RFP PDQ!

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7 Comments

  1. Jim Bianchi Reply

    Very rarely do we respond to RFPs, as we often see them being thinly veiled attempts for a purchasing department to “check the boxes” for other quotes or to gain pricing leverage on an incumbent agency that the client has no intention of leaving.

    If you are a client and issue an RFP, many agencies will not take you seriously unless: 1) you provide an estimated budget for the program; 2) you are willing to let the participating agencies know what other agencies have been invited to propose; 3) you are excluding the incumbent/previous agency from bidding. Another warning sign: when the corporate purchasing department is running the RFP process, rather than just participating.

  2. David Landis Reply

    Brianne, good thoughts. My biggest complaint about RFPs? They leave out the most important information: the budget! Clients are doing both themselves and agencies a disservice without identifying budget. Why? Many agency folks who aren’t appropriate will respond to the RFP and later decide they can’t do it for the budget and clients will have to sift through unnecessary information. Note to clients: you’re not going to get a better “deal” by not articulating a budget from the very beginning. Get that budget approval first before you go through the arduous task of looking for the right agency. Cheers, David

  3. Ashley Boarman Reply

    Brianne,
    This sounds like a “fun” process. Ha! Curious, is there a secret sauce for finding RFP opportunities in the first place?
    ~Ashley

  4. Sean Dowdall Reply

    Brianne,
    As you know, I love to play with acronyms:

    Really fun/fabulous/fantastic proposal!
    Ripe for picking (us)!
    Ready for party – after we win.

    Sean

  5. Gregory Bortkiewicz Reply

    Sounds like it can be a frustrating process – making it all the more sweeter when you win the new business!

  6. Gus Nodal Reply

    Glad we have such a smart pro at LCI tackling these RFPs!

  7. Ken Jacobs Reply

    I would start with #5! The win rate for RFPs is actually quite low. Remember, many groups send out RFPs because they have to by law/regulation, even though they’re quite satisfied with their current PR/Comm representation.

    I would only pursue RFPs for DREAM accounts that you’re dying to bring in and work on.

    In the meantime, I’d write a strategic, active Business Development Plan, where you identify and pursue the clients you actually want, who’ll help you achieve your agency vision, who’ll pay you so you can make a fair profit, and who’ll need you more in two years than they do now.

    Other things to consider in creating a plan are 1)Which are the industry categories in which we have real expertise (because clients don’t hire you because you do everything: They hire you because they believe you’re experts in your field, and know more than they do!) and 2) What are the services/practice areas that we really do better than other agencies? (And we have the case studies and delighted clients to back up that claim)

    I’ve done a few blog posts in this regard, but would only share them here with your permission.