RFPs: Everything You Need to Know About the RFP Process

Don’t send out RFPs to 12 different organizations if you really only have your eye on four. Some companies will want to know upfront what their odds are and may refuse to submit if odds seem low. In this regard, sending RFPs to too many companies has already limited your potential replies.

As for deciding who to send your RFP to, there are a number of ways:

Recommendation:  You have a network of professionals who have likely gone through similar processes of outsourcing website design, or marketing campaigns, or press release documentation. Ask around! When companies have good experiences, they’re more than happy to share that with their networks.

Similarly, your network can help deter you from bidders that notoriously fail to follow through on their promises. Word of mouth is an effective advertising tool that you don’t even have to pay for. Utilize the people you know to figure out who they know and decipher if their prior contracted employees could be a good fit for your project and needs.

Research:  You’ve already assigned, or are part of, a competent and knowledgeable team that is overseeing the creation of this proposal. Why not trust them to carry out research on where to send the RFPs? There’s no perfect formula. You just have to find a few agencies or potential bidders who look like they’ve excelled at your project genre before, and consider sending them an RFP.

Additionally, sites such as G2 Crowd have listings of service agencies with verified customer reviews[18] that may help you narrow down your options. Services agencies are often limited by location, so make sure you’re narrowing your search or options to organizations that can serve your territory. 

Contacts:  Working in your industry has surely caused you to meet people at launch parties, or networking events, or professional conferences. Look through your stack of collected business cards to see if any of the people who made an impression on you are in the industry you’re needing help from. Digging through contact books can help come up with options for people you’ve already met and may feel more comfortable working with. Even if these contacts don’t end up working for you, they may have contacts of their own, which links back to the “recommendation” genre. 
The physical distribution of the RFP is open to your preference. It’s a digital age, and many organizations expect communications to fall in that line. For this reason, it is acceptable to distribute the RFP via email or another file storage and sharing solution. You can deliver it securely so the recipient is unable to make edits, and also so it is securely hidden from external viewers.

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