Does your upcoming RFP process have you nervous or wondering what to expect? Perhaps this is your first Request for Proposal experience, or you know, from past experiences it can be better? From our experience working with clients, we have developed a list of practical tips and tricks that we have seen help companies go through this process successfully.
Here are a few things to consider as you prepare:
- Who do you include in your search for a new agency? It’s helpful to ask colleagues and others in similar businesses who they are using and would recommend.
- Consider sending out a Request for Information (RFI) first. Let’s look at RFP’s like a ‘first date’ and RFI’s establish a relationship and take the ‘blind’ out of the first date. The RFI will narrow the number of RFP participants by pre-determining if there is a match. This is considerate to potential partners and time effective for you and your team.
- Who are the stakeholders in this project? Find one key stakeholder to take ownership of the process and a small team for them to interview and help define project requirements and boundaries.
- What are the time, budget and technical constraints to your project? What is firm and what is negotiable? Transparent communication of this information to potential partners will result in useful and realistic RFP responses.
- Well defined scope and requirements leads to well defined answers. The bottom line is that RFP’s take time and work. If your project is large, breaking it down into phases is a great way to ensure project deadlines and budgets are met. Doing the work on the front end gives your respondents the information they need to answer thoroughly and saves heartache later.
- Consider hiring a partner to help define requirements. If #5 gives you heartburn, a partner can help. This process is often called ‘discovery’ and can save a lot of time. Economies of scale come into play here, as consultancies do this often and are experts in this process.
- Similar to your wedding vs. your marriage, the RFP is the first step in a long relationship. Requesting finalists travel to your company for an onsite meeting is reasonable and understandable. Be sure to reserve at least 4 hours, possibly more, for the meeting and communicate specific goals you want to reach in the meeting.
- Evaluate technical skills in your meetings, but also take a look at chemistry with your potential partner. How do you think you’ll work together every day? Do you like them?
- It’s best to pick a partner based on overall feel and a team approach. Basing a decision on one person is risky, as people move around throughout their career.
- If possible, keep the decision within your department so you can ensure a decision based on chemistry, rather than price alone.
Great relationships can result from RFP’s done properly. If you have questions about the process, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to help. Curious about working with XCentium? Check out what it means to be a Sitecore Platinum Partner, as well as key offerings XCentium can bring to your project.