A sales-focused organization will likely see a high volume of requests for proposals (RFPs), many of which may not turn into real business. Unfortunately, many legal teams spend weeks and significant resources reviewing RFP documents only to turn up empty-handed when it comes to actual sales. Should legal review RFPs?
Undoubtedly, a company’s legal team plays a role in whether your company will win business. However, it’s more often a case of style and approach that matters when it comes to responding to RFPs than it is legal knowledge. Suppose you heavily mark up an RFP document such that the customer’s proposed contract is a sea of red. In that case, it may not bode well during later stages of a procurement negotiation where pricing is roughly equal.
Sales-driven organizations that receive a high number of RFPs need to focus on sales and legal optimization in order to efficiently and effectively review and respond to RFPs. When your company’s sales and legal teams are in sync regarding RFP review, your organization will be able to get through more RFPs in less time and generate more new business.
To get started, it’s essential to recognize when to involve legal in RFP review and how to train the sales team to handle RFPs without solely relying on input from legal.
When to Involve Legal in RFP Review
The dilemma of when to involve legal and when to proceed with RFP review can be tricky. Sometimes, waiting for the legal team to review your RFP can result in missed deadlines and cause friction between sales and customers. On the other hand, you don’t necessarily want to waste the legal team’s resources on a contract that would never come to fruition nor do you want to expose the company to unnecessary risk.
So, when should you seek a legal department review of RFP?
Ideally, legal should be brought in at the end of the RFP review for final verification and to address concerns that fall outside the scope of the normal RFP review process. To effectively remove legal from most of the RFP review process, you will need to train your sales staff. Here are three ways to take more of the RFP review burden off legal.
1. Implement self-service RFP review
Instead of legal reviewing every RFP in-depth, consider scaling back and providing the sales team with a self-service review of contracts against a playbook of the top five issues that impact your business.
2. Train sales how to mark up
Along with pre-screening RFPs for the five issues in the self-service RFP review playbook, train your sales team to mark up a small subset of provisions with greater precision. This can reduce the amount of redlining that ends up on the RFP while still ensuring that the most critical issues and concerns are addressed.
3. Implement contract review software
With contract review software like DocJuris, teams across the business can quickly assess legal terms without relying on the legal team. This quick accessibility can result in a faster and more efficient review of legal terms in an RFP.
DocJuris offers contract review software that your entire company can easily access. To learn more about how it can help your business, schedule a demo.