MarketingThe Final Information to RFPs

The Final Information to RFPs


Have you ever been tasked with the job of making a request for proposal, or an RFP?

Whether or not you don’t have any thought what that’s or haven’t written one shortly, as we speak’s information might help.

We’re diving into the specifics of what an RFP really is, why you would possibly want one, and find out how to create your very first one as we speak.

Download Now: Free RFP Templates

To begin, it’s best to perceive what all these letters even imply.

When your organization has a brand new (usually massive) undertaking, or one which’s extra complicated and requires a little bit of outsourcing, an RFP might help you get the job accomplished proper the primary time.

The RFP doc turns into a means so that you can shortly uncover the strengths and weaknesses of potential distributors in relation to your undertaking with out having to spend an excessive amount of of your time attempting to find them your self.

RFPs may also provide you with a sneak peek into completely different methods you could not have thought-about since every vendor will embrace their very own distinctive motion plan together with their bid.

And also you’ll have this data earlier than you ever must decide to the seller.

Have in mind, this shouldn’t be confused with an RFQ.


An RFQ, or request for citation, is barely completely different than an RFP because it’s simply the quote itself. Right here, corporations solicit a number of value quotes from numerous distributors to check companies based mostly on value alone. Whereas an RFP features a value quote (together with a number of different specifics), an RFQ doesn’t element something apart from value.

Versus an RFP, an RFQ is a request for quote or citation.

Right here’s find out how to perceive the distinction:

Whilst you’re technically receiving a quote in an RFP, you’re additionally getting data timeline of completion, deliverable schedule, and the checklist of companies offered as nicely.

However with an RFQ, you’re solely receiving the quote itself for the service or merchandise you’re fascinated with buying.

Generally, merely evaluating quotes isn’t sufficient to see if a possible vendor is the fitting match in your firm, which is why an RFP is extra applicable in these conditions.

What’s an RFP in advertising and marketing?

In Advertising and marketing, an RFP is commonly used to outsource any advertising and marketing actions that would assist your model improve attain. These actions embrace something associated to advertising and marketing which you can’t do internally.

As an example, in case you work at a small startup, you would possibly create an RFP to discover a full-service communications and advertising and marketing agency to create an built-in advertising and marketing plan for your corporation. If that is so, you’d define in your RFP that you just’re in search of a agency that can assist you “improve Website positioning presence” or “entice social media followers”, and so forth.

On the flip facet, in case you work for a advertising and marketing company, you will need to maintain an eye fixed out for RFPs in your space associated to companies you provide. As an example, in case you work for an online design firm, you will need to search for companies which have created RFPs for net design companies.

What’s an RFP in gross sales?

In gross sales, an RFP is commonly created when a enterprise is trying to buy a services or products to go well with its wants. As an example, if an enterprise firm is in search of a brand new CRM software program, the enterprise would possibly launch an RFP that outlines what it is in search of, and what it is hoping to attain with new CRM software program.

Because of this, RFPs can play a crucial position within the enterprise gross sales cycle. Enterprise corporations that concern RFPs are sometimes in search of companies that may present them with IT help, safety, onboarding and coaching, and different further companies. To shut these bigger accounts, it is vital your gross sales staff is ready with an RFP response course of, and is ready to effectively reply to those massive corporations inside the time allotted.

The RFP Course of Defined

Earlier than potential bidders can submit their proposals, an RFP should be drafted by the corporate requesting the work. (P.S. We’ll present you the way to do that later on this information)

This provides potential contractors a greater thought of what your organization is in search of.

As soon as your RFP is distributed out, contractors or distributors can assessment it and submit their greatest bids to compete for the job.

In these proposals, distributors typically embrace the next gadgets:

  • An motion plan of how they’re going to resolve the difficulty
  • A timeline of what you possibly can anticipate
  • Any mandatory background data
  • How a lot they anticipate the whole undertaking to value

In sure instances, bidders could come again and say particular elements of the RFP must be adjusted based mostly on their expertise within the {industry}.

At this level, you possibly can both assessment their suggestions and create a brand new RFP to regulate for the modifications, or you possibly can depart the unique as is and maintain it in thoughts whereas contemplating the opposite submitted bids. We’ll break down the method for creating the proper RFP subsequent.

5 RFP Levels to Get the Finest Bids

1. Assess what you want.

Earlier than you draft an RFP, you’ll have to do a little bit of preparation to determine what you want and what you’d like to perform. This course of will show you how to outline your targets, undertaking scope, and uncover roadblocks.

