Reverse RFPs - Win an RFP before you get it

Learn how adopting a "Reverse RFP" strategy can elevate your RFP game and set you apart from competitors. Delve into the benefits of proactively providing RFP Templates to potential buyers, showcasing your industry expertise, and positioning yourself as the go-to solution.

Jasper Cooper

June 14, 2023

What is a Reverse RFP Template

I’m honestly hesitant to share this one. In competitive Sales, it's of course essential to stay one step ahead of the competition. One powerful way for you to differentiate yourself and gain a competitive edge is by adopting what I have coined a “Reverse RFP” strategy. This was a strategy I have found immense success with over the years.

A Reverse RFP is when you proactively provide a potential buyer with a set of tailored questions and responses. This allows you to demonstrate your industry expertise and position yourself as the go-to solution for their requirements. This article will outline the benefits of the Reverse RFP, the steps to build one, and provide an email draft to send to prospective buyers. I nearly feel bad for the people that have to go up against you once you adopt this.

Benefits of a Reverse RFP Template Approach:

Okay so, what's in it for you, well:

1. Competitive Advantage: Vendors who take the initiative to do a Reverse RFP, are far more likely to have the highest requirement compliance. They also demonstrate confidence in their offering and are more likely to capture the attention of the buyer. This proactive approach sets you apart from competitors who wait for an RFP to be issued.

2. Saving Time and Effort: By providing a Reverse RFP to potential buyers, you help streamline the decision-making process. It saves both parties time and effort by providing the buyer with the information they need upfront. You can rely on historical responses, rather than having to write new ones.

3. Showcasing Expertise: A Reverse RFP allows you to showcase your industry knowledge, experience, and understanding of the buyer's needs. It establishes you as a proactive problem-solver who is serious about providing a solution to them. It may very well allow them to start with a short-listed RFP rather than a full RFI or EOI.

Steps to Create a Reverse RFP Template

Step 1: Research Your Buyer

Understand your buyer's needs, pain points, and decision-making criteria as much as possible through your notes, research, and any discussions you have to date. Also, leverage existing RFP responses to build a base of all of the foundational RFP questions (e.g. Security Questions & Non-Funcional Requirements).

Step 2: Develop Relevant Questions

Based on the above, create a list of relevant questions that address the buyer's fundamental concerns and needs. But, focus on questions that demonstrate your industry expertise and highlight the unique value of your solution.

Step 3: Organise and Format

Present your reverse RFP in a clear, easy-to-read format, using sections and subsections as well as requirement ids. You may also want to include a set of compliance levels, like "Out-of-the-box", "Requires Configuration" and etc. All the better if you provide more functionality out-of-the-box then your competitors.

Add the prospect's logo and brand colors to the document and format it well to give it a professional look & feel.

Note: Generally, I wouldn’t recommend that you actually respond to the template proactively as they can use this template to help construct their competitive RFP.

Step 4: Send It

Here’s a quick and easy template to use when sending the completed RFP Template to the buyer.

Example Email Template:

Hi [Buyer's Name],

It was a pleasure speaking with you recently. As discussed, I understand that selecting the right vendor can sometimes be a complex and time-consuming process. To help you in making an informed decision more efficiently, I have prepared a template RFP tailored to [Buyer's Company]'s requirements.

This RFP includes a list of relevant questions that address the specific challenges and needs of your organisation as well as standard questions from my experience across the industry. Hopefully, this will enable you to evaluate the market more effectively and ensure that vendors will meet your needs. 

Please find the RFP Template attached to this email. We encourage you to review it and provide any feedback or additional questions that may arise. We would be more than happy to address any concerns or provide further clarification.

Just let us know if you would like us to prepare a response.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

[Your Title]


I hope you see the value here. By incorporating this Reverse RFP into your sales process you can expect significant advantages in some RFPs.

If you want to really take your responses to the next level though, you must look into AI. If you are curious about how AI can improve your RFP management. Schedule a demo of our AI-driven RFP response software to see it in action, it just takes 30 minutes at a time that suits you.

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