2022 RFP Trends & Benchmarks
Chapter 3: The Balancing Act of Writing Quality & Speed
Despite collaboration challenges, winning teams found the sweet spot for customizing responses under speedy timelines.
The average time spent writing a response this year was 24 hours, or about three workdays. While writing time has remained relatively constant over the past few years, it has risen slightly this year. This may be a reflection of work-from-home collaboration taking a little bit longer during the pandemic (alongside a rise in at-home responsibilities).
The fact that writing time has remained steady is impressive given that 51% of organizations say they responded to more RFPs this year. This could be due to added support that helped responders scale the writing process. Many companies received new resources like RFP response software (44%) and dedicated RFP responders (42%) this past year.
More Writing Time Correlates With Higher Win Rates
In past years, more time spent writing was correlated with higher win rates, and that held true this year. On average, Top Performers spend two more hours than average writing each RFP. Furthermore, 35% of Top Performers spend 30+ hours writing RFPs, while only 22% of low performers spent that much time.
If your team is looking to improve RFP quality—and ultimately—win rates—consider spending more time thoughtfully writing each response.
The average time that best-in-class performers—those with a win-rate of 51%—spend writing a single RFP response.
Majority of RFPs Complete in Less Than 2 Business Days
The majority of RFPs (52%) are completed—from start to submission—in under two business days. This is shockingly fast, given that the average writing time accounts for half of that (24 hours).
Large Companies Spent More Time Writing
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Enterprises spend significantly more time writing. A smart rule of thumb: the larger the company, the more time spent writing RFPs.
Larger companies also tend to have the highest win rates. Though, there are many factors at play, including the fact that Enterprises are also more likely to have more people involved in each RFP (11 people, versus nine for Mid-Market and eight for Small & Midsize).
Dedicated Proposal Roles Spend The Most Time Writing
Of all groups surveyed, proposal managers spent the most time writing RFPs. Sales, security, and other roles spent the least. One way to think about this is that dedicated RFP people can devote more time to writing—which is a good thing for win rates.
Proposal Manager Writing Decreases YoY
Although proposal roles spend more time writing than other roles, they’ve actually decreased their overall time writing, in comparison to last year.
In 2021, proposal managers spent an average of 27 hours on a single RFP response—3 hours less than the year before. In contrast to this, other teams increased their writing time throughout 2021 (Sales Reps and Leaders spent 2-3 hours more time writing this year, in comparison to last year).
This could mean that proposal teams have been more successful at assigning sections to other departments to write. Alternatively, increased use of RFP software may be unlocking new efficiencies and contributing to faster writing speed.
The decrease in time spent writing each RFP by proposal managers this year vs. last
Key Takeaways: How to Balance Writing Vs. Speed
Writing time per RFPs held steady this year, despite win rates and volume going down. This shows that teams are still investing a similar amount of time in completing each response. So how can you make sure your team is keeping up with managing proposal quality with submission speed?
Here’s how to respond like a top performer:
Dedicate more time to writing: Generally, teams that invest more time in writing, win more (in combination with other factors).
Deploy a dedicated software: If you’re an RFP manager, and you’re not using a new tool that decreases the amount of time you spend on a each response, you may be missing out on efficiencies that other proposal roles are gaining.
Hire a full-time RFP-focused resource: They’ll have more time to dedicate to writing. This advice is most relevant to those in Industrial & Manufacturing, which are more likely than any other industry to say the primary person responsible for the RFP is the salesperson (38%).
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