RFPs: Everything You Need to Know About the RFP Process

It’s kind of like when you go to a new salon and get to choose a stylist. Do you want the entry-level employee whose price is slightly reduced, or do you want a master stylist for a higher rate? That’s not necessarily the strategy companies take when they present proposals, but the idea is the same: Will you be able to work with more knowledgeable people, or will they assign you someone new and not as experienced?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never had a bad outcome with an entry-level stylist. Sometimes, extremely talented people are overlooked because they’re just starting out. This is why asking for samples is an effective way of determining skill set. Instead of judging a team or employee on their tenure at a company, see if they’ve done work you respect and admire.

If you’d like to further familiarize yourself with the process by looking at examples, I’ve included a few below.

Writing an RFP is a many-layered process that can feel much like penning your graduate thesis. It doesn’t have to be that way, especially if you have a competent team navigating this with you. Just take it one step at a time, and delegate the work to where it’s evenly distributed among team members. This way, nothing is left out or forgotten, and no one employee feels strapped with the weight of the entire document.

If you’re working alone, that’s okay, too. Develop your timeline early on, and then take it one step, and one day, at a time. 

Distributing your RFP

So, you’ve gotten this far. A dedicated team has determined your company’s project requirements. You’ve narrated goals and questions and decided on a timeline for multiple elements of the project. Your document has been written and rewritten and is ready for distribution. Now what? 

An integral step in distributing your RFP is compiling a list of recipients. You should form this list carefully so as to receive the “sweet spot” amount of replies. Some people believe that sending an RFP to too many recipients is actually detrimental to the process, as few teams have the time or resources to sort through copious replies. According to Computerworld, it’s much better to do some independent research and reach out to contacts that are likely to send back the best replies, or companies you already think might be a good fit.

Another thing to consider is respecting bidders by not baiting them with RFPs you have no intention of choosing them for. Although a proposal is a chance for them to prove themselves and their abilities, you should also play fair. [17]

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