A request for proposal, or RFP, is a document that businesses use to get information about potential vendors and their products. It’s like a survey with specific questions about particular features and needs. RFPs are used by businesses of all sizes to standardize the vendor selection process. Businesses will often use an RFP to make sure they have covered all of the criteria that are important to them when choosing vendors. They also help streamline the purchasing process so businesses aren’t spending unnecessary time on unnecessary proposals. Whether you’re looking to buy a new printer, research potential marketing agencies or suppliers, or anything in between, here is our list of the easy to use RFP template for your business.
Create an RFP for everything.
When you’re writing an RFP, you should be asking yourself: “If we don’t get this product or service, what’s the next best solution?” If you can’t answer that question, then you don’t need the service. If you are asking for an RFP for everything, you will be wasting less time and energy because you’re not even bothering to look at people who can’t meet your needs. You’ll also be better able to prioritize vendors based on their ability to meet your needs, which is what you’re paying them for. You don’t want to get caught up in a bidding war — you want to find the best vendors to meet your needs as quickly as possible.
Research services first, then vendors.
When writing an RFP, you should begin by researching the services that you need. For example, if you need a new printer, first conduct some research on the type of printer that will work best for you, what features are most important, and what sort of budget you can spend. Once you know what you need, you can then identify which vendors can meet those needs. Vendors, on the other hand, tend to be more concerned with finding customers. They are probably more than willing to meet your needs, but they might not be able to provide you with the specific information you need to make the decision. This is especially true if you are looking for a service like marketing or accounting. Those are skills that you don’t have and won’t have time to learn. With vendors, you’re looking for their ability to provide the service for you, whereas with services you’re looking for the ability to meet your specific needs.
Identify your pain points upfront.
Before you start writing your RFP, make a list of your most pressing business pain points. For example, if you’re having trouble finding qualified leads, you start your RFP by clarifying that you are looking for a lead generation service. This way, the vendors who respond to the RFP can be sure that they are addressing your needs directly. It will also help you to narrow down the vendors you are interested in talking to because most vendors won’t be able to offer the service you want. If you don’t identify your pain points upfront, you might spend a lot of time researching vendors who can’t solve your problems.
Don’t include unreasonable requirements.
If you’re writing an RFP for a new printer, don’t include requirements that you know printers can’t possibly meet. For example, if you want the printer to come with free snacks and lunch breaks, you’re probably going to get some odd looks. Vendors will either not respond to your RFP or they’ll respond with a ridiculous price. If you want to make your RFP seem less attractive, add unnecessary requirements. The vendor will probably recognize that you don’t have your act together and that you’re not ready to commit. That doesn’t mean you can’t add requirements, though. You just want to make sure they are reasonable. For example, if you need a printer that can print in color, and you want to be sure it uses the type of toner you currently use, you’re not adding an unreasonable requirement.
When writing an RFP, begin by researching the services you need. Make a list of your most pressing business pain points and then identify which vendors can meet those needs. Make sure you don’t include unreasonable requirements and then summarize your RFP at the end to make sure it’s easy to read. That way, vendors can easily see what you’re looking for and what they need to do to get the job. And don’t forget to create an RFP for everything — even the things you don’t think you need. You might just find a better solution than you ever expected.