Drafting a request for proposal () is something that’s a part of every enterprise purchasing process. However, an is not just about receiving competitive bids from vendors. It’s a document that ensures that a purchase will meet specifications and objectives.
The RFP document itself will contain elements that are both generic and specific to your organization and/or purchase. Replicating the process for creating solid RFP documents is something that a number of companies do regularly. There’s no magic formula, just a few essential components like a clear vision that outlines the expectations, the right team of people who will be using and maintaining what you are buying and the right tools like PDF software to help put everything together.
Put together a team of stakeholders
One of the biggest mistakes companies make when it comes to enterprise level purchases is failing to include the right people in the decision making process. The people using whatever it is that’s purchased should have a say in the specifications, the objectives, the testing and the final decision.
All too often it’s easy to hand this over to the purchasing department or include the IT department if technology is the focus of the RFP, while then cutting everyone else out of the process. Instead, make sure everyone who should be involved is involved. Technologies such as —and collaboration suites make it easy for members from teams across the organization to work together. The tools are there, just take the time to implement and use them. Business—like
Decide what the winning proposal will look like
The most critical component in creating an RFP is having an idea what the ideal bid looks like. This is important to have in mind from the beginning because as the proposals start to roll in they’ll all focus on the vendor’s individual strengths. Some will highlight low costs; others might bring a strong feature set to the foreground; and others might rely on their history and reputation. Your team should then decide which elements are the most important and create a mock up of what the ideal winning proposal should resemble.
The right tools
The last essential component to have in place is the right tool for the job. PDF software such as Foxit PhantomPDF makes a perfect choice when authoring an RFP because they not only let you and your team create and edit the RFP document, but they also allow you to:
- Customize pages by inserting backgrounds, headers and footers
- Insert watermarks
- Arrange and organize the files
- Tag documents
- Collaborate on the document
While a word processor may allow some of this as well, using PDF software to create your RFP also gives you the option to secure the document so that unauthorized individuals make no changes to it when it’s in final form. Using PDF software also gives you the ability to allow potential vendors and management within your company to digitally sign off on them.
With the essential components in place, writing an RFP becomes much easier. It might not make it a cakewalk to decide between vendor A and vendor B, but it will certainly enable the right people to spend their time more wisely making this all-important decision.