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How to write and manage an RFP for e-mail deployment
If you’ve made the decision to look for an e-mail deployment solution, you need to ensure you get the best deal from the best provider. Regardless of whether you want to license software, use a self-service application service provider (ASP), or select a full-service provider, it is a good idea to use a request for proposal (RFP) process. Using this process you can survey suppliers, solicit competitive bids and evaluate potential vendors in a consistent manner.
Your RFP document should outline specific information about your organization, the services you need, and the specific requirements vendors must meet to win your business. Here are some thoughts on how to prepare.
First, appoint someone who will be responsible for managing the process and consolidating all internal requirements. Many companies hire an outside consultant conversant with e-mail to help them: define requirements; identify potential vendors; assist in the writing of the RFP; manage vendor questions; and follow up with vendors if their answers are inadequate. If you use a consultant, make sure he or she reports directly to your internal manager.
You’ll want to identify between six and 10 potential vendors. Hold preliminary conversations with each vendor to understand what they offer. Have several internal department members participate in capabilities demonstrations. This legwork should provide you with a better view of what is available and help you focus on the technology and feature sets important to your business. This also may rule out vendors whose solutions do not mesh with your needs.
Finally, begin to organize specific requirements. Companies in the early stages of an e-mail program will want to drill down on baseline services such as delivery, bounce management, tracking and reporting, and list management. Marketers who are further along likely will be interested in hosted registration and ongoing personal-profile management pages, triggered messaging, dynamic content and advanced personalization, along with modeling and analytical capabilities.