In the past, Requests for Proposals (RFPs) were usually reserved for large government projects. These days though, even a small online business can utilize RFPs for their business. The trick is in making sure you reach the right kind of contractor.
In this article, we’ll be discussing what makes an effective RFP. While we may focus on marketing projects, you’ll find that the following elements can be a fit for other projects as well.
But just so we’re on the same track, let’s breakdown how this whole thing works. An RFP, or a Request for Proposal, is like a public announcement. A company that broadcasts an RFP lets people know the kind of project they want to see fulfilled.
Contractors looking for new deals will see this request. Each prospective bidder will then submit a proposal detailing what their team can do for you.
A benefit in this whole process is that you, as a business, can ensure the best quality for your money. That’s because you get a chance to see what the bidders’ plans are and how much they’ll be asking for it.
Sounds simple enough, right? It should be straightforward, but only if done right. So, we’re here to help you with that RFP. The following elements should be considered priorities when filing that request for a proposal.
10 Elements to Include in a Marketing RFP
1. An accurate description of your company
This is arguably the “base” on which the project is built. It’s important to give bidders a clear picture of the who and what of your company. A clear understanding of your team’s history and vision will count a lot in the long run.
Chemistry in the workplace is a key aspect of a successful venture. Seeing how proposal automation has become such a common tool, you’ll want to be very clear about this.
Lock this in by making sure people know what to expect from working with you and your team.
2. Clearly defined goals
Your business’ RFP should be able to clearly explain the goal of the project. It wouldn’t do if you and the contractor miscommunicate on this matter as an inconsistent approach will negatively affect the project.
Ensure a good understanding of what the company wants to see happen with this project. Don’t just provide conceptual information, make sure that practical and reasonable expectations are clearly defined.
3. A clear picture of who the audience is
The target audience is the whole reason you’re in this business. Without them, you have no way of developing marketing techniques. That’s because the target audience defines the direction in which your company will be going.
This has to be understood by any potential bidders as well. Help them help you by giving them an early look into the niche your business is going for.
4. A clear picture of the challenges you’re facing
Be it time, experience, or manpower; you’re bound to have a reason for outsourcing the project. State this reason in your RFP. In this way, any potential bidders will understand what’s stopping your team from doing it yourselves.
Done right, this can help the contractor understand your situation. And from there, they might even be willing to extend the scope of the project including the solutions to your problems in their RFP response. This brings us to our next point as well.
5. Define the boundaries of the project.
Let bidders know what the project is about and the extent of their role and responsibilities. This means telling them exactly what the scope of the project is and up to what point they should be developing.
Don’t be afraid to be as honest as you can with this. The boundaries of the business partnership should be defined as early as now. Imagine paying for something that was only partially fulfilled and did not meet expectations!
6. Examples of past projects that exemplify the project
Sometimes, describing what you want isn’t enough. Go through your archives and look for past projects your business has done with others. You can use these past projects as examples of the kind of partnership you want.
Give instances or even aspects of a past project that accurately describes what you have in mind. This is one way to ensure that the terms of the project are clear.
7. Good examples of your competitors’ projects
Why do these examples interest you? Let the bidders know why and where these examples are relevant to your objectives in the potential partnership. In this way, they can have an actual guideline and model to study for your project.
Additionally, to support your terms, giving the contractor real-world examples of the project you have in mind might help.
8. A clearly defined budget for the project
Don’t be afraid to be very honest about your budget. In fact, this should be the point where you need to be brutally honest. Let bidders know how much you want to spend and the maximum you’re willing to go.
Don’t let pride or some other illogical factor tell you otherwise. There’s nothing wrong with limiting the size of your budget. Just be reasonable and keep your expectations in line with your budget.
9. A proposed, reasonable timeline
Let’s give the potential bidders the benefit of the doubt here. These are professionals doing their job, right? Do your part by giving them your time frame. This will clear up any long-term expectations.
Let them know how much time they’d have to complete the project. This way, they can discuss these terms with you if they find it unreasonable. Alternatively, contractors can also let you know if they can finish the project ahead of time.
10. A deadline for the proposal submissions
You don’t want to keep the RFP open too long. This will only delay you and your team. Additionally, any good bidders out there might decide to back out if you take too long to decide.
State a deadline and stick with it. Contractors understand why you have to do this and will respect that professionalism.
The bottom line here is to be both clear and honest. With any business venture, it helps when everybody involved knows what’s going on. RFPs are, in a way, an invitation to work as a temporary team.
You’ll want to treat these contractors professionally. Play your cards right and you could find that this method of outsourcing is one of the best ways to spend your money.
Ready to file that marketing RFP? Make sure Spiralytics is on your shortlist!