Practical Tips for Requests For Proposals (RFP's)
By Bill Kennedy - Elizabeth Engel at Beaconfire Consulting has some practical advice for companies issuing Requests For Proposals (RFP's). In an earlier post, I argued for reducing the boilerplate that typically goes into RFP's and their responses, but Elizabeth goes a lot further with practical suggestions about the whole process.
Some of Elizabeth's do's and don'ts:
- DO allow vendors a reasonable amount of time to respond.
- DON’T send out a 50 page RFP.
- DON’T forbid vendors to contact you.
- DO share the questions that one vendor asks with all the vendors who received the RFP.
- DO focus on your needs and problems, but allow the vendor to propose the solution.
- DO your homework and narrow the number of vendors to 4-6.
- DO be realistic about your project time frame.
- DO be up front about your process and keep your prospective vendors informed.
If you are new to the RFP process, there is an entertaining description of it in the now ended 1099 online magazine (from which the above picture was taken).
Thanks to Jeff Brooks at Merkle for pointing out Elizabeth's blog. Jeff's Donor Power Blog is focussed on not-for-profits, but this advice applies to anyone issuing RFP's.