2022 RFP Trends & Benchmarks

Chapter 3: The Balancing Act of Writing Quality & Speed

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.

  • 26 hours

  • 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).

“This is not just answering an exam paper. This is about telling a story in the document. You convince the client through the way you put your messages across that you’re the right people for them to work with.”
Jon Williams, Managing Director
Strategic Proposals

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.

  • – 10%

  • 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 a proposal manager, and you’re not using a new RFP or RFI 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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