Skip to main content

Turn responses into revenue. Get a demo

Highlights from the 8th Annual QorusDocs Proposal Management Benchmark Survey

2023 was a bit of a rollercoaster ride on the business front. Companies faced numerous (count ‘em, 11!) interest rate hikes, watched multiple banks fail and cryptocurrency giant FTX implode, and experienced labor shortages that threatened productivity, revenue potential, and the customer experience. Yet these challenges were set against positive news of projection-busting GDP, unprecedented manufacturing investment, and declining inflation.  

We’re still in for a wild ride as 2024 unfolds. Recession talk has quieted to a whisper but bank credit levels are contracting and some economists aren’t ruling out a recession. The ongoing war in the Ukraine and the escalating situation in the Middle East—including the Israel-Palestine conflict and Houthi attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea—threaten supply chains and have rekindled fears over inflation and oil prices.  

As your business faces heightened economic uncertainty as the year unfolds, we’re dedicated to providing you the data, tools, and technology you need to tackle upcoming business challenges head on and ensure a profitable 2024. 

This year’s QorusDocs Proposal Management Benchmark Research Survey (our 8th annual!) offers you and your organization valuable data and actionable insights to help optimize your proposal, RFP response, and pursuit processes. By exploring the common trends and challenges impacting the response process—and how companies responded in 2023—our annual survey highlights opportunities for driving growth, minimizing costs, and maximizing revenue-generating potential.  

About the survey 

For this year’s industry snapshot, we took the pulse of the B2B proposal and RFP landscape, including a focus on service industries (e.g., professional services, legal, technical services) that complete more complex pursuits and pitches.  

We reached out to professionals in proposal, IT, business development, and C-suite roles who are involved in creating proposals or responding to RFPs, RFIs, due diligence questionnaires, or security questionnaires. We surveyed companies of varying sizes—the majority with more than 1,000 employees and greater than $100M revenue (2022)—from multiple industries.  

As in past years, we evaluated the organizational impact of the RFP process, measuring win rates (for both new and existing business), associated revenue, and missed revenue opportunities due to the volume of responses not completed. We also gauged the use of automated proposal management software and investigated early views on generative AI and its role in the response process.  

So what did we find out?

5 Key Takeaways

  1. Generative AI is here

    In 2023, companies across all industries were increasingly focused on improving the efficiency and productivity of their business processes by streamlining and automating operations—and proposal and response management processes were no exception.  

    The majority of those surveyed agreed generative AI will be important to the future of proposal management. In fact, some companies are already using AI-powered tools to research, write, and summarize content, saving time and resources to reduce operating costs and protect margins.

  2. RFPs up slightly despite tough economy

    Despite high inflation and economic uncertainty in 2023, companies were still sending out RFPs in support of new projects—just not as many as last year. RFP volume increased slightly from 2022, with the majority of businesses we surveyed reporting an 11%-20% increase. However, more companies in 2023 experienced no YoY RFP growth compared to last year.

  3. Pitch volume surged

    Companies were proactive in 2023, seeking out new business opportunities and building on existing business. Pitch volume increased YoY by 61% in 2023, with the majority of organizations completing ≤250 pitches per year. A whopping 100% of professional services firms surveyed, including law firms, reported an increase in pitch volume in 2023. 

  4. Existing customer focus

    Customer acquisition is a costly and often time-consuming process, especially if the business landscape is rocky or unpredictable. In 2023, organizations focused on nurturing and expanding relationships with existing clients, building brand loyalty and keeping customers happy to minimize churn and generate new revenue opportunities. 

    While new business win rates were down in 2023, win rates from existing business held steady. Half of all survey respondents enjoyed RFP win rates for existing clients greater than 70%. Conversely, the majority said RFP win rates from new business were a disappointing 30% or less.

  5. Microsoft Word is the clear favorite

    Choosing which software to use to create proposals and RFx responses impacts both the efficiency of your response process and the quality of your documents. Microsoft as a whole—and Microsoft Word in particular—continued to be crowd favorites in 2023. In fact, our benchmark research survey found that an even greater percentage of respondents in 2023 (75% vs. 50% in 2022) preferred MS Word as their primary application for generating response documents.

    Respondents from professional services (non-legal) and technical services firms were head over heels in love with Microsoft Word, with 80% of technology companies and 100% of professional services firms using the application!

Get more insider stats to boost win rates  

To explore these key takeaways in greater depth and discover more actionable insights to help you boost the performance of your response process, check out the full 8th Annual Proposal Management Benchmark Survey.  

Pro tip: If you’re new to proposal management, you might enjoy our Ultimate Guide to Mastering RFPs and Sales Proposals or 8 Reasons Your Sales Tech Stack Needs Proposal Management Software.  

And if you’re looking to create winning responses, maximize billable hours, and maintain cash flow for your professional services organization, visit our Professional Services Resource Hub for all your proposal management needs. 

Download QorusDocs' 8th Annual Benchmark Study


Published by Jennifer Tomlinson January 23, 2024
Jennifer Tomlinson