How do I write a website RFP

It is well known that apples cannot be compared very well with pears. However, this can quickly become a challenge for companies when there are offers from several providers. A RFP (Request for Proposal) can make the selection process easier and help you with the Decision on a suitable supplier support. We'll explain how to do this in this article.

What is a RFP?

A RFP (Request for Proposal) is an invitation to submit an offer. In addition to the general task, this tender also includes specifications of the required scope of services. In this context, interested providers are asked to propose holistic solutions that can then be compared.

Which supplier is the best? The tender as a decision-making aid

From the planned outsourcing of certain business areas to the necessary purchase of external products or services to legal procurement guidelines - there are many reasons why a comparison of offers in companies can be considered.

The goal, however, is always the same regardless of the initial situation: the optimal partner with the best value for money for the task to be found.

The basis for this is often the tendering process, during which the client requests certain documents from potential contractors.

The various documents in the tendering process

Different variants are available here, which can usually build on one another:

Service request or Request for Information (RFI)

A tender is often started with a flat rate service request (RFI). General information about possible suppliers and their basic scope of services as well as list prices are obtained as a guide. On the basis of this information, an initial pre-selection of companies that are actually suitable for the task can be made.

Price inquiry or Request for Quotation (RFQ)

In the next phase, a Price request (RFQ) be asked.

For this purpose, the necessary requirements are listed in detail and returned by the provider with a comprehensive description of the services including the most exact, but non-binding price information.

Request for proposal (RFP)

The last step - and thus the tender in the true sense of the word - is the RFP. This is a binding offer, the acceptance of which leads to the conclusion of a contract within a certain period of time.

It contains a detailed description of services - often also called the specification sheet - as well as specific information on other important contractual agreements. We now want to take a closer look at what these are.

The essential components of an RFP

Albeit the exact one Structure of an RFP document Of course, it always depends on the respective company, the specific task and the required information, a basic structure with the following components is recommended:

  • introductory Summary of the project

  • short Company presentation including essentials Background information (e.g. business activity, target markets, etc.)

  • Definition of aims

  • exact description of Project scope and details

  • Schedule and important Milestones in the course of the project

  • possible Risks and stumbling blocks

  • Budget constraints and / or restrictions

  • specific conditions to the partners

  • optional points such as evaluation criteria, confidentiality statements, legal or commercial requirements, etc.

An RFP ensures clarity on both sides

Such a professionally prepared one RFP means advantages for everyone involved:

In this way, the provider not only gets a first impression of the client, but above all a very precise idea of what he is looking for, needs and expects in the context of the project. This initially helps in deciding whether a supplement would be worthwhile at all - and (if this is the case) also in dealing with the best possible offer to advertise the job.

At the same time, the company issuing the tender can accept the submitted offers compare with each other according to defined criteria. This not only provides quick and objective knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of providers, but also underlines the seriousness towards potential business partners.

In addition, it can also be seen relatively quickly which suppliers have really seriously and thoroughly dealt with the task - Without any time-consuming exploratory discussions with each individual provider.

After all, an RFP is usually accompanied by a wide range of strategic considerations by the provider in addition to a comprehensive description of services including detailed pricing. And these can be the famous tip of the balance for your success, especially in innovative projects.

Be careful with dynamic projects

The only downer: RFPs are usually mainly processed via a cloud - i.e. without direct exchange between the possible project participants.

Should the framework conditions for a project change at short notice, which is more often the case with today's increasing complexity and dynamism, the necessary agility and flexibility can fall by the wayside through a relatively rigid approach.

It is all the more important to deal intensively with the project and its requirements in advance, before you deal with the actual implementation of your tender documents.

Wide range of software for managing and creating RFPs

The actual creation of the RFP is then no longer that complicated. Numerous software providers have a wide variety of themTools for each business, with which you can create your tenders and manage the associated offers. Also free and adaptable RFP templatessuch as those from HubSpot can be a helpful alternative.

Both the client and the provider can benefit from a professional Basic concept for submitting offers benefit. The following applies: The more precisely and intensively you devote yourself to your RFP, the more likely you will find the partner who actually best suits you and your project.

It should be noted, however, that all essential aspects that are decisive for a successful project must be taken into account. Then the creation of your RFP will certainly lead to the desired result.

Cover picture: Kritchanut / Getty Images

Originally published October 12, 2020, updated October 12, 2020

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