Use this time to conduct competitor and {industry} analysis to guage the place you stand. Are you following present {industry} requirements and tips? Is your product on par with what the competitors gives, or are there options you lack that will add worth?

2. Listing any technical specs.

Together with technical specs up entrance in your RFP permits distributors to find out whether or not or not they’ll present what you want. This additionally protects your corporation as a result of within the occasion a vendor agrees that they’ll meet your specs initially, however fails to ship as soon as they’ve taken on the undertaking, you possibly can maintain them accountable to the specs listed within the RFP.

3. Distribute the RFP.

As soon as the RFP is written, it’s time to ship it out. You may publish it in your web site, perhaps even creating a selected touchdown web page for it. Leverage any industry-related skilled teams you’re a member of and promote it there. Using your native chamber of commerce can also be a wonderful place to promote your RFP in case you’d favor to work with a neighborhood vendor.

4. Consider your gives.

When you obtain all of the proposals, it is going to be nearly easy to check every one and decide which vendor is the perfect match in your firm.

Out of the stack of bidders, you’ll need to slim this all the way down to a handful of your high three, 5, or 10 favorites to think about, relying on what number of you obtain or are fascinated with. From right here, you’ll need to spend time vetting potential distributors additional to find out who’s actually the perfect match for the job.

5. Choose the perfect vendor for the job.

Some corporations could request yet one more greatest and remaining provide from their high distributors after they’ve began this negotiation course of to make sure they’re not solely getting the fitting particular person or firm for the job however on the proper value, too.

Whereas this may occasionally sound like an additional step, it’s one that will prevent cash, time, and complications down the street.

However this additionally leads us to an enormous query: Is all of this actually mandatory?

Can’t you simply spend time reviewing two or three distributors by yourself?

As you’ll see subsequent, that route is certainly not in your greatest curiosity.

Why Problem a Request for Proposal?

Let’s briefly examine these two situations:

  • Possibility #1: Spend time discovering the proper vendor by yourself.
  • Possibility #2: Use an RFP to get potential distributors to return to you.

Select the primary route, and also you’ll in all probability use your coworkers, buddies, and networking teams to assist solicit potential referrals for the job.

Otherwise you would possibly carry out a Google search to take a look at the highest distributors in your space.

After you assessment the web site of a potential candidate for the job, you’ll craft the proper message to achieve out and study if they’ll even assist.

Then, you’ll have to clarify the specifics of your undertaking and you could or could not ask them to submit a proposal earlier than deciding to decide on them in your undertaking.

It’s not an advanced course of, however did we point out it’s a must to repeat it for each promising referral or vendor you come throughout?

Think about how lengthy that’s going to take!

Now, what if these potential contractors already knew your undertaking particulars and so they got here again with their greatest plan of motion and a proper bid so that you can assessment?

So as an alternative of getting to clarify your wants every time, you’d merely define it as soon as, and ship it out to the lots.

And to save lots of you much more time, it will be as much as potential contractors — not you — to achieve out.

RFP Advantages

Whereas creating an RFP would require time up entrance, it’s actually value doing the legwork. Advantages of making an RFP embrace:

  • Saves time: As defined with the situations above, an RFP saves you tons of time doing outreach to distributors. As an alternative, you possibly can create one RFP doc, publish it and have the distributors come to you.
  • Not restricted by your community: When doing the outreach your self, you’re probably to remain inside your individual community, counting on referrals. Whereas referrals are nice, publishing an RFP on-line permits you to attain a a lot bigger swath of distributors.
  • Vetted options: The RFP route additionally offers you a sneak peek into every vendor’s actual plan of motion, not the one they discuss you into over the telephone or in particular person. Since potential candidates must submit a proper bid, they’ll have to spend time outlining the answer and actually working by the issue at hand.

With RFPs you could have a straightforward strategy to weed out distributors and lower by the stack of choices pretty shortly.

However, to get thus far, you possibly can’t make this subsequent mistake.

What Not To Do With an RFP

If you wish to discover the fitting vendor, you want your RFP to be particular.

Solely asking “sure” or “no” questions will not get you anyplace.

That’s why you will need to create particular questions that require considerate solutions. Ask open-ended questions that require them to clarify their thought course of when fixing an issue.

