How To Write an Effective RFP Response (With Example)

Updated December 30, 2022

Effective responses to Requests for Proposals (RFPs) can allow your company to increase its possibility of earning more clients. If you're interested in gaining more business-to-business partnerships, you may need to understand how to write responses for RFPs. Understanding how to write these effectively is valuable, but it's important to know the right information to include. In this article, we explain what a response to an RFP is, provide five steps for how to write one effectively, share an example and offer tips to help you write your own response.

What is a response to an RFP?

A response to an RFP, which is a document calling for proposals for a specific project, is a proposal that explains how you or your company might accomplish the specified project effectively. Typically, these responses include information like:

  • Partnership interest

  • Project plan

  • Client references

The details you include in your RFP response can depend on your business and the business that shared the RFP initially. Similarly, the comprehensive length of an RFP response can vary. However, it's important to make sure it isn't too long for someone to read through in one sitting.

Related: Request For Proposal (RFP): What It Is, Who Creates It and How It Works

How to write an effective response to an RFP in 5 steps

If you need to write an effective response to an RFP, here are five steps you can review to help you develop your proposal response structure:

1. Write a formal cover letter

Writing a formal cover letter at the beginning of your response to an RFP is important to help your company make a good first impression. Some specific elements you might discuss throughout your cover letter are:

  • Share your knowledge of their project requirements.

  • Describe how your company can help solve their problem.

  • Highlight your company's interest in working with them.

Throughout your cover letter, it's important to focus on the potential client and how your company can help them. Doing this may demonstrate to them your enthusiasm and dedication to helping them reach their goals.

Related: What Is a Cover Letter?

2. Include an executive summary of your proposal

After your cover letter, you can include an executive summary of your response proposal. You might research the company whose RFP you are responding to before writing this section because it can help you understand their reason for seeking assistance. Knowing this allows you to better speak to their unique needs, whether their business is growing or they are seeking new partnerships. This summary may include information about:

  • Plans for how to address their specified needs

  • Elements your company can offer that competitors might not

  • Reasons for your company's expertise

To determine whether you've included all the information you need, you might consider if your executive summary clearly defines your plan without the rest of your RFP response. Another element you may consider is how long your summary is to ensure it is clear and concise for your reader.

3. Add information about your implementation plan

In this section of your RFP response, you can add information about your implementation plan. This is where you can discuss your strategy and the deliverables you plan to produce for them. Other information you might explain is:

  • Plan for timeline

  • Team members the client may work with

  • Plan for content

If there are any items your company can offer to help meet the potential client's needs that aren't part of your plan, you may list them as deliverables they can add if they choose to work with your company.

Related: What Is Project Planning? (With Examples)

4. Discuss partnership contract

Towards the end of your RFP response, it's beneficial to provide information about the partnership contract you are proposing. Typically, this includes:

  • List of costs

  • Support offered after project completion

  • Contract ready for the potential client to sign

You want to make sure this section of your response outlines all cost and agreement details to allow them to determine whether a partnership with you might be a good fit. Adding this information is also important to show your company's transparency and interest in an honest partnership that can benefit both companies.

Related: Guide To Business Partnership Roles

5. Highlight references or proven results from your work

At the end of your RFP response, you may highlight references of other companies you have worked with in the past or continue to work with professionally. This can allow your reviewers to reach out to them and gain more insight into their experience working with your company. You might also include any measurable results you have from relevant previous projects you completed for clients. Including these highlights can help showcase the potential success you may bring them if they select your company as a partner.

Example of an effective response to an RFP

Here is an example of an effective response to an RFP that you can reference as you write your own response:

Nolan Carroll
Frosted Door Agency
(555) 555 - 555

Stacey Matthews
Solar Sun Construction

Dear Ms. Matthews,

After seeing your Request for Proposal (RFP), Frosted Door Agency is excited about the opportunity to partner with Solar Sun Construction to raise awareness towards its environmentally friendly solar panel construction services. We understand your need for effective content to boost consumer engagement with your brand. Our company's dedication to putting people before profits and our ability to address construction markets throughout content creation can allow us to help you reach your goals of higher returns on your investments.

