need to know going into 2022.
Table of Contents:
- Average RFP Revenue and Win Rates
- RFP Process Insights
- Response Timelines
- Submission and Volume Benchmarks
- Proposal Career and Salary Stats
- RFP Software and Impact on Stress
- Key Challenges Around RFP Management
- 2022 RFP Resources and Predictions
Average RFP Revenue and Win Rates
1. The average RFP win rate is 44%.
On average, organizations win 44% of their RFPs. 17% of teams report winning 30-39% of RFP bids, while another 15% win 50-59% of their RFPs. A shocking 7% of teams report an 80-100% proposal win rate.
2. Enterprise companies have the highest average win rate (but Mid-Market isn’t far behind).
Enterprise companies (5001 to 10,000+ employees) win 48% of the RFPs that they participate in. But Mid-Market companies (501 to 5,000 employees) aren’t far behind, with an average 47% win rate.
3. Small companies win 38% of their proposals.
Small & midsize companies (1 to 500 employees) are the group’s outlier, only winning 38% of bids on average. Being a large company likely holds an advantage in the sales cycle—more prominent companies are likely to be well known, have more offerings, and have more resources.
4. The average RFP advancement rate is 53%.
Advancement rates are somewhat rosier than win rates. On average, companies progressed 53% of the time on average, although this varies by company size. Mid-Market teams proved most likely to advance (58%) in general—but Enterprises hold the best chances of advancement rates turning into wins.
5. The top reason for losing a bid? ‘A competitor/incumbent.’
When asked why they lost RFPs, teams reported the top reason: “Lost to a competitor/incumbent.” Over the last year, “price” dropped from the top spot, while “product fit” responses increased.
6. On average, companies source 33% of their sales revenue through deals involving RFPs.
The industries that generate the highest percentage of their revenue from RFPs are Advertising, Media & Telecom with 46%, as well as Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Construction & Retail with 40%.
7. Most commonly tracked metrics focus on the number of bids won and submitted.
The most commonly tracked RFP metrics include number of bids won (57%), and the number of bids submitted (48%). Following this, overall revenue and advancement rates are top of mind.
Only a small percentage of teams are tracking employee satisfaction or sentiment (14%)—which is surprising, considering that team satisfaction influences win rates. (Learn more about this through the next section: RFP Process Insights).
RFP Process Insights
8. Almost half of the organizations surveyed have a dedicated proposal manager, writer, or team.
Most organizations (42%) dedicate a person or team to manage and own the proposal process. If a company doesn’t have a bid team, the next most likely owner is sales, closely followed by solutions engineers and consultants.
9. Process satisfaction correlates with an 8% higher win rate.
Those who are satisfied with their process have a win rate of 48%, compared to 40% among those who are dissatisfied. So if you’re looking for ways to affect your win rate this year, begin by evaluating your team’s satisfaction.
10. A quarter of RFPs (25%) are complete with fewer than 5 people.
The majority of organizations (44%) involve between 6-10 contributors. The next largest group (25%) involves five or fewer contributors, followed closely by 20% of teams which involve 11-15 people. Only 10% involve 15 or more people in the creation of every RFP.
11. Every RFP involves an average of 9 people to complete.
On average, companies involve a total of 9 people in the creation of every RFP. This average jumped significantly when the pandemic started (2020), as the previous average was only seven people. This increase of contributors likely reflects increased scrutiny during the buying process, which began during COVID-19.
12. The average number of people involved in the RFP process increases based on company size.
On average, enterprise organizations involve 11 people in an RFP submission. Mid-Market companies involve 9, while small companies involve 8. This indicates that the average number of contributors tends to increase with company size.
13. The larger the company, the more hours spent writing an RFP response.
Large organizations tend to take more time writing an RFP response because they have bigger teams. On average, Small & Midsize companies spend 21 hours writing an RFP response—while Mid-Market organizations spend 24 hours and Enterprise teams spend a whopping 31 hours writing during the proposal process.
The increased time likely also indicates a higher level of complex requirements for big organizations. Every line is vetted for accuracy, particularly for big deals worth millions of dollars.
RFP Response Timelines
14. Average time for writing a single RFP response is 24 hours (or 17.5 minutes per question).
Writing an RFP response takes an average of 24 hours to complete. Considering the average proposal contains 82 questions—this means each question takes roughly 17.5 minutes to answer. So the next time you receive an RFP, you can estimate how long it will take to write by multiplying 17.5 minutes per question. (This doesn’t include time to assess the RFP, format responses, or write a decent proposal cover letter.)
