Requests for proposals, or RFPs, are a B2B business fact of life, especially in an age of procurement-department expansion, tight budgets, and fierce competition for B2B service contracts.

Though some people may feel the urge to run for the hills when a new RFP hits their inbox, I've come to appreciate the value of the RFP process—both the issuing of RFPs and responding to them—because RFPs have been a huge part of my livelihood for the past 15 years at my company.

The RFP process is necessary for finding suppliers that will best serve your business goals. Going through that process can be tedious, but it helps ensure both identification of vendors that will give you the best value for their service and fair selection.

Some RFPs might be 50-00 questions. "Who has the time to write 100 questions?" you might ask. "And who has time to answer them?" Those who understand the profit of their company is on the line, that's who.

Painful as the process may seem sometimes, the reality is that RFPs aim to help both parties have a successful business partnership.

Here are some best-practices to ensure your company gets the most out of the RFP process.

How to Write an RFP

It's just as important for the issuer to spend time writing an RFP as it is for the vendor to spend time on the response. Whether you're a Fortune 500 company or a local business, real dollars are on the line. Hiring the wrong vendor can cost valuable customers. Hiring the right vendor can make your profits soar.

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image of Richard Simms

Richard Simms is development manager at DialAmerica, a privately owned domestic call center company.

LinkedIn: Rich Simms