You have a high-priority, highly-visible need to fill. You know you need to issue a Request For Information (RFI) or a Request For Proposal (RFP), but you’re not sure where to begin.
At RFP365, we have the benefit of working with RFP issuers and respondents every day. While there isn’t a magic bullet for solving your needs, there are a few best practices and pro tips to consider:
1. Define your internal review process for determining your initial RFP questions, how responses will be reviewed and how they will be scored. Thoughtfully think about how and when you will communicate with vendors.
PRO TIP from ihouse:
"We chose RFP365 because it was the only platform that benefited everyone involved in the process: consultants, clients, and vendors. What’s been most helpful about using RFP365 is the automated scoring. Before, when using an Excel template, we would have to go through each category to ensure there were no errors from all the copy and pasting; the Excel formulas would often break in the process, it took a lot of time to reconcile. RFP365 is much faster."
HR Technology Consulting Practice Leader
2. Invite as many vendors to respond as you have the capacity to review. Some vendors may not respond, others may submit responses that miss the mark completely, but more than likely - you’ll find a vendor you didn’t see coming, who will capture your interest.
PRO TIP from NFP:
"We have all our core vendors fill out a general RFP/RFI in advance of our projects and store their information in RFP365. Then we send out a few targeted questions that are specific to that group. It makes it much easier for them to respond, and it makes scoring much simpler for us. Now we can categorize, search, and profile providers. We're shortlisting faster."
SVP, HR Technologies and Benefits Administration
3. If time allows, send an initial RFI to narrow down your field of responders. An effective RFI will ask a short list of open-ended, high-level questions that give you a broad understanding of your vendors and help craft a targeted RFP.
PRO TIP from RFP365:
“An RFI is especially helpful if you're new to your space. Your bidders' responses will not only demonstrate their expertise, but also inform and educate you (with very little time invested by both parties). Their answers can also help you nail down more concrete questions for the the eventual RFP.”
Overall, you’ll also want to be precise and thoughtful about the questions you ask in an RFI and/or an RFP to ensure you meet your needs.
How to Write an RFP [Infographic]
How to Turn Your 600-Question RFP Into a 6-Question RFP
RFPs aren't going anywhere; but the good news is, they can be much easier.