15. 52% of RFPs are completed in less than two business days. 🤯
The majority of teams report completing an RFP response—from start to submission—in less than two business days. This is shockingly fast, but it’s important to note that fast responses actually correlate with low win rates (more on that below).
On the flip side, 23% of teams take 6-10 business days (or 1-2 weeks) to turn around responses, while 15% take 11-20 days (about 2-4 weeks), and less than 10% take more than a month to complete and submit responses. (After all, answering RFP questions is not a game of speed—if you can help it.)
16. Small companies are most likely to be turning around RFPs in less than five hours—and it shows in their win rates.
Small companies are the most likely to be turning around RFPs in less than five hours. They are 2-3x more likely than mid-sized companies to reply within five hours. But they also have the lowest win rates of any company size (37%).
17. More time writing = a higher win rate. 💡
While the average timeline for writing a single RFP is 24 hours—top-performing companies spend an average of 26 hours on each RFP. That total of 2 more hours writing appears to pay off with superior win rates. If your win rates are not where you’d like them to be, take a closer look at the quality of your team’s proposal writing in 2022.
18. Proposal managers spend an average of 27 hours writing an RFP.
Out of all the groups surveyed, proposal roles (writers/managers) spent the most time writing an RFP response. Sales and security-related roles spent the least amount of time (22 hours on average). In short, dedicated RFP people are able to devote more time to quality writing—a good thing for win rates.
For more insights on RFP content writing, download the full RFP Trends & Benchmarks Report.
RFP Volume and Submission Benchmarks
19. On average, organizations submit 137 RFPs annually.
On average, organizations respond to 137 RFPs per year, fewer than the average from 2021’s report of 150 responses. But interestingly, more than half of companies surveyed (51%) said they replied to more RFPs this year—indicating that this year’s average is not the result of an industry-wide decline.
20. Top-performing teams respond to a higher volume of RFPs.
Top performing teams—who win more than 50% of the RFPs they bid on—submit a higher volume of RFP responses annually. These teams respond to 155 responses annually, in comparison to the average team, which responds to 137 RFPs. With a difference of 18 RFPs per year, it seems that more chances at bat helps hone the skills needed to win.
21. RFP submissions increase drastically with company size.
On average, RFP submission volume shifts with the size of an organization. Small organizations respond to 75 RFPs, Mid-Market businesses respond to 150, and Enterprise companies respond to a whopping 221 RFPs annually.
22. Organizations typically respond to two-thirds of the RFPs they receive.
On average, organizations respond to 62% of the RFPs their company receives—meaning most teams deem two-thirds of bids to be worth answering. This is an encouraging sign that teams are growing choosier about which proposals they take on in general—focusing on quality versus quantity to secure an RFP win.
23. Almost three-quarters of teams use a go/no-go process for RFPs.
Similar to the statistic above, a growing number of teams are using an evaluation process to qualify RFPs, before investing time in a proposal. This year, 76% of teams assess if they’re likely to win using a go/no-go decision template for RFPs. This means that nearly three-quarters of responders consider it valuable to assess customer fit before working on a bid.
24. Organizations with an RFP tool submit 17 more responses annually.
Teams with RFP software respond to an average of 142 RFPs annually, while those without software respond to only 125.
25. 43% of RFPs were submitted through an online portal.
This year, the number of bids submitted through an online portal increased slightly, up from 41% last year. Interestingly, this number is even higher among top-performing teams, who submit 49% of their bids through an online portal. (There may be a competitive advantage to proactively seeking more bids, or capture planning, using online portals.)
Proposal Career & Salary Stats
26. Proposal professionals earn $87,000 per year on average.
The average salary for proposal roles (writers/managers at all levels of experience) is almost $87,000 (USD). The majority of salaries fell between 51,000 to 100,000.
27. On average, proposal managers/team leads earn $97,000 on average.
Understandably, the average salary is greatly influenced by an individual’s career level. For example, Associates earn an average salary of $72,000 (USD), while manager/team leads earn closer to six figures. Directors/VPs earn $116,000 on average.
28. Those who identify as women, found more likely to be in the low-to-mid pay bands of teams surveyed.
Despite making up a majority of the industry (71% of those surveyed), women were found more likely to fall into the low-to-mid pay bands, while the male minority (23% of those surveyed) was more likely to fall into the high-to-mid pay bands.
29. 27% of proposal professionals were promoted in the last 12 months.
Those already earning mid-to-high salaries or in the 25-44 age range were the most likely to be promoted this year. Notably, an equal number of females and males were promoted.
