If you are going to invest in data-driven marketing technology, it’s very likely you’ll need to request a proposal from a solution provider at some point in the process. Here’s a checklist of things to think about and include in the RFP. It’s not exhaustive, a large implementation will in fact include much more, but it will give you some idea of the information you need to include and consider.
- Get a non-disclosure agreement signed (NDA).
- Explain what your business does as well as what you want the software to do. Include descriptions of whether you sell to other businesses or to consumers.
- Explain your objectives i.e. what does the organisation want to get out of buying the software.
- Timelines for the solution provider selection and software implementation.
- Expectation that face-to-face meetings will be held and the specifics of what you want to get out of them. Chemistry matters.
- Requirements – top line or full – the more you understand these, the better the RFP process will run, even in small businesses.
- Your resources and what you want the solution provider to supply (business analysts, project managers?)
- Responsibilities at your end – who is running the project, who signs the bill!
- Scale of your marketing operation (users, data sources and volumes).
- Channels you’ll use (email, direct mail, advertising) and volume of campaigns you’ll send.
- Whether you want the software only or services too, including support and training.
- IT restrictions and requirements (such as hosted v installed, up-front purchase v recurring license)
You’ll find some solution providers don’t want to follow a process like this, because they don’t want to participate in competitive pitches. When shortlisting the providers you’d like to involve, ask them if they want to pitch and it’ll save you time in the end.