How To Write An RFP Executive Summary


Have you been tasked with writing a fresh Request For Proposal (RFP) executive summary? If so, it is not an easy task. To be concise and clear while also compelling, your understanding of the client’s unique needs must be demonstrated as well as capturing how they can get value from buying what you offer to them.

An RFP executive summary is a helpful way to summarize your RFP response in just one page. It captures the most important elements of the proposal and provides additional context.

The people who would be reading the executive summary would expect it to summarize the proposal’s main offerings with compelling elements of the bid. They would read it to learn how your company can meet their specific objectives and why your company should be selected above all others. All this would be stated on a single page so that busy stakeholders can digest it quickly.

Who Writes An Executive Summary?

The proposal coordinator is generally charged with writing the executive summary of your response. However, it can be a job for sales or marketing. They might be most familiar with how to tailor their company’s products towards meeting specific needs.

When You Should Write An Executive Summary

Some argue that writing the executive summary of your proposal at the beginning, before developing the proposal, will help guide you and your messaging. Conversely, others recommend waiting until near or even after completion of the proposal to create this crucial document for sharing with potential clients or customers. They may be looking over proposals from other vendors in hope that they can find one worth considering more closely than others.

Executive Summary Best Practices

Now that you have all the basics down, here are some important tips for writing an effective executive summary:

In Your Response, Make Sure To Focus On The Customer

Address their criteria and needs with a clear explanation of how you will deliver value for those areas as well. This way they can quickly see if there are any potential gaps in meeting their priorities without having to read everything.

It Is Important To Keep Your Summary Brief

Make every sentence count and use the space wisely so it can be read easily by readers, even if they are on a tight schedule.

Leverage Your Knowledge Library

The proposal content repository in your RFP response software does not just have to be for responses, you can also store executive summary text there too. Store sections of valuable information with tags and categorization. This way they are easily found when drafting future summaries on topics similar or related to those highlighted within this section of the application.

Make Sure It Can Stand Alone

Your executive summary is the first impression that your company will have to give. It is important, both for you and those who are looking over this, to make an impact with what they are reading in not only be remembered but also stand out among other responses.

Follow Instructions

This may seem basic, but it is not uncommon for procurement teams to disqualify vendors that did not follow directions. For example, we have seen some RFPs with limits on page size or topics covered. Make sure you are aware of any specific requirements before submitting your bid.


Creating the perfect executive summary is a never-ending process. Indeed, each one needs to be customized for your audience. It should be written in such way that will interest them enough, so that they want more information from you

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