To build a successful client-agency partnership, both parties have to be intentional about goals and expectations. The earlier these are identified and agreed upon, the better, which is why agency RFPs are vital to any strong agency relationship and marketing communications program.
Out of all the RFPs we’ve reviewed as an agency, the best ones are direct and transparent about where the company is and what they want to accomplish. The RFP sets the tone for the rest of the relationship. If you keep it thoughtful and honest, you should be able to envision what working with your agency of choice looks like and determine if they’re the right fit.
Here are a few tips we’ve compiled over nearly two decades of reviewing RFPs that will improve your vetting process and lead to a stronger agency partnership in the long run.
Resist using “find and replace”
While it may seem the most expeditious route to update an existing RFP, you risk giving agencies an inaccurate picture of your needs and expectations. To receive the most tailored, fitting proposals, customize your RFP to explain where you are and what you need now.
Overshare, overshare, overshare
The RFP process is a preview of a potential partnership. Ensure agencies have all the resources available to deliver an informed plan that aligns with your vision and goals. Before sending the RFP, ensure all candidates receive and sign NDAs.
Get as specific as possible
The clearer you outline your expectations and needs, the better positioned an agency will be to meet or exceed them. But an RFP doesn’t need to be novel to be effective. The goal is to be detailed enough so agencies can decide if they’d be a good fit but concise enough to digest. Aim for between two and three pages.
We know there’s a lot to think about. Use our template above to help guide you in your next RFP process so that you can be confident in your agency selection.