Business Bridge Supplier Toolkit

How to Create an RFP Response Template

Researched and written for Business Bridge by Strategic Insights Inc. | Thursday, March 14, 2024

Responding to corporate Requests for Proposals (RFPs) can be overwhelming and time-consuming for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Limited staff, tight deadlines and a general lack of resources can make this process even more challenging.

A great solution is for your company to develop an RFP response template that includes the key components of a winning RFP response.

Why use an RFP template?

RFP response templates help level the playing field for resource-constrained SMBs. Well-designed templates streamline the RFP response process, allowing SMBs to develop, customize and deliver refined proposals aligned to the needs of potential clients.

In this guide, we cover everything you need to know about RFP response templates, including what they are, what they look like and how SMBs can successfully use them.

What is an RFP response template?

RFP response templates contain pre-written content that enables you to quickly respond to RFPs. You fill out a pre-established template with information about your business to save time and effort by eliminating the need to create a response from scratch for every RFP. Then, you customize your RFP response template to address the specific requirements of each RFP.

What are the response elements in an RFP template?

While RFP requirements can vary widely, effective RFP response templates generally contain 12 key sections:

  1. Cover letter with your company’s qualifications and an understanding of project goals

  2. Executive summary with a high-level overview of the company and proposed solution

  3. Company history, experience and capabilities

  4. Proposed solution including a description of how the company will address the needs outlined in the RFP

  5. Project timeline with milestones and a proposed schedule of deliverables

  6. Proposed price, including any applicable fees

  7. Terms and conditions, including standard legal clauses

  8. Published case studies of similar problems faced by other corporations and a discussion of outcomes from having taken a different path from what you are proposing

  9. Use cases from your own company to show how you were able to resolve a client’s problem using your offerings

  10. References, testimonials and examples of similar work samples

  11. Copies of resumes for key personnel, licenses and company literature

  12. Other materials about your company, such as publications and awards

SMBs can customize the content in each section to answer the specifics of each RFP, such as the proposed budget, project timeline deliverables and technical requirements.

11 steps to maximize the performance of RFP response templates for your company

  1. Analyze past RFPs and responses: Review both winning and losing past proposals to identify what elements were most effective and where improvement is needed.

  2. Understand evaluators and decision-makers: Research the corporation and align content accordingly. What matters to them? What responses have they favored?

  3. Solicit team input: Engage individuals across your company’s departments to contribute specialized section content, promoting cross-functional collaboration for a more competitive response.

  4. Use visual design elements: Visuals like charts and graphs improve engagement, drive home key points and facilitate information retention—but be brief, as reviewers have limited time.

  5. Write clearly and concisely: Streamline content for simplicity, use short paragraphs and eliminate jargon for improved flow and comprehension.

  6. Back up claims with proof: Validate capabilities and experience with quantifiable facts, specific examples, case studies, testimonials and certifications to establish authority.

  7. Make content reusable: Where applicable, separate standardized content into segments for use in multiple responses. Then, customize it for each opportunity.

  8. Develop a unique template: Each service or product needs its own format to improve the relevance of pre-written content.

  9. Automate components: Use template software with pre-populated fields to speed up the repetitive process of entering common details.

  10. Store templates in a shared drive: Allow access to assigned reviewers and contributors. Enable version control.

  11. Establish review and revision procedures: Implement team review processes before submission to validate content quality, accuracy and brand consistency.


The use of RFP templates allows you to create a standardized response for core content but also customize proposal components most relevant to each opportunity. This balances efficiency with personalization to drive higher-quality, tailored RFP responses designed to win more contracts.


Further Reading:

  1. Povlitz, Adam. “The Secrets To Nailing Your Next Request For Proposal.” Forbes, 13 Nov. 2023,

  2. Deeb, George. “The 10 Things You Need to Know When Responding to RFPs.” Entrepreneur, 27 Oct. 2015,

  3. Whitham, Will. “How to Respond to an RFP (Request For Proposal).” Indeed, 12 Dec. 2023,

Full toolkit bibliography.


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