The Death of the Website RFP

by Jay Joyce - Feb 08, 2018

Do you send a reverend or an attorney a RFP when you need their services? How about a doctor...do you submit a RFP to several doctors then wait for the cheapest one to respond? Of course not. Selection of a professional services provider needs special and custom attention to the details at hand. Just as custom as your online business process is, you want to build a relationship with a web development partner that is everything but "generic."

"The website RFP is probably the most antiquated method to finding a professional web development company," says Jay Joyce, president of The Idea People. "Most of the RFPs we receive are copied and pasted from a Google search into a blank document with a logo. This is the very reason why we do not respond to them as a company."

R.I.P., RFP

So why do companies turn to a Google search to build their RFP for the most important marketing and business asset - their website? "We believe that people are doing so much by themselves today and have no direct help or team collaboration," said Joyce. "Then here comes the C-suite demanding them to find a website company to redesign the website. So, really, where do they turn if they don't have existing relationships?"

Website RFPs Go Against the Very Expertise You're Looking For!

The RFP puts your search for the ideal web company into a black and white box with an enormous list of bullet point requirements and generic fluff that sounds good. "The RFP stifles free-form thinking and inspiration that the best web design partner will bring to the project," says Joyce. "It's almost impossible to showcase a web development company's culture and experience when it's thrown down on a conference table with five other RFPs."

Where are the End Goals Desired from the Project?

Writing on paper that you want the new website to generate sales is not a business goal. "No business redesigns their website or undertakes transformative development projects without knowing the goals for potential new business, problem resolutions or bringing more value to their customer base," added Joyce. "The RFP at best just outlines some general details about improvements in navigation, new pages to be added or some new functionality to appease the sales team." Challenge yourself (most of the time it's one person running the RFP) to question the business goals and desired outcomes that your team needs. It's not the pretty new colors, tools and animation that will revolutionize a business...it's the strategy and business goals.

Examples of goals:

There is no way to sort through papers and select the most qualified web development partner for any of those goals. "Usually the individual that is collecting the RFP does not have a large amount of exposure to the technology and software process," adds Joyce. "So how can they select the right company without relying on the back page price or a hunch?"

"I Need a Generic Web Vendor Instead of a Custom Web Partner"

The RFP process is a generic method to finding the most generic web vendor. In our minds, a web vendor is somebody that changes the headlines to bold and uploads a photo. "A true web development company is a trusted partner that collaborates closely with the client to develop a strategy and roadmap to reach those desired goals," said Joyce. "A true web partner like us has depth in team member skills, additional bandwidth to absorb new projects, a proven project management program and the experienced leadership to make it all happen."

Look for a Relationship and the ROI will Surpass the RFPWeb development and web design RFP documents are not the right way to find your next best web partner.

Ok, so how do you find your new web development partner? "The short and proper answer is that you need to do the research first by looking at their website, client list, online reputation, work examples and talent depth," said Joyce. "Then turn to your peer network and ask for referrals based on the specifics of what you are looking for. Then it is time to conduct in-person interviews with the companies that you initially like."

"We know the challenges of tight client deadlines and resources very well," said Joyce. "Our biggest asset to a client is not how well we would fill out the RFP, it's how well we would work with them to advance their company's mission and goals."

Please contact The Idea People about advanced web software development and other technology and web design services at 704-398-4437 or email Jay Joyce at jay@theideapeople.com. We'll have a real conversation with you.

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