DUBLIN, Ohio—Constructive Communication, Inc., announced the results of an online marketing survey of approximately 50 professionals in the architecture, engineering, construction (AEC), and other technical industries from across the United States and Canada. The survey identified trends and challenges that professionals face in responding to Requests For Proposals (RFP) and subsequent proposal preparation.

"The proposal process is often one of the most daunting tasks facing today’s marketing professionals in the AEC industry," said Kimberly Kayler, president of Constructive Communication, a specialist in public relations and marketing communications for professional service firms and members of a variety of technical industries. "By understanding the challenges that face marketers, we can work to refine the proposal process for the betterment of the industry."

Approximately 57 percent of respondents said that proposals take longer to prepare than they did two years ago, and 66 percent said those reviewing proposals are more sophisticated in the questions they ask and in the review process. Respondents noted that some of the biggest challenges to proposal preparation include the following:

determining which proposals to respond to;
gathering all relevant information together and integrating the appropriate information from other departments (marketing, sales, finance, etc.);
keeping it simple—short enough to read, but comprehensive enough to cover all important points;
lacking standardized information for responses;
keeping "off-the-shelf" literature updated so more time can be spent on areas of the proposal that need customization; and
avoiding embarrassing mistakes, such as copying and pasting from another proposal and forgetting to change the client’s name.

Seventy-four percent of those surveyed noted that they have a "Go/No Go" process to determine whether they will respond to an RFP. Approximately 63 percent of respondents said that their goal is to improve their proposals and the preparation process this year. When asked what needed improvement, respondents noted professionalism; outlining the value of the firm’s services to customers; eye-popping visuals; focus on the client and their needs, not the firm’s needs; uniform language and responses; more concise language; and upfront work to make certain the relationship with the client is solid.