This is a great article about how to respond to RFIs. Also, I should add that sometimes vendors are also required to respond to RFPs (Request for Proposal). Yes, by all means, ask good questions. Also, find out what the deadline is for the RFI or RFP. And yes, selling to large companies does take time. For example, I’ve dealt with sales cycles that lasted as long as 6 months to 2 years! When dealing with large companies, you must remember that you are not working with just one decision maker. In most cases, you are working with several decision makers in different divisions. Your job is not only finding out who all the decision makers are, but also slowly roping them in and ensuring that they will agree to purchase from you.
However, a word of warning — it’s not unusual for RFPs to be written by your competitor. That’s right — a vendor may be leaning very heavily towards buying from your competitor, but to ensure some level of fairness, they still are obligated to write RFPs. The only problem is that the language and requirements may be so narrow as to tilt in favor of your competitor. So, use your best judgement — if you honestly feel that you cannot fulfill the requirements outlined in a RFP, don’t waste your time. Chances are your competitor has already won the contract or bid. Better to lick your wounds and go elsewhere.