Many professionals who deal with Requests for Proposal (RFPs) likely wince at the term alone. If you’ve ever been left wondering whether the bidding process actually benefits your business, we understand. RFPs have earned a bad rap for good reason, and we advocate for modern, new efficiencies to make the process faster and less frustrating. We believe the practice is worth revamping and perfecting, you see, because it can be so helpful to the companies that use it.
An RFP is a technical exercise in which a company solicits detailed plans from vendors for how they would create a needed solution, based on the issuing company’s stated requirements. Here are the top 5 reasons you should embrace RFPs in the bidding process.
#1: RFPs boost your knowledge base.
RFPs will build up your current knowledge base by encouraging innovative, thoughtful solutions. The responding vendor can likely solve an array of challenges creatively, perhaps even proposing multiple solutions, as the team has probably dealt with many similar cases before the RFP. Ultimately, you could come away from the bidding process with a better answer to your company’s challenge than you even imagined!
#2: RFPs are effective planning tools.
The RFP process allows you to not only determine your vendor, but to plan out costs, project requirements and realistic milestones. RFPs also ensure that everyone is communicating, articulating their requirements and gathering all available information. The mutual understanding of the need, solution, implementation process and ability to mitigate any risks fosters a more disciplined approach to the overall process and project.
#3: An RFP is a reality check.
Moreover, RFPs allow vendors to challenge your assumptions and unrealistic requirements. Vendors can let you know if your expectations of the budget, timeframe and technology are in alignment with the current industry standards. The process also allows for an added layer of comparison, where any concerns can be addressed head-on. The bottom line is, RFPs help to determine gaps and misconceptions much earlier in the process. Wouldn’t you rather have sticker-shock before the contract is ever signed, or realize your timeline isn’t aligned before you get started?
#4: RFPs create healthy competition.
RFPs provide the first step to notifying suppliers of your company’s requirements, which urges the supplier to meet those demands economically. Since you’re likely to hear from more vendors when going through the bidding process than you would otherwise, the process encourages competition, which helps to drive innovation and ultimately cut costs.
#5: RFPs help to build strong vendor relationships.
Many strong and long-lasting relationships have started with RFPs. The bidding process acts as a vehicle that allows for concise, efficient communication so that rules, schedules and requirements are in place — setting you and your chosen vendor up for success. Plus, the bidding process could introduce you to excellent vendors you were unaware of or wouldn’t have worked with otherwise.
Want to leverage RFPs but in a more efficient, quick manner? We recently announced our flagship product, Archer, which is an intuitive web-based platform providing RFI and RFP management. If you’re interested in trying it out to run your next RFP, we’re offering a 3-month free trial — see what it’s like to speed through the process using customizable templates. Call (+1) 210-816-4043 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.