Why RFPs are a cornerstone in the enterprise sales cycle

Written by
RD Symms
RD Symms
Updated on
  4 min read
Responders play a pivotal role in winning new business for enterprise organizations. You are a key team member who wears many hats. From content writer to marketing and sales, you add tremendous worth to your organization’s growth strategy. Your leadership is particularly apparent in the enterprise sales cycle, where the process is long, complex, and high-stakes. A competitive RFP demonstrates to prospective enterprise clients that you understand their pain points and that you are the organization that adds the most value. Read on to discover how you can pursue highly lucrative opportunities in the enterprise sales cycle with more efficiency and ease.

What is enterprise sales?

Enterprise sales refer to the acquisition of large contracts that involve a higher level of risk than more traditional sales seen in small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Enterprise sales cycles are long, involving multiple decision-makers that bring about large-scale corporate solutions. Contrast this with SMB sales cycles, that are short, lower risk, and fueled by marketing and sales. Enterprise sales offer solutions that are mission-critical to the success of the enterprise, directly impacting business operations at a strategic level. In general, the enterprise sales model involves solutions that are highly complex, requiring the brains of various subject matter experts. These large-scale enterprise solutions often necessitate more training and customer support.

The role of RFPs in the enterprise sales cycle

Responding to RFPs plays a crucial role throughout the enterprise sales cycle. Unlike SMB sales that often focus on marketing to win the contract, enterprise sales must address various components, including onboarding, security, support, and automation. Make no mistake, RFPs always require the input of many different SMEs. This intensive collaboration from subject matter experts is even more apparent and necessary in the case of enterprise sales. Most RFPs are submitted in the final eight hours before the RFP is due. Of these, 35% are submitted in the final hour. Submitting close to the RFP deadline is fine if your team is taking your time to fine-tune your response content. It’s not fine when you’re figuring out content creation at the last-minute. Your organization could miss out on potentially valuable, highly-lucrative contracts just because you didn’t have time to produce high-quality content and go the extra mile. Although the enterprise sales cycle is long and the acquisition costs are steep, the rewards are enormous. For these big-ticket proposals, it’s imperative that your enterprise has an efficient RFP response process in place. In doing so, your teams can provide the level of detail required for each proposal to close large-scale accounts.

Proposal software protects revenue and mitigates risk

Paul Taylor is VP of Solutions Engineering at Crownpeak, a SaaS-digital experience platform. He is responsible for giving the sales team the tools they need to respond with successful proposals. Up to two-thirds of their enterprise deals start with an RFP. Efficient, compliant and high-quality responses are essential to protecting their revenue.  When Paul centralized all response content in a library that the sales team can use as a single source of truth, the team increased efficiency by 1,000 percent. “Auto Respond is absolutely brilliant,” Paul said. “We just click on it and Responsive answers 80 percent of an RFP in a few seconds.” Here are a few other benefits of using proposal software like Responsive to support the enterprise sales cycle. Brand consistency Brand consistency is one of the most common challenges for RFP responders. Because many different SMEs are involved throughout the enterprise sales cycle, each player has their own idea of what makes for the most attractive font types, headers, and bullet point styles. Proposal software resolves visual inconsistencies, thanks to systematic exporting capabilities. Cross-functional strategic response management platform Unlike traditional proposal software, Responsive is a response management platform that supports many use cases beyond responding to RFPs. Use Responsive to respond to any business queries: RFXs (RFIs, RFQs, RFPs), statements of work (SOW), DDQs, security questionnaires, proactive proposals, and sales proposals. The platform is designed to manage response for all the complexities of the enterprise sales cycle. Centralized, collaborative, and compliant A centralized Content Library allows your team to easily identify, leverage and grow the content that differentiates you from competitors. To maintain compliance requirements, simply set up automated content audit reviews and invite your legal, security and compliance teams to make updates without ever leaving the platform. By minimizing the content time investment during the enterprise sales cycle, you’re able to focus on crafting a captivating narrative that speaks to your prospect’s objectives and makes your enterprise solution stand out. A strategic response management platform supports your sales efforts, so you can focus on landing the next big deal with greater efficiency and ease. Ready to master the enterprise sales cycle? See how Responsive benefits your enterprise team and supports your sales goals.

RD Symms

RD is a senior copywriter at Responsive. He has more than 15 years of experience in writing, content development, and creative strategy. Connect with RD on LinkedIn.