For more insights on proposal salaries, download the full RFP Trends & Benchmarks Report.
RFP Software Statistics (And its Impact on Stress Levels)
30. 69% of companies use an RFP tool or software.
The majority of organizations use dedicated RFP management or proposal software. Mid-Market companies are by far the most likely to use it (80%), followed by Enterprise (67%) and Small & Midsize (58%).
31. Top reason for using software = improved RFP content storage.
The top reasons cited for using an RFP solution are improvements to content storage (61%), closely followed by time savings (57%), and the automation of tedious and manual tasks (48%).
32. Email is used as the main alternative for RFP management, instead of dedicated software.
Teams not using RFP automation tend to rely heavily on email and cloud document sharing, such as Microsoft SharePoint or Google Documents.
33. Teams that use software have an average 45% proposal win rate.
Response teams who use a dedicated RFP response software win 45% of the bids they participate in. On the flip side, teams that don’t use software have an average RFP win rate of 41%. (Basically, those without software have below average proposal win rates.)
34. Adopting RFP software leads to higher team satisfaction.
RFP software users are significantly more satisfied with all aspects of their RFP process compared to their counterparts. Top benefits include response speed (how long it takes to respond to an RFP), quality of proposals, and overall sales efficiency throughout the response process. They’re also 11% more satisfied with their team’s good proposal win rate (which isn’t surprising, considering research shows that happy teams tend to perform better).
35. Proposal teams using software report 14% more manageable stress levels.
68% of teams that use proposal software say their stress levels at work are “almost always manageable” in comparison to their peers without dedicated tools—54% of non-users report manageable stress levels.
Key Challenges Around RFP Management in 2022
36. Collaborating with internal experts is now the top challenge in the response process.
RFP teams report that their top challenges are collaborating with subject matter experts (45%), finding up-to-date accurate answers (42%), manually formatting responses (36%), and choosing the right answers from a group of potential answers (34%). All of these issues highlight the need for better content management for a successful RFP process.
37. RFP win rates dropped 9% between 2020 and 2022.
Over the past two years, RFPs have consistently yielded less fruit from a revenue perspective. In 2019, win rates were 53%. In 2021, they dropped to 44%. This could be a sign of the industry becoming more competitive. Or, perhaps, that teams are now tracking bid wins more accurately, thanks to the rise of win/loss tools like Clozd and Klue.
38. RFP-influenced revenue dropped 8% between 2020 and 2022.
Sales revenue sourced from RFPs dropped from 41% (2019) to 35% (2020)—which isn’t surprising, considering the turbulence of the buying cycle during the pandemic. In 2021, RFP-influenced revenue dropped another 2%, which may still be an indication of delayed economic activity during the pandemic, as many deals with RFPs have long sales cycles.
39. 15% of sales-led proposals were lost due to a missed deadline.
Interestingly, RFPs led by sales were more likely to be lost because they missed a deadline, in comparison to proposal manager-led bids. 0% of proposals led by an RFP manager were lost due to a missed deadline.
40. Executives and Associates disagree on why they lose RFPs.
Executives and Associates don’t see eye-to-eye on the top reason for losing RFPs. The survey shows that senior leaders are more likely to attribute a loss to their product, whereas associates are more likely to say it’s the price.
Better win/loss analysis, shared visibility for key metrics, and soliciting more employee feedback could bridge the gap between these levels—and improve win rates.
2022 RFP Resources and Predictions
41. Companies plan to invest in team training, hiring, and tech in 2022.
The top areas for RFP resource investments in 2022 are team training (44%), hiring more staff (41%), and investing in new technology (40%).
42. 57% of organizations intend to submit more RFPs in 2022.
More than half of organizations (57%) say they plan to increase the number of RFPs they respond to in 2022. It’s worth noting, this number is 10% higher than last year’s predictions (47%). This change can likely be attributed to businesses bouncing back (and ramping up) after the economic slowdown in 2020.
43. RFP process improvement recommendations focus on collaboration and content management.
When asked what actions their company should take to win more RFPs in 2021, the respondents recommended that SMEs answer requests in a more timely fashion (32%), implementing a smoother process (30%), and hiring more staff (29%).
Whether you are learning how to respond to a government RFP, or increasing your volume of private sector submissions, having an efficient RFP response process is critical to closing new business faster.
Note: This article was originally published in January of 2020. It is updated annually to reflect new research and RFP statistics.
Download the full RFP Response Benchmarks & Trends Report to learn more about behaviours of top-performing companies.
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