5 RFP Best Practices for RFP (Request for Proposal) Templates
“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” - Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
By developing internal templates for procurement projects, your company can plan ahead and fast-track the time-consuming process of collecting data to ultimately focus on the necessary content and project review.
At RFP365, we have the privilege of working with a significant number of RFP issuers - and together we've repeatedly seen value in following these best practices across RFP templates:
- Include a project overview
- Ask questions you can measure
- Share your procurement process
- Clearly articulate your terms
- Ask what you need to know before you begin to onboard
Include a project overview
Include an overview that paints a clear picture of the history of your company and your needs. Tell vendors as much as you can about your current process. If your office is decentralized and half the team works in another timezone or a new solution needs to be in place by year-end - it’s helpful for vendors to understand your perspective and desired outcome(s).
Use this section to demonstrate why your company needs the solution at hand and to clearly articulate why you are seeking product(s) and/or service(s).
Ask questions you can measure
Ask questions that are measurable so you can leverage auto-scoring. Open-ended questions complicate the review process. Think multiple choice questions rather than essay questions to enable you and your stakeholders to more easily compare vendor responses and confirm critical decision points.
Work with your stakeholders to determine your key criteria and define the highest priorities. Share these insights with invited vendors. This essential information will define your rubric for weighted scoring.
RFP solutions with default scoring can significantly speed up evaluations and enables time saving automation of tabulating scores, especially if your RFP includes dozens of detailed questions.
Share your procurement process
When possible, include all your questions in the first iteration. If this isn’t a viable option, let vendors know what they can expect through the process. For example, if there will be a second round of questions or if they’ll soon be asked to fill out a security questionnaire, give them a heads up in your initial RFP.
Additionally, let them know if you’ll be requesting online and/or onsite meetings following your initial reviews - and if so, provide an outline of your expectations early on to ensure the vendor can meet your needs.
Clearly articulate your terms
Include examples of your contract and/or security questionnaire in the RFP, so you can ask the vendor to identify any deal breakers early in the process.
If they’re not able to comply with a key requirement like ensuring all servers are located on Canadian soil or your request to have Spanish speakers to train your team, it’s best to understand this limitation early in the process.
Ask what you need to know before you begin to onboard
Ask what resources will be required to ensure a successfully implemented project, along with a list of anticipated key milestones and dates. You’ll want to know how much time your team will need to dedicate to this project and who will need to be a stakeholder.
For example, if you and your team will need to dedicate 100 hours of development work to ensure a smooth implementation, you and your team will benefit from knowing this in advance.
Streamlining the process
At RFP365, we help you create templates so you can easily reuse questions. We allow you to:
- Search your custom library to help you find and reuse similar questions
- Segment and tag your questions or templates by industry, project, location, etc.
- Work with your team in one version of the RFP to ensure transparency throughout the process
Using templates, there’s absolutely no need to reinvent the wheel with each RFP - so you and your team can proactively focus on what really matters… your core business.
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