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, at present’s information may help.

We’re diving into the specifics of what an RFP really is, why you may want one, and learn how to create your very first one at present.

Download Now: Free RFP Templates

To begin, you must perceive what all these letters even imply.

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

The RFP doc turns into a manner so that you can rapidly 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 of 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 should decide to the seller.

Consider, 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, firms solicit a number of value quotes from varied distributors to check providers 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 learn 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 providers supplied as nicely.

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

Most often, merely evaluating quotes isn’t sufficient to see if a possible vendor is the correct match on your firm, which is why an RFP is extra acceptable in these conditions.

What’s an RFP in advertising and marketing?

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

For example, if you happen to work at a small startup, you may 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 enterprise. If that is so, you’d define in your RFP that you simply’re searching for a agency that will help you “enhance Search engine optimisation presence” or “appeal to social media followers”, and so forth.

On the flip facet, if you happen to work for a advertising and marketing company, you may wish to maintain an eye fixed out for RFPs in your space associated to providers you supply. For example, if you happen to work for an internet design firm, you may wish to search for companies which have created RFPs for internet design providers.

What’s an RFP in gross sales?

In gross sales, an RFP is usually created when a enterprise is seeking to buy a services or products to swimsuit its wants. For example, if an enterprise firm is searching for a brand new CRM software program, the enterprise may launch an RFP that outlines what it is searching for, and what it is hoping to attain with new CRM software program.

Because of this, RFPs can play a vital position within the enterprise gross sales cycle. Enterprise firms that subject RFPs are sometimes searching for companies that may present them with IT assist, safety, onboarding and coaching, and different further providers. To shut these bigger accounts, it is important your gross sales workforce is ready with an RFP response course of, and is ready to effectively reply to those massive firms inside the time allotted.

The RFP Course of Defined

Earlier than potential bidders can submit their proposals, an RFP have to 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 searching for.

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

In these proposals, distributors usually embrace the next objects:

  • An motion plan of how they’re going to resolve the problem
  • A timeline of what you’ll be able to anticipate
  • Any mandatory background data
  • How a lot they anticipate the complete undertaking to value

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

At this level, you’ll be able to both evaluation their suggestions and create a brand new RFP to regulate for the adjustments, or you’ll be able to 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 right 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 provide help to outline your objectives, undertaking scope, and uncover roadblocks.

Use this time to conduct competitor and {industry} analysis to judge the place you stand. Are you following present {industry} requirements and tips? Is your product on par with what the competitors presents, 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 enterprise 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’ll be able to 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 possibly can publish it in your web site, perhaps even creating a particular 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 superb place to promote your RFP if you happen to’d want to work with an area vendor.

4. Consider your presents.

When you obtain all of the proposals, it will likely be nearly easy to check every one and decide which vendor is one of the best match on your firm.

Out of the stack of bidders, you’ll wish to slender 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 by. From right here, you’ll wish to spend time vetting potential distributors additional to find out who’s actually the best match for the job.

5. Choose one of the best vendor for the job.

Some firms might request yet one more greatest and remaining supply from their high distributors after they’ve began this negotiation course of to make sure they’re not solely getting the correct 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 which will prevent cash, time, and complications down the highway.

However this additionally leads us to a giant 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 Subject a Request for Proposal?

Let’s briefly evaluate these two situations:

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

Select the primary route, and also you’ll most likely use your coworkers, buddies, and networking teams to assist solicit attainable referrals for the job.

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

After you evaluation the web site of a attainable candidate for the job, you’ll craft the right message to succeed in out and study if they’ll even assist.

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

It’s not an advanced course of, however did we point out it’s important 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 evaluation?

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

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

RFP Advantages

Whereas creating an RFP would require time up entrance, it’s actually price 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 a substitute, you’ll be able to 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 provides you a sneak peek into every vendor’s actual plan of motion, not the one they speak you into over the telephone or in particular person. Since potential candidates should submit a proper bid, they’ll have to spend time outlining the answer and actually working by means of the issue at hand.

With RFPs you’ve gotten a simple approach to weed out distributors and lower by means of the stack of choices pretty rapidly.

However, to get so far, you’ll be able to’t make this subsequent mistake.

What Not To Do With an RFP

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

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

That’s why you could 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 one more firm? Did you encounter any unexpected roadblocks? What would you do the identical or in a different way 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 type? How a lot time do you estimate this might save?

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

The best way to Write an RFP

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

1. Venture Overview

Earlier than you go into the specifics of your organization, you must give a short introduction to the undertaking itself so distributors know immediately if it’s one thing price 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 Venture

Clearly establish 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. Venture Scope

The main points of the undertaking are important in an RFP. In the identical manner you don’t wish to use imprecise questions, a imprecise undertaking scope gained’t provide help to discover the correct 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, you must 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 cover your current or potential points beneath the proverbial rug if you would like them to vanish. A profitable RFP is explicitly clear about any technical points or attainable roadblocks, resembling: Are you coping with customized coding or an outdated platform? Does your workforce 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 attributable to these constraints.