To provide you with a brief background on our agency and myself, I founded Frosted Door in 2006 and have worked on every project we've produced. Typically, we focus on offering marketing services to construction, landscaping or industrial companies. I believe our specialization in this niche area can help us provide your company with strong results because of our experience in related fields.

Between our niche expertise and dedication to client success, I know we can grow the recognition of your brand and educate your market on everything Solar Sun Construction can offer. Our agency is enthusiastic about the opportunity to partner with you to accomplish these goals and looks forward to hopefully continuing this conversation soon. We would also like to thank you for your time and consideration throughout this process.

Nolan Carroll

Executive summary
Being a leader in the construction marketing industry, we understand the importance of brand recognition and product and service awareness. We have seen this trend throughout our construction brand partnerships and we also understand that as more consumer options emerge, you need to stay competitive within your market. Considering both factors, Frosted Door Agency intends to help Solar Sun Construction:

  • Increase brand recognition

  • Educate the market on products and services

  • Boost consumer engagement with the brand

We believe our background working with brands in related industries and the knowledge gained throughout these partnerships can allow us to help you achieve your goals.

Our plan
Frosted Door Agency plans to assist Solar Sun Construction in growing their consumer audience and educating them on the environmentally friendly construction products and services they offer. To accomplish these goals, our agency team has developed a comprehensive plan including project operations, deliverables and our predicted timeline of completion. You can review our proposed plan below:

  • Digital ad campaign: We plan to use market research to target consumers to learn more with a request for information (RFI) forms via web and social media ads. This development and implementation process may take up to two weeks. Web and advertisement specialists, Nick and Diane, will manage these operations.

  • Social media campaign: Social media is another tool we plan to use by creating relevant and informational content that is engaging and diverse across Solar Sun Construction accounts. This portion of the campaign will include graphics and captions and takes place over two months. Our social media specialist, Paige, will execute these operations.

  • Email campaign: Our plan also includes an email campaign that will use the gathered contact information in RFI forms to re-target consumers about Solar Sun Construction services and products over one month. Our customer relationship management specialist, Tom, will handle these operations.

Throughout this partnership, I will be your primary point of contact for progress updates or questions. Here you can review the cost breakdown for our plan:

  • Digital ad campaign: $1,800

  • Social media campaign: $4,000

  • Email campaign: $2,400

Note that you can also add on blog posts if you're interested. The cost for these is $500 per 1,000-word post.

To review our partnership contract, please see the attached document labeled accordingly.

Here is the contact information for clients of ours, along with details about the measurable results we've produced for them:

Rich Soil Landscaping

  • Increased social media followers by 20%

  • Engaged 130 potential customers in an email campaign

  • Helped then gain 62 leads

Blue Button Builders

  • Boosted website traffic by 40%

  • Increased social media followers by 18%

  • Helped them gain 45 leads

Tips for writing an effective response to an RFP

These helpful tips may help provide you with unique strategies as you write an effective response to an RFP:

  • Understand the client's needs. Continue to reference the RFP call for proposals to understand what the potential client's needs are to make sure you clearly define how you plan to address them in your response.

  • Describe how you can help. Remember to focus on how you can help the potential client, rather than on your own successes on previous projects.

  • Edit your work. Proofread your response to ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors when you submit your response and review each section after you complete it to make any necessary revisions.

  • Learn about the client. Research the potential client before beginning your response to help you better understand who they are, their mission and goals.

  • Add visuals. Consider adding visuals where it makes sense to help engage your readers and keep their attention.

  • Consider outside perspectives. Think about if you were a customer what you might look for in an RFP response.

  • Be clear. Keep your content clear and concise so your reviewer can examine it efficiently.

  • Use a template. Consider referencing templates or examples as you write your response.

  • Share accurate pricing information. Make sure you set all of your pricing information and it doesn't change after you send the response.


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