It’s a new year and a new year usually means a new project for many companies and organizations. When setting up the platform for a new project, Response for Proposals (RFP) are created to help inform bidders on the scope and desired needs. As a company that receives RFPs, we understand their importance and how the establish the first bit of communication between our work and the prospective client.
RFPs should be viewed as a communication channel; one that expresses your needs, expectations, as well as inquiries on trending topics and solutions. So as you begin any new project that requires a selection process, we wanted to provided three great tips that we have learned over the years that help lead to success using a RFP.
* Truly understand your own needs. This might require some self research, ask your clients, and shop around in your industry. When you know, specifically what services you want to buy, it lends to a much more thorough bid. What you don’t want to leave our bidders having to figure out what you mean. Every play the telephone game? Interpretations never work out so well.
RFPs should be long enough to allow your organization to fully describe where you are today, where you want to be in the future as well as any challenges so the bidder can help you address that. Also establish the type of relationship you desire out of the bidder long-term along with your expectations for both parties engagement in the project.
* Create a selection process. And share that information with all RFP bidders up front. Create timelines for the bids and provide timelines for them on your process. This keeps both parties on target and organized. Then by sticking to the timelines allow you to be fair and respectful to all recipients. We have found that when projects begin with a well-organized process, it lays the groundwork the beginning such a project.
* Make yourself equally accessible to the respondents. Treat it as any prospective relationship. Upfront and clear communication that is equal helps to grow healthy long-term relationships. Not providing accessible communication can signal to the bidders that it’s all right for them to proceed without your input.
* Ask for case studies that mirror your expectations. Even if you don’t like the creative, you can see an insight to how they effectively provided a solution for a client to reach a desired end result.
Overall, being a well-organized machine prior to sending out an RFP will help avoid pitfalls in the bidding process. Don’t assume that a bidder will know enough to provide a great solution without you providing adequate groundwork. An RFP is like an interview. You are looking for a consultant while the prospective consultants review your RFP to determine if they want to bid. Strong RFPs will receive the best quotes.
Best of luck for 2012 and all your upcoming projects!