2022 RFP Trends & Benchmarks
Chapter 1: The Progress of RFP Submissions
Submission volume may be down, but it’s surprisingly a good news story. As a whole, RFP teams are growing more selective on which bids they participate in.
Companies replied to an average of 137 RFPs this year, fewer than last year’s 150. Although this is lower than the year before, it’s important to know that this decline is influenced by a key industry: Software. The Software industry made up almost a third of all responses (28%), which influenced a lower average overall. (See: Annual Submissions by Industry.)
Interestingly, more than half of companies (51%) said they replied to more RFPs than the prior year—which tells us this year’s lower average is not a result of an industry-wide decline.
Companies Grow More Selective
Over the past three years, companies have consistently decreased the percentage of RFPs that they respond to. This is an encouraging sign that teams are growing choosier about which proposals they take on. A lower response rate means more time spent on fewer RFPs, which tends to result in higher win rates.
Companies using a go/no-go process were also up as a whole: 76% of RFP teams use one on average this year, in comparison to 72% in 2020. This also indicates that companies are (rightfully) growing more selective, focusing efforts through a stronger evaluation process.
Key Insight: 82% of Top Performers were found to use a go/no-go process—showcasing that it pays to spend more time on the bids you’re likely to win.
Enterprises Respond to 3x as Many RFPs
Enterprise companies respond to three times as many RFPs as Small & Midsize companies, and the correlation is clear: The larger you are, the more you’re capable of responding to.
Despite responding to more, Enterprises also win a significantly greater percentage of RFPs than Small & Mid-size companies. (See Win Rates.)
The Public Sector Responds to the Most RFPs
Annual submissions vary widely by industry. The Public Sector responds to the most (172) and Advertising, Media, and Telecom respond to the least (110).
There doesn’t appear to be a correlation between number of submissions and win rate across industries, probably due to the fact that they simply aren’t comparable. Some are regulated, some have naturally higher contract values, and some consider RFPs more integral to their business.
Key Takeaways: How Top Performers Handle RFP Volume
A top performer is defined as someone who wins more than 51% of the RFPs they submit. So how do the best in the bid-ness handle volume, while still keeping win rates high?
Here’s how to respond like a Top Performer:
Adopt a go/no-go process: Seventy-six percent of companies now use one, and 82% of Top Performers do. They allow you to focus your effort on RFPs you’re likely to win. Download Loopio’s go/no-go template.
Find your ideal response rate: A higher or lower response rate isn’t inherently good or bad—what matters is your team capacity, and how it impacts advancement and win rates. The best response rate benchmark is the one based on your own team’s past performance.
Manage expectations on RFP volume: While Top Performers have been shown to submit more RFPs as a whole, increasing volume isn’t a fail-safe solution for winning more. Best-in-class teams value quality over quantity, since they tend to spend more time evaluating RFP fit upfront. Caution executives that a balanced approach is best—and that it takes time for improvements to bear results.
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