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Professional Services Insights from 8th Annual Proposal Management Benchmark Survey

As we wrap up the first quarter of 2023, inflation seems to be easing but economic uncertainty still casts a shadow over organizations’ planning and forecasting efforts. To tip the scales in their favor, service-based firms are seeking ways to differentiate their offerings and optimize their business processes to help them expand their client roster, build consistent revenue streams, and curtail operational costs. And this year’s QorusDocs benchmark survey contains some valuable insights to help firms do just that.  

Our 8th annual proposal management benchmark survey includes a focus on service industries (e.g., professional services, legal, technical services) that complete more complex pursuits and pitches. Notably, 34% of this year’s survey respondents were from service industries: 21% from law firms and 13% from professional services organizations (e.g., accounting firms, management consultants). 

Data from this year’s survey provide some thought-provoking statistics and actionable insights to help services firms reflect on how they’re managing the flow of RFPs and creating pitches and proposals to win new client business. 

What did we learn from the 2024 results? 

  1. GENERATIVE AI TAKING HOLD

    Are firms using generative AI to help them create documents? 
     

    How have you used Generative AI?

    The bottom line is that professional services and legal organizations have jumped on the generative AI train to help them create response documents. In fact, not one professional services firm surveyed said it hadn’t used generative AI yet—compared to the nearly 21% of firms across all respondents and industries.

    59% of organizations feel AI is somewhat or extremely important in proposal management software.
  2. CONTENT GENERATION: REINVENTING THE WHEEL

    How much content is developed from scratch

     

    Law firms created a noticeably higher volume of content from scratch when responding to requests than the average bid and proposal professional, possibly due to the use of larger amounts of custom personalized content.

    [Pro tip: personalization pays off in today’s competitive marketplace so service firms should get on board with this trend.] 

  3. RFP VOLUME STEADY

    How many RFPs came through the door in the last year? 

    Total Respondents 

    The legal industry had a notably smaller increase in RFP volume compared to last year than the other industries surveyed, with professional services reporting the highest percentage of firms with increased volumes of RFPs.

    Of those legal and professional services organizations that experienced an increase, the majority reported a 11%-20% increase.

  4. PITCHES, PITCHES EVERYWHERE!
    Did pitch volume increase



    While the majority of organizations we surveyed across all industries saw an increase in their pitch volume compared to last year, every single one of the professional services and legal respondents reported an increase. Pitching is keeping service-oriented businesses busy! 

  5. SIZE MATTERS
    Average opportunity size

     

    When it comes to the dollar value potential of RFP opportunities, law firms led the pack with the majority reporting RFP opportunity sizes between $1M and $5M. However, they also had a fair amount of smaller client requests come through, with the second largest percentage of legal respondents reporting average opportunity sizes of $100K-$300K. 

    Compared to respondents from across all industries, professional services had generally lower-value RFP opportunities, with the majority of firms averaging opportunities valued at $100K-$500K. 

  6. FASTER OUT OF THE GATE
    How long does it take to complete a request

     

    Have legal and professional services organizations been more focused on driving efficiencies across the enterprise than companies in other industries? Law firms and professional services organizations took less time, on average, to complete RFP responses; most services firms completed requests in 3-5 days, with the second largest percentage of legal and professional services respondents taking 6-10 days to generate a completed RFP response.  

  7. IT TAKES A VILLAGE

    For the majority of respondents across all industries, up to 19 people were involved in the RFP response process. The majority of law firms reported fewer individuals involved (six to 10), likely due to the involvement of more specialized contributors; the second most popular response for law firms was “11-19 people.”  

     

  8. AUTOMATING TO WIN

     

    Orgz using proposal automation software

     

    Of all the organizations we surveyed, 61% use proposal automation software, 10% are considering automating, and 29% are still using manual processes. Sixty-five percent of law firms have proposal automation software, while professional services organizations appear to be slower to let go of manual processes, with 57% using automation software—less than the average across all industries.  

     

  9. EVERYONE’S A MICROSOFT FAN

    Primary application to generate RFP responses

    Microsoft reigns supreme in the world of RFP response document generation—and Microsoft Word is the undisputed king when it comes to how bid and proposal teams choose to create response documents.  

    A full 100% of professional services firms in this year’s benchmark survey use Microsoft Word as their primary software application for responding to RFPs, compared to 76% of all respondents across multiple industries.   

    Legal organizations tended to spread their love for Microsoft love across multiple products: MS Word (55%), MS PowerPoint (18%), MS Excel (9%).  

GET MORE INSIDER STATS  

To explore key takeaways and discover more actionable insights to help you boost the performance of your response process and win more client business, check out the comprehensive 8th Annual Proposal Management Benchmark Survey.  

Pro tip: If you’re new to proposal management, you should check out our Professional Services Resources Hub. This extensive collection of resources is curated specifically for professional services organizations to help you create winning responses, maximize billable hours, and maintain cash flow.

Download QorusDocs' 8th Annual Benchmark Study

Published by Jennifer Tomlinson March 7, 2024
Jennifer Tomlinson