If you work in the marketing industry then you know just how important good vendor relations are to the success of any project. This means you should put a strong focus on finding good vendors; beginning with a streamlined and efficient RFP (request for proposal) that you can send out to potential candidates.
At this stage, your RFP essentially represents your company to future partners and collaborators. Well-written and thoughtfully planned RFPs yield good proposals. And good proposals result in great working relationships with vendors you can rely on. All things considered, a good RFP will ultimately ensure the positive outcome of your project.
With this in mind, the following key components should be a part of any RFP you send out:
1. Executive Summary
This is one of the most critical components of your RFP. Vendors will often refer to the executive summary to determine if your project interests them and is worth bidding for. Keep it short and succinct. The very reason you’re crafting a summary is so your potential vendors can get a quick idea of your requirements. Be sure to include important milestones and objectives you want to achieve so that there is a clear understanding of what they will be working towards.
2. Company Overview
Do not assume that your potential vendors are already familiar with your brand. No matter how big your company is, or well known, always introduce your business and share pertinent information about your brand. As part of your vendor’s research, it’s likely that they will also refer to other sources of information that will give them additional insight into your business, such as your LinkedIn or Facebook page. Be sure to keep these up to date.
3. Target Audience
Indicate in your RFP who you want to reach. To accurately identify who your intended audience is, think about who you’re speaking to, who you want to engage, and the kind of user experience you want create for them. This will ensure that your vendors are able to deliver quality bids that are relevant and therefore, more engaging to your target audience.
What goals or metrics do you want to achieve? How do you intend to determine whether or not these goals are met? How will you evaluate the success of your project?
Do you want to create a website for your client that prioritizes interactivity? Do you want to produce marketing materials within a very specific period of time? Discuss your objectives internally and communicate this clearly in your RFP.
Your objectives will determine the kind of solutions that your vendors will provide. This is critical information for your vendors as it will help them prepare a better, more relevant bid.
Like any business, a big part of the success of any project comes down to budget. In fact, marketing budgets represent 11.4% of a company’s overall spend.
Budgets, however, should always be considered in the context of quality. While you will always want to get the best value for the lowest possible price, try not to compromise quality just so you can get the cheapest bid. Keep this in mind when you indicate your budget. Be realistic about what your budget can achieve and find a balance between quality and cost-efficiency.
6. Requests for Additional Information
Are there any other details that you want your vendors to provide? Should they include organizational charts? Do you want a list of previous industry experience? Think about the information you need from your vendors so you get a better picture of what they can do for you. Make sure, however, that you keep your requests simple. Asking for something complicated might just turn potential bidders off.
7. Selection Criteria
Finally, be sure to clearly indicate how you will be choosing your vendors. Apart from specific criteria, it might help if you assign a point-value or percentage for each to help vendors identify the top priority elements. For example, you may have multiple criteria for evaluation but if price and speed are priorities, show that it carries more weight by assigning more points to it.
Ensuring these key components are included in your RFP as you search for vendors for your next marketing project means you’re increasing your chances of engaging them and building good relationships with them. Remember, the better written your proposal, the better response you’ll likely get.