Responding to the many questions asked by an RFP or RFT is often a lengthy and dry affair. So how can you bring your submission to life for the assessment panel? One sure fire way is to use case studies to support your claims. These informative short stories, when coupled with testimonials from happy clients, act as powerful validators of your product or service.
When preparing an RFP response, many SMEs make the mistake of putting case studies in the ‘nice to include if we have time’ basket – and then run out of time. But when you fail to include them, you’re missing your chance to transform ‘extensive experience’ from a platitude into concrete proof.
Effective case studies should represent different aspects of what your business can do, using recent instances to illustrate your point. Generally speaking, examples shouldn’t be more than two years old in order to remain relevant. Here’s an example using the five essential components listed below:
- Who was the client?
- What was their problem?
- What was your ideal solution?
- What was the end result for the client?
- A client testimonial, including name and company position
Inside Job is a large fashion retailer with some 60 stores across Australia. Earlier this year they needed to relocate their central operations from Sydney to Melbourne. Any downtime during the move could mean big financial losses and real disruption to customer service levels.
Simply transporting Inside Job’s existing server interstate was risky and could take up to three days. Kaos Computers’ solution was to build a new infrastructure platform at the Melbourne site, running an active data sync process between the states and reconfiguring the WAN network to communicate with the Melbourne data centre.
This highly complex project was successfully completed with zero time lost and no negative financial or other impact on Inside Job. Even as the migration took place, the business continued to operate seamlessly, without any outages or discernible change in the customer experience.
‘Kaos Computers did in 12 hours what we had expected would take several days. Our new system is much faster and flexible, too. Most important of all, there was no negative financial impact to the business or not a single minute of downtime.’ Howard Moon, Managing Director, Inside Job
It’s worth noting here that not all clients want their business practices discussed publicly, so you may need to omit sensitive details but still keep the core message strong.
Case studies don’t need to be lengthy; they need to get your point across succinctly and clearly. Choose examples which correspond to the needs of the contract you’re pitching for, fine tuning them to prove your business can deliver the goods.
Make it a policy to finish every project you undertake by writing a case study, creating a ‘library of proof’ as your business progresses. Next time you’re tackling a tender, you’ll have a whole selection of ready-made success stories to choose from. You can get even more bang for your buck by using them in sales and marketing material or posting them on your website blog.