How Does the RFP Process Work?
Organizations usually follow slight variations of these steps:
1. Set Your Criteria
Set the scoring criteria you will use to select a vendor. Decide what matters most: is it a vendor’s cost estimate, skill set, or references and reviews? Doing this before publicly releasing your RFP helps you solicit focused proposals and reduces the number of poorly matched proposals you need to consider. It’ll also be easier to rank each vendor according to preference.
2. Create the RFP
A well-crafted RFP is essential because it’s a reflection of your organization’s focus, background, and experience. Start by identifying the needs for the project, and include the requirements, scope, and deadline. Make sure the document is comprehensive enough by including a list of questions potential bidders could ask.
Working with stakeholders can help you write better RFPs. Involve them in the process by discussing possible challenges and ideal outcomes to avoid delays.
3. Edit Your RFP
Most importantly, take the time to polish your proposal. Some vendors may fail to respond to your project if the details are unclear. Help providers understand your proposal better by running it through editing software. If you’re struggling to polish your document, editing software can help you save time and improve your writing.
If you’re a vendor, editing is even more important. Be sure to revise, edit, and proofread your response. The winning bidders usually submit the best price—and the best, most polished document.
What Should You Include in an RFP?
An RFP will look different depending on the needs and goals of a project. But it will usually include this info:
- The history of the organization
- A detailed description of the project, including its purpose and your desired results
- Specific requirements about preferred materials, tools, systems, and/or products
- The budget
- The project deadline, along with clearly defined milestones and dates
- Questions you would like the respondents to answer or details you would like them to provide
- The submission deadline, contact information, and guidelines to submit proposals
If you’re new to writing an RFP, you can consult helpful resources online. For instance, “Non-profit Guides” gives examples of both private and public RFPs and proposals.
What Happens When You Finish Writing Your RFP?
After finalizing your RFP, you can:
- Share the document. Give vendors enough time to find and respond to your RFP by sharing it with them online via trade news outlets or in field-specific settings.
- Negotiate with your chosen vendor. Once you award the project to a vendor, review each line item’s cost and negotiate further to lower the bid.
Create Brief Yet Substantial Proposals
The RFP process can feel complicated and time-consuming. But if you specify your needs in the RFP, it’ll be much easier to find the best vendor for your project.
Let WordRake help you make writing your RFPs crisp and concise. You’ll receive instant feedback and produce shorter, more readable documents that get better responses. Get started with your 7-day FREE trial here.
About the Author
Caroline Engle is WordRake’s Marketing Communications Specialist. She convinced WordRake to hire her as an intern after placing in editing competitions and writing a novel in a month. When she isn’t editing or writing copy, coordinating conference logistics, or helping improve WordRake’s functionality, she’s reading, going on ten-mile walks, or looking up flight prices. Connect with her on LinkedIn here.