Why RFPs Can Be a “Routinely Flawed Process”

Why RFPs Can Be a “Routinely Flawed Process” Main Photo

31 Oct 2022

News, Website Development, Marketing

Your EDO needs a fresh online presence. You chose a creative agency. You send out an RFP. On the surface, this makes sense. If you want competitive bids, you need to solicit them. However, there are easier ways to get more information and better results. 

8 Reasons RFPs (Requests for Proposals) Can Be a “Routinely Flawed Process”

#1 RFPs Tend to Be Boilerplate

If your economic development organization is like most, everyone on your team is busy and has to wear many hats. You may be inclined to use an RFP template because you don’t have time to reinvent the wheel. However, that approach can lead to problems down the road. Templates don’t address specific needs with precision. Even if you customize a template or work from scratch, you’re still bound to be doing a certain amount of guesswork and making presumptions to define your needs and project scope in an RFP format.

#2 RFPs Encourage Arbitrary Pricing

If seasoned creatives are required to plug numbers into a template, they can do it, but they’ll always be able to give you a far more accurate price after a productive dialogue.

#3 RFPs are Cold, Rigid, and Impersonal

RFPs don’t allow you to engage with prospective agencies on a level that helps you determine whether or not they have solid leadership, good communication skills, and enough collaborative chemistry to be a great long-term match.

#4 RFPs Draw a Box and Compel Agencies to Respond by Thinking Inside It

If you want the best performance from a creative team, you have to provide latitude for “outside the box” thinking.

#5 RFPs Ask for Highly-Detailed Answers, Which Creatives Rightfully View as Free Consulting

Many busy, high-caliber firms in demand tend to shy away from this kind of request by declining to respond. That leaves a disproportionate number of second and third-tier firms in the running.

#6 RFPs Ask for Information That’s Either Already Available on the Agency’s Website Or Isn’t Relevant to the Project

Team bios, client lists, and recent awards can tell you about a creative agency’s profile and past, but they won’t give you a clue about that agency’s vision for your project.

#7 RFPs Cast Too Broad of a Net

Often, firms without enough specific expertise throw their hat into the ring. Unqualified firms often submit proposals with prices that are unrealistically low because they don’t have enough industry expertise to understand the true scope of the project. That disconnect is likely to lead to trouble as the project progresses.

#8 RFPs are Inefficient

Vetting an excessive number of proposals will cost your EDO an undue amount of time and tie up undue resources. That vetting process also leaves you with a certain amount of confusion — particularly if you also want pitches and on-site meetings. Today, business moves faster than ever, while the RFP process is slow and antiquated. Going this route can delay progress for months while prolonging, if not compounding, the very problems your EDO has an urgent need to solve.

Just Reach Out

In short, RFPs can be a routinely flawed process because they require too much investment for too little return for everyone involved.

Before you invest time and resources in creating an RFP, why not set up some initial Zoom conversations with prospective firms? While you’re at it, contact Golden Shovel Agency and schedule a free consultation. We’ve been creating and maintaining award-winning Economic Development websites for years.