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In order to ensure that you and your company are getting all of the available information needed to make an informed decision about which vendors or service providers to work with, it’s important to create a thorough request for proposal (RFP), that outlines all of the specifics of the scope of your project.
RFPs are used to make the selection process easier when seeking potential partners to work with- allowing for multiple bids to come in with specifics regarding how a project will be handled, pricing, timeframes, and so on. Therefore, it’s important to include everything needed in your RFP to help you select the right person or business for the job the first time, and without spending too much time seeking out potential vendors on your own.
While putting together your RFP, it’s important to ask project-specific questions you want bidders to answer. Simple yes or no questions won’t provide you with enough information to make an informed decision.
Requiring thoughtful answers will also allow you to gauge a bidder's level of expertise without the need to do research via case studies from past jobs they won and the like. Ask open-ended questions that require examples as this influences the bidder to draw upon past experiences and demonstrate working knowledge.
This is the first item to include in your actual RFP.
The project overview should give bidders a good idea of what the project is that they’ll be bidding on. Smaller projects may be a better fit for smaller vendors, for example. An overview allows bidders to more easily decide whether the project is a good fit for them or not, acting as a type of filter to help streamline the process.
Include a bit of information about your company.
This part should serve as a brief overview, so there is no need to include your entire company history. This overview gives bidders some background information about who you are, what you do, and who your target market is.
Not only will bidders want to know who they are working with but is also helps to further narrow down proper bidders.
In order to make sure everyone is on the same page, it’s important to provide information about what it will look like to your company for this project to qualify as a “success.” Take some time before crafting your RFP to set milestones with your teams in regard to what you will need to see for this project to be considered a win.
An essential part of putting together your RFP, clearly and completely detailing the scope of your project is the surest way to ensure that you are able to get the right vendor for it. This is an area where it’s particularly important to be specific.
Take the time to make clear a meticulously detailed description of the scope of your project and you’ll reduce the chances of issues later on.
Whether you’ll need things done on a very tight and specific schedule, or you have a degree in flexibility that allows for some looser deadlines, it’s important to communicate your expectations and timeline to potential vendors.
If you’re in the latter category, come up with more specific or concrete deadlines and make those clear in your RFP.
There’s no sense in being dishonest about problems or snags in your current operations that could impact the project you’re seeking proposals for.
A good working relationship means open and honest communication, and the ideal potential vendor is better prepared to deliver the results you need when they know ahead of time and can plan for, potential hiccups.
Make clear what potential budget constraints are ahead of time in order to eliminate waste- vendors who can see they are far above your price range won’t waste their time responding to your RFP, and you’ll waste less time leaning toward someone out of your range.
RFPs are like resumes or dating profiles in a way. If you make it clear what you are seeking, as well as what your priorities are (which aspect of the project is most vital to you? Timeline? Pricing? Volume?) and let bidders know how they’ll be evaluated based on your priorities, the entire process will go much more smoothly.
If you go through your RFP with a fine-toothed comb and assure that you’ve completely answered and included any potential questions vendors or service providers may have, you’ll streamline the process for both your company and those seeking to work with you.
Remember, specificity is key to finding the right partner for your project.
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