28 Jun

Tips for RFP Success

How to Turn an RFP (Rather Frightening Prospect) into an RFP (Really Functional Process)

Anyone who is reading this blog and knows me, likely knows that I am pretty Type A. Most definitely a creature of habit, I not only crave but THRIVE on routine. I am a planner who tends be well-organized, and I really, really don’t like leaving things to the 11th hour (which is NOT the witching hour, but can feel like it at times). If I can get it done well-ahead of time, I will.

Given this, a while back, I wrote a blog touting the myriad of benefits that accompany strong action plans—especially when it comes to keeping everyone on task and on budget. As my personality traits are no secret to my awesome boss, she recently tapped me to help organize and complete Request for Proposals (RFPs) for three very different potential clients.

RFPs offer great opportunities for both agencies and clients — from launching a new campaign to introducing a new product to establishing long-term, ongoing relationships in some cases. However, RFPs can also be complex and lengthy both to write and to respond to, and usually with relatively short time frames, hence the need for a well-organized approach to responding to one.

Now, while our Cincinnati-based marketing and communications agency isn’t new RFPs, I hadn’t worked on any in a little while, so I definitely learned some new things having recently worked on three back-to-back:

  • First and foremost, create an action plan (see above). Do Not Pass Go until you have a tidy, yet organized and comprehensive document populated with EACH and EVERY requirement, deadline, person responsible and status in one place.
  • Next up? Get everyone working on the RFP together (in-person, sit down meetings are preferable) to talk through the RFP itself, action plan, process and next steps.  Then, assign responsibilities and project manage the heck of the process until it is complete and out the door.
  • Make it meaningful. When responding, there are usually opportunities to not only demonstrate your experience but also talk about WHY you should be considered from an interest standpoint.

Anyone else out there have any good ideas to share when it comes to completing RFPs? We’d love to hear them!