The Best RFP Responses Start with a Good Outline 

by | June 29, 2023

An RFP (Request for Proposal) gives your company the chance to find the very best vendor/provider for your project by clearly outlining the requirements and expectations for the project. Before diving into writing your RFP, it’s essential to first outline your document.  

An outline will help ensure you’re covering everything you need to include and will make the RFP writing easier — giving you an easy-to-follow structure that will keep you on target and much more efficient. And the better your writing, the better your chances will be of soliciting the best RFP responses.  

How do you outline RFP requirements?  

Whether you’re putting together an RFP for a new  CCaaS provider or an SD-WAN services manager, every RFP must provide a clear overview of the project to attract the best RFP responses. While every RFP will vary to suit the specifics of the project at hand, there are seven key elements that form the basis of an RFP outline including: 

  1. Organizational Overview and Background  
  1. Project Goals  
  1. Scope of Services  
  1. Project Requirements  
  1. Proposal Format and Contact Information  
  1. Proposal Delivery Instructions  
  1. Evaluation Criteria and Timeline  

Element 1: Organizational overview & background

To fully understand your goals, providers must learn about your organization and project. This section should give a brief description of your corporate mission and vision and what led you to create the project.

Element 2: Project goals

Here is where you identify the specific goals of your project. Not only will this help providers understand how this project fits into your broader organizational goals, it will also help them determine whether they are suited for bidding on your project.

Element 3: Scope of services

Does a provider have the capacity and experience to fully deliver? Scope of services will identify the full services that you expect from them. From there, providers can decide if they have the qualifications and people-power to execute your project, if they should explore partnership options, or if they should pass on bidding altogether.

Element 4: Project requirements

The project requirements section gives your potential providers administrative requirements related to your project including your timeline, budget, and expectations.

Element 5: Proposal format & contact information

You’ll want to establish a specific format that you want your RFP submissions to follow. This will make it much easier when it comes time to evaluate and compare submissions and will also make it easier for providers to provide you with the content you want. Your proposal format should include maximum page count, font size, and RFP content elements (such as team roles, proposed schedule, and responses to each of your project requirements to name a few). You will also need to provide a specific contact person on your RFP team that providers can submit questions to during the RFP proposal process.

Element 6: Proposal delivery instructions

Next, you’ll want to provide details on where providers should deliver their submissions, how they should submit (in person, by mail, email), and how many copies are required.

Element 7: Evaluation criteria and timeline

Lastly, communicate a clear process of how their submissions will be evaluated and when. How will you effectively compare all of your options? It is a full-time job and fortunately, this is what the technology experts at UPSTACK do day in and day out. They have the market intelligence and experience to help you quickly narrow the field to the best fit for your business. They can guide you toward the highest-performing and most reliable options.

For you to increase your odds of success with the RFP process, turn to an expert, vendor-neutral advisory partner like UPSTACK. We can help you make better-informed business decisions that can bring the most value. Read more about partnering with UPSTACK to create better outcomes at upstack.com/why-upstack