Attempt to use sentences just like these:

  • Are you able to share an instance of the way you’ve solved this downside or an analogous one for an additional firm? Did you encounter any unexpected roadblocks? What would you do the identical or otherwise this time?
  • Together with your proposed redesign, how lengthy would it not take a non-tech savvy particular person to finish the brand new registration kind? How a lot time do you estimate this might save?

With the following pointers in thoughts, you’re able to draft your first RFP.

Easy methods to Write an RFP

Right here’s the fundamental construction of an RFP and what to incorporate in yours:

1. Mission Overview

Earlier than you go into the specifics of your organization, it’s best to give a short introduction to the undertaking itself so distributors know immediately if it’s one thing value bidding on.

2. Your Firm Background

This shouldn’t be an extended historical past of your organization. Slightly, it ought to give contractors a greater thought of what your organization does and who you function a goal market.

3. The Objectives of Your Mission

Clearly determine what you hope to perform with this undertaking and what you see as a “win” so everyone seems to be on the identical web page.

4. Mission Scope

The small print of the undertaking are important in an RFP. In the identical means you don’t need to use imprecise questions, a imprecise undertaking scope gained’t show you how to discover the fitting vendor both.

Spend time actually detailing your undertaking scope so there aren’t any surprises afterward.

5. Goal Deliverable Schedule

Even when your deadlines aren’t tremendous tight, it’s best to nonetheless have a goal deliverable schedule in thoughts. This must be included in your RFP so potential distributors can correctly gauge if they’ve the sources and bandwidth to finish the job on time.

6. Potential Roadblocks

Don’t disguise your current or potential points underneath the proverbial rug in order for you them to vanish. A profitable RFP is explicitly clear about any technical points or potential roadblocks, similar to: Are you coping with customized coding or an outdated platform? Does your staff have restricted sources?

By explaining this upfront, potential distributors will know precisely what they’re stepping into.

You’ll additionally naturally weed out contractors who can’t deal with the duty as a result of these constraints.

However you’ll additionally join with corporations that know find out how to work round these widespread points with ability and finesse.

Bear in mind, it’s much better to search out this out now than after you’ve accepted the bid and began work.

7. Finances Constraints

It’s additionally essential to be upfront together with your funds too. The extra you possibly can eradicate surprises, the higher for all events concerned.

8. What You’re Trying For in Potential Distributors

One other strategy to cut back or eradicate surprises is to clarify precisely what you’re in search of in potential contractors.

All it’s a must to do is define what issues most to your undertaking (i.e., time, resolution, funds, and so forth.) and present the way you’ll be evaluating their proposals based mostly on that.

We’ll present you the way that is accomplished quickly, however earlier than we do, there’s yet one more factor so as to add right here: an RFP cowl letter.

Identical to a canopy letter for a resume, an RFP cowl letter creates knowledgeable picture in your model and units the tone for potential distributors. It indicators that they need to take the proposal and the undertaking severely.

The excellent news is there are a selection of instruments to make creating RFPs simpler and fewer hectic than you’re imagining.

Pattern Responses to RFPs

When you’ve issued an RFP and are gathering responses, you could be questioning what it’s best to search for in efficient RFP responses. Right here, let us take a look at a number of examples of spectacular RFP pattern responses.

Instance One: Normal RFP Response for Net Design Companies

Pricey [author of RFP]:

Relating to your request for proposal (RFP), [our company] is thrilled in regards to the alternative to offer you net design companies. Having labored with [brief list of past clients], we imagine a partnership with [company you’re writing to] would have an amazing influence in your buyer satisfaction and backside line.

As one in all [client’s industry] main suppliers of [client’s main service], you understand simply how crucial this time of 12 months will be in your clients. On common, the associated fee to ship is $[xxxx.xx], and [client name] is dedicated to “[client’s mission statement].”

As these challenges turn into extra widespread, it’s more and more essential to offer clients with a strong, Website positioning-optimized web site to draw new leads. With this in thoughts, [our company] intends to assist [client’s name]:

  • Create a smooth, spectacular web site that’s clear, user-friendly and cellular aware of work on all units, so net viewers have a powerful first impression of your model whatever the gadget they use to search out you.
  • Assist you strengthen model id by a brand new emblem and a brand new, cohesive colour palette.
  • Guarantee every of your net pages are Website positioning-optimized to rank shortly, which can entice new clients to your web site and reveal your management within the {industry}.

As said within the government abstract, [our company] intends to assist [client’s name] [brief allusion to client benefits outlined in executive summary]. To do that, our staff has outlined a proposed set of deliverables, an order of operations, division of labor, and anticipated dates of completion to make sure the partnership between [your company] and [client’s name] is profitable.

