Importance of Writing a Quality Request for Proposal

Most businesses can relate when told that we spend a great amount of time writing and facilitating a Request for Proposal (RFP). Requesting an RFP is a way to elicit proposals for a specific product, service, or solution. That is why it is important to write and present a quality RFP. Clients request RFPs when making complex decisions for their business.

Detailed in the RFP are the specific terms and details that vendors have to meet and adhere to. Of course, every vendor wants to demonstrate that their product or service is unique, special, and can facilitate the businesses needs.  It would be ideal to not interfere with the vendor to client relationship when dealing with an RFP. Yet in reality vendors try to include an emotional tone when selling to their customers.

An effective RFP includes the specific qualifications of a project that only some vendors can provide, while also providing a detailed insight on which vendors could match their guidelines.  The more effective the RFP is in providing the important components in the process, the more effective the final selection will be when meeting the needs of the business.

So what exactly makes a quality RFP? An effective RFP should have:

  • Statement of Purpose: Introduce the purpose of the request and specify what information the business is looking for in a vendor. In this section the business has to be as specific as possible so there is no confusion on what they are looking for.
  • Details/Specifications: When looking for plausible vendors, businesses should be as detailed as possible and precise all throughout the RFP. It is important to do this so that in the end a business can obtain the right vendor. Every business should also include the company goals in this section so that the vendors have an idea of what the business is looking for.
  • Expectations: It is important for businesses to specify what their expectations are from the vendors. In this segment, it is recommended to include the response period and method, the process details and duration, and the amount of time that would be required for this project. This can also include a response template where vendors are specified on how to respond to the company.
  • Questions: It is best that the RFP includes questions for the vendors, where they can denote current clients, scope of work, average duration period, and the ability to meet deadlines. This will help the business differentiate the vendors and also see their different potential.
  • Non-Disclosure agreement: It is suggested to include a non-disclosure agreement within an RFP. This is essential when both a company and vendor are sharing sensitive information.
  • Selection criteria: Most RFPs should have a section where it is specified on what terms the vendors will be selected because this helps the vendor better understand the selection process.

Having a quality RFP is crucial when encountering a decision-making process. This makes it easier for the company and the vendor to create a long-term relationship and meet each other’s expectations. Following these tips should result in a quality and effective RFP.

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