However you’ll additionally join with firms that know learn how to work round these widespread points with talent and finesse.

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

7. Funds Constraints

It’s additionally vital to be upfront along with your funds too. The extra you’ll be able to remove surprises, the higher for all events concerned.

8. What You’re Trying For in Potential Distributors

One other approach to cut back or remove surprises is to clarify precisely what you’re searching for in potential contractors.

All it’s important 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 carried out 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 an expert picture on your model and units the tone for potential distributors. It indicators that they need to take the proposal and the undertaking significantly.

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

Pattern Responses to RFPs

In the event you’ve issued an RFP and are amassing responses, you could be questioning what you must search for in efficient RFP responses. Right here, let’s take a look at a couple of examples of spectacular RFP pattern responses.

Instance One: Common RFP Response for Internet Design Companies

Pricey [author of RFP]:

Relating to your request for proposal (RFP), [our company] is thrilled in regards to the alternative to supply you internet design providers. 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 among [client’s industry] main suppliers of [client’s main service], simply how vital this time of 12 months might be on your clients. On common, the price to ship is $[xxxx.xx], and [client name] is dedicated to “[client’s mission statement].”

As these challenges change into extra widespread, it’s more and more vital to supply clients with a robust, Search engine optimisation-optimized web site to draw new leads. With this in thoughts, [our company] intends to assist [client’s name]:

  • Create a glossy, spectacular web site that’s clear, user-friendly and cell attentive to work on all units, so internet viewers have a robust first impression of your model whatever the system they use to seek out you.
  • Show you how to strengthen model id by means of a brand new emblem and a brand new, cohesive colour palette.
  • Guarantee every of your internet pages are Search engine optimisation-optimized to rank rapidly, which can appeal to new clients to your web site and show your management within the {industry}.

As said within the govt abstract, [our company] intends to assist [client’s name] [brief allusion to client benefits outlined in executive summary]. To do that, our workforce 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 under a short overview of the providers included on this partnership.

This pattern response clearly and succinctly explains how the seller’s service will clear up the client’s vital ache factors relating to creating a robust web site. By outlining the important thing advantages, you are exhibiting the consumer how you may put them first and concentrate on their must get the job carried out.

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 Defend, Paul Horton Visuals selected to create a full webpage devoted to their RFP response. The webpage format enabled the workforce at Paul Horton to create a full pattern video therapy and course of to indicate Anthem what they’d have the ability to ship if Anthem selected them. The web page additionally contains 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 will help you handle and create professional-looking proposals in much less time.

For at present’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 contains reporting dashboards, auto-response options, and automatic era of proactive proposals from inside your CRM. RFPIO additionally contains 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 robotically sync your RFP along with your portal, making it simple to share data along with your workforce.

2. PandaDoc

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

Right here you’ll be able to arrange your first RFP inside minutes and even collaborate with workforce members utilizing real-time updates inside the doc itself.

3. Nusii

Much 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 novices.

Due to its clear, fashionable, easy design, it’s additionally very easy to determine too.

One of the useful options of Nusii is utilizing it for transforming 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 provides you on the spot entry to all of your solutions from earlier RFPs. This protects you the effort of digging round to seek out what you want in a crowded inbox.

Their magic function will even provide help to auto-populate a response if it seems just like one you have already carried out.

Plus, you’ll be able to handle your complete RFP course of — together with sending automated responses — and collaborate along with your workforce multi functional place with their intuitive dashboard.

And if proposal instruments are out of the funds proper now, or if you happen to’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, evaluation, replace and approve compelling responses in a single library. Proposal automation and reply intelligence (AI) capabilities speed up your potential to reply questions, suggesting the absolute best responses and robotically finishing them in bulk.

You too can import RFPs in varied codecs and generate polished remaining proposals, and built-in extensions permit anybody throughout your group to make use of content material out of your data library in Microsoft Workplace recordsdata, on-line questionnaires and varieties — with out leaving these functions.

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 under. You possibly can take away sections or items of knowledge that don’t pertain to your undertaking and add no matter else you want on 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 learn how to create your first one, you’re able to get began.

Sit down along with your workforce to slender down your undertaking’s specifics, objectives, and scope of labor. Then decide when the undertaking must be accomplished and your funds earlier than shifting on to the drafting section.

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

Observe these steps and also you’ll have an RFP template you’ll be able to rapidly replace. Your subsequent undertaking will probably be successful that a lot sooner.

Editor’s word: This submit was initially printed in August, 2018 and has been up to date for comprehensiveness.

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