[Your company] cannot wait to work with you to assist [client’s name] in addressing [client’s challenges described in Executive Summary]. To recap, please see beneath a short overview of the companies included on this partnership.

This pattern response clearly and succinctly explains how the seller’s service will remedy the customer’s crucial ache factors relating to creating a powerful web site. By outlining the important thing advantages, you are displaying the shopper how you will put them first and give attention to their must get the job accomplished.

Instance Two: Video Manufacturing Firm Providing Its Companies

sample RFP response from paul horton visuals

Picture Supply

When responding to an RFP from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Protect, Paul Horton Visuals selected to create a full webpage devoted to their RFP response. The webpage format enabled the staff at Paul Horton to create a full pattern video remedy and course of to point out Anthem what they’d be capable of ship if Anthem selected them. The web page additionally consists of an embedded video to spotlight the strengths of Paul Horton: video manufacturing.

Proposal Software program Instruments to Assist You Handle RFPs

On this article, we outlined 10 instruments that can assist you handle and create professional-looking proposals in much less time.

For as we speak’s functions, the next 5 instruments are nice locations to get began:


RFPIO solves the issue of responding to RFPs, from undertaking administration to collaboration, to integrating with different software program. Their resolution consists of reporting dashboards, auto-response options, and automatic era of proactive proposals from inside your CRM. RFPIO additionally consists of an clever reply library that turns earlier RFP responses into on-demand intelligence that empowers income groups with enterprise content material at their fingertips wherever they work.

And what’s higher? RFPIO has an integration with HubSpot that can routinely sync your RFP together with your portal, making it simple to share data together with your staff.

2. PandaDoc

To create personalized RFPs with your individual branding, think about using the proposal software program PandaDoc.

Right here you possibly can arrange your first RFP inside minutes and even collaborate with staff members utilizing real-time updates inside the doc itself.

3. Nusii

Just like different proposal software program in the marketplace, Nusii makes use of a drag-and-drop editor that makes constructing RFPs a breeze — particularly for newbies.

Because of its clear, trendy, easy design, it’s additionally very easy to determine too.

One of the crucial useful options of Nusii is utilizing it for remodeling current RFPs to save lots of you time. Simply copy the content material from an RFP you want and edit data to suit your new request.

4. Loopio

How do you propose on organizing all of the responses to your RFPs?

One standout function withLoopiois its RFP response library, which supplies you prompt entry to all of your solutions from earlier RFPs. This protects you the effort of digging round to search out what you want in a crowded inbox.

Their magic function will even show you how to auto-populate a response if it seems just like one you’ve got already accomplished.

Plus, you possibly can handle your complete RFP course of — together with sending automated responses — and collaborate together with your staff multi function place with their intuitive dashboard.

And if proposal instruments are out of the funds proper now, or in case you’d wish to strive your hand at creating your individual first, use this template as a place to begin.

5. RFP360

RFP360 streamlines your strategy to RFP response administration. Their intuitive data administration, workflow and collaboration options make it simple to create, assessment, replace and approve compelling responses in a single library. Proposal automation and reply intelligence (AI) capabilities speed up your skill to reply questions, suggesting the very best responses and routinely finishing them in bulk.

You too can import RFPs in numerous codecs and generate polished remaining proposals, and built-in extensions enable anybody throughout your group to make use of content material out of your data library in Microsoft Workplace information, on-line questionnaires and types — with out leaving these purposes.

Free and Editable RFP Template

free editable RFP request for proposal PDF template

Obtain a free, editable RFP template.

To make use of this template, merely obtain it right here or fill out the shape beneath. You may take away sections or items of knowledge that don’t pertain to your undertaking and add no matter else you want in your RFPs. You too can use this tried-and-tested proposal method to guarantee your RFP is skilled and polished too.

Create an RFP With Ease

Now that you’ve got a greater thought of what an RFP is and find out how to create your first one, you’re able to get began.

Sit down together with your staff to slim down your undertaking’s specifics, targets, and scope of labor. Then decide when the undertaking must be accomplished and your funds earlier than transferring on to the drafting section.

With this intel gathered, you’ll be able to plug every little thing into our template.

Observe these steps and also you’ll have an RFP template you possibly can shortly replace. Your subsequent undertaking can be a hit that a lot sooner.

Editor’s be aware: This put up was initially revealed in August, 2018 and has been up to date for comprehensiveness.

rfp templates


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