PostedOn: 2018-06-09 11:54:30

After companies decide to look for a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution, many take the route of craft a Request for Proposal (RFP). This is a essay that a company sends to potential vendors to get more details on their product, how it fits their needs, and what costs are. It is a simple way to get comparable answers from many vendors so you can judge them based on the same criteria. It can take some time to finalize this document, but it saves more time because you do not have to see hour-long demos or have discussions with each vendor. You can weed it down to the select few based on their responses to your RFP. Here are five tips for crafting the best RFP.

1.    Give a detailed background on your company

Share what trade you are in, how many users you are looking for, how many locations you have, company size and revenue, and what you do in particular. Be as specific as you can so the vendors can assess how good of a fit their system may be for your needs. You may find some CRM vendors tell you they are not a fit right off the bat, saving you time.

2.    Establish a timeline for the entire process

In this section, clearly say how long you want to spend on this evaluation. Step one would be the final date to have RFPs sent in by. If any vendor is incapable to meet this timeline, usually one to two weeks is plenty, I would instantly remove them from consideration. Next up would be a date when you would like to start seeing demos. The final two should be when you would like to make your decision by and then begin implementation.

3.    Set and stick to a budget

This is the second area where a vendor may decide to eliminate themselves. Set a max account that is agreed upon internally. Make no exceptions to this and make it clear in the RFP. Companies should not have an issue sharing their pricing, as numerous have it on their websites already. Getting them in an RFP won’t hurt as it gives you a central point of reference.

4.    List key criteria used for making final decision

This should be the most detailed section, although it is best to keep it concise. chat with everyone that would be using the CRM system, from management to power users. Get their insights on what the needs and wants are for all aspects: sales, marketing, and customer service.

It is important to focus first on the needs. The wants should be secondary, although they will be important as well since most CRM systems accommodate the same basic needs. The key here is to really focus on the meat, not the bells and whistles, of the systems.

5.    Ask for similar customers success stories

This is where the details in tip one come into play. Based on the company in rank and needs previously shared, the CRM vendor should have a comparable buyer that they can use to divide how their CRM can be configured and completed to fit a parallel company. You should not require specific references yet, as it would be better to wait until you limit the list down to a select few.