How to identify the winner before you ever send your B2B marketing RFP
by Randy Mitchell, Creative Director
“RFP stands for really frustrating process.” That’s an opinion voiced by clients and agencies alike, and their vexation is understandable.
The marketing RFP process, particularly the on the B2B side, is an inexact science. It’s a complex, time-consuming, high profile assignment that is initiated out of necessity. In many cases, it’s also an uncertain path with loosely defined parameters.
However, it is critical to get every aspect of the process right, because an ineffective B2B marketing RFP can lead to the wrong marketing agency, wasted time and lost revenue.
Here’s a radical notion: Let’s eliminate the guesswork from your B2B marketing RFP and choose your agency right now. Simply define the profile of your winner before you ever send out your RFP. Then, as the process unfolds, the right choice will emerge.
Admittedly, that thinking sounds far too easy. The RFP process is supposed to be agonizing. But I ask you to consider any other complex choice that your business faces. The best decisions usually start with a carefully considered set of criteria established by the key stakeholders. The same holds true for an effective marketing RFP. The right outcome starts with a smart evaluation list from your team.
A resource for your agency evaluation list
An RFP agency evaluation list should provide a clear set of standards for the candidates to meet, so your selection team can choose based on substance rather than style.
To help you make an effective list, you’ll find a section on the evaluation process in the B2B Marketing RFP Template.
This customizable document is a good place to start your next B2B marketing RFP because it gives you a proven structure to help streamline and optimize the entire process.
Among the agency selection criteria the template considers are:
- Strategic thinking
- Account management
- Creative excellence
- Performance goals
- Industry expertise
- Social media
- Public relations
The important takeaway here is that your list should be developed before the RFP process ever begins. All key stakeholders at your company should work together to develop it. When that occurs, you will know what type of agency partner you want and can narrow down your short list before you even send out the RFP. In addition, the selection criteria list gives you a report card to make the most objective selection after the process is complete.
Wasn’t that refreshing? We just discussed the dreaded marketing RFP and it was relatively painless. And who knows? Maybe now, RFP can stand for “Really Focused Process.”
Don’t forget to download the B2B Marketing RFP Template. You can use it for a new marketing program, agency search, website redesign or any other upcoming B2B RFP you need to develop.