RFPs: Everything You Need to Know About the RFP Process

The very first account we ever landed took nearly four months of reviews, meetings, presentations, and back-and-forth dialogue before we secured the account. And while it seemed like a huge win for the company, we wound up barely breaking even after we accounted for all the hours put into the project.

Admittedly this is easier said than done and you can’t always avoid the RFP process, but I started sending handwritten notes to the folks involved when we were lucky enough to be included in the RFP process. The note would typically further introduce them to our firm, invite them for coffee or a quick meeting to discuss their needs, and thank them for thinking of the firm. 

I found that our most successful accounts started with this process as opposed to completing a formal RFP as we had the opportunity to meet two to three times and form a relationship as opposed to the rather cold RFP that every firm can create.”

2. Be prepared to accurately define RFP objectives

“I remember being in charge of my first RFP, it was a nightmare. Even at the time I didn’t think I was fully prepared, and looking back I realize I wasn’t prepared AT ALL.

My number one tip for a RFP is that you’re doing it to achieve something – and the better you can describe what you’re trying to achieve the more likely you are to be able to make an apples to apples comparison between vendors or partners.

If you leave things too broad, it becomes almost impossible to compare options equally and you’re almost certainly going to make a less informed choice. It’s the number one reason we see projects have budget or scope issues, is because the objective gets refined throughout the engagement rather than being defined adequately from the start.”

3. Review the RFP requirements

“Review the RFP requirements and instructions with a fine-tooth comb and review it often. Oftentimes, people have their RFP rejected or disqualified for missing one small requirement. Remember that the entity releasing the RFP will receive a lot of responses.

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