What is an Email RFP?
An email Request for Proposal (RFP), also known as an email Request for Offer (RFO), invites potential email vendors to submit solutions-based proposals that meet an organisation’s email needs.
An email RFP is typically designed for the email purchaser who is typically committed to buying, but does not want to limit their options to exact specifications because they want to review the ideas submitted by vendors.
Early articulation of your needs
The formality of the process encourages considerable effort into articulating your technical and commercial requirements at the beginning of the project. This typically results in better-fit proposals and a more successful result at the end of the project.
Time and Money
Given the number of internal people and departments involved in an email RFP, the process can sometimes become an expensive black hole of organisational resources. Often, an RFP for your email solution may not have been needed in the first place.
Broader Vendor Participation
While you may have already identified and started conversations with a shortlist of email vendors, the widespread promotion of an email RFP can attract additional vendors who you may not have otherwise discovered. These vendors could bring new and highly valuable solutions to the table.
Slow Decision Making
With multiple internal contacts needing to convene for multiple meetings to read multiple lengthy responses, it is no surprise that email RFPs rarely sail through committee member meetings quickly or adhere to all of the timelines. Be prepared to wait longer than you expect for an outcome.
If you have formulated an email RFP that is enticing to vendors, you should receive proposals that are competitive in price. However, this is not always the case, if vendors factor into their price the time they need to spend on the RFP process.
Lack of Vendor Participation
The level of effort, combined with the complexity, timeline and specificity of an email RFP, can discourage vendor participation. This is especially true if the emphasis in the criteria is more on price than product fit.
Peace of Mind
There is a certain level of comfort, for both purchasers and vendors, in having a clearly defined and accountable process in place, with an estimated timeline to follow. Vendors also appreciate the list of key contacts for questions and concerns.
Innovation May Suffer
While email RFPs usually offer more flexibility than Request for Tenders (RFTs) and Request for Quotations (RFQs), they can still restrict vendor creativity if the best-fit solution is outside the scope of the RFP. This can also occur when the problem, needs and requirements are incorrectly articulated in the RFP.
Interested in learning more?
If your organisation has decided to issue an email RFP, don’t leave your results up to chance.
10 Steps to a Successful Email RFP:
A must-read guide for telcos and service providers issuing an email tender