Re-inventing the RFP process

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The Request for Proposal (RFP) process has been used by countless organizations to compare potential vendors/suppliers in a competitive bid situation.

RFPs are often published (or released) to a vendor pool in order to conduct side-by-side, factual comparisons of capabilities and price. 

Many RFPs start with a Request for Information (RFI) to gather background information. This is often the first stage, or a way to shortlist a larger set of vendors to identify a realistic set of proposers. 

Steps of the RFP Process.

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Physical mailing of binders

For years, the RFP (and RFI) process was conducted via physical mail. Questionnaires were often mailed out to potential vendors and the responses were mailed back in a series of binders. We come across many of these processes, still today, that require hard-copy submissions.

Emailing documents

The advent of email helped to move this process to a digital format. With email, questionnaires were emailed to vendors, often using large Excel spreadsheets or Word/PDF files. The issuers of these RFPs/RFIs would release the detailed questions and the format in which they required responses.

 

Posting documents to portals

Web-based portals have advanced the process of sharing information, but this has been confined to complete documents being upload and downloaded. Most all of the work is done off-line, which means teams still have to email documents around internally to be completed. Most of the 'electronic' RFPs are conducted in this manner. To be fair, this is a step forward, but it is a far cry from the technological advancements we enjoy in other parts of the business world. 

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The advancements of the cloud have allowed us to share, in real-time, data...not just documents. This is the real revolution in the RFP process. Now individual data elements can be created and shared in a very controlled manner. 

RFP issuers can create RFPs in a collaborative manner. Vendors can assign out tasks, work in parallel, and submit approved responses with ease. 


RFP365 brings together all of the necessary RFP steps into a cohesive process. 

  1. Issuers gather requirements directly in RFP365, configuring specific questions for which answers are required.
  2. Issuers can configure weighted scoring, by setting point values for sections and individual questions.
  3. The RFP is published, and vendors are engaged directly in the system.
  4. Responding organizations can work together on their responses, assigning tasks out to team members, leveraging past answers to prepare responses quickly.
  5. The completed responses are then submitted electronically and immediately to the issuing organization.
  6. Evaluators can then access the responses, viewing them side-by-side for a fact-based, quantitative analysis.

RFP365 produces graphs and tables to help organizations make (and support) their decisions and/or recommendations to management or clients. 

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A single, web-based platform allows organizations to conduct RFPs and RFIs in a controlled manner quickly. Templates allow for centralized control and access. Issuers can invite contacts directly or publish on their websites. 

Collaborative tools in RFP365 allow responding organizations to respond quickly and accurately. We store past responses, so sales and marketing teams can use the search engine to see how they've reponded to similar questions in the past. 

With responses gathered, evaluation teams can evaluate proposals, make notes, and make recommendations quickly and confidently. 

Facilitating an RFP or RFI through email is a nightmare. But a controlled environment brings all of the elements, data, participants, and messages back and forth, into a single platform. The process is infinitely repeatable, auditable, and transparent. 

We look forward to discussing your needs and process, and helping you configure your RFP process into a state-of-the-art process you need and deserve.

 

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