For many marketers, starting an enterprise RFP process occupies a similar mental space to getting a cavity filled or visiting the DMV: sometimes unavoidable, but nearly always unpleasant. 

It doesn’t need to be that way. Enterprise marketing RFPs might not ever be fun, but with the right preparations, the process can be significantly less painful than standing in line for a Real ID.

The Marketing Orchestration RFP Planning Guide is free to download, and goes in-depth on the steps you can take to ensure your RFP goes according to plan. Short on time? Here’s the three most important things to remember.

Take Time to Lay Your Groundwork

It’s tempting to dive right in and start moving forward, but preparing for an RFP is definitely a situation where patience pays off.  Putting in the time to start things off right can clear the way for the process go more smoothly later on. There are two areas you’ll want to focus on for groundwork: who you need, and what you already have.

“Who you need” might end up being a bigger list than you expect: marketing orchestration touches a lot of functions across an organization, and as a result a lot of people might end up either as stakeholders or end users. Identifying these people and bringing them into the process at the beginning can prevent later conflicts.

“What you already have” is a bit more straightforward: these are the systems you already have in place in your martech stack. Taking stock of these before you begin helps you better understand the gaps in your current technology, and how an orchestration platform will fit in (and if your martech stack is complex enough that it’s a challenge to navigate, we have a book to help with that too).

Get Clear on Your Requirements

If there’s one thing that can reliably derail an RFP, regardless of industry or company size, it’s a lack of clarity. If you don’t have well-defined objectives for your new technology, or what it needs to be able to do, you run the risk of scope creep or stakeholder disagreements bringing everything to a standstill. 

The easiest way to avoid blockers around requirements is to make sure they’re documented and prioritized at the start of your process. This includes both the business objectives you’re trying to achieve, and the technical capabilities you’ll need to get there.

Ask Questions With Long Answers

When you’re trying to get the right information from your potential solution providers, the key is not in what you ask. It’s how you ask.

Questions that are written with yes/no answers may seem straightforward, but they open up a can of “yes, but” worms. A solution provider might technically offer a particular feature or capability, but their version may not actually do what you need. Rather than asking if a solution can do something, frame your questions around the task or goal you’re trying to accomplish, then ask for examples of how the solution will help. 

Use case questions help avoid misunderstandings about a solution’s capabilities, and also give prospective partners a better idea of what your RFP is all about. That in turn helps them prepare material that’s most relevant to your actual needs, so your meetings can cut straight to the point.

Download The Marketing Orchestration RFP Planning Guide for more information, and get your RFPs moving forward.