Posted on 9/21/2017 in Business and Strategy
By Jon Baer
You’ve decided to redesign your website and you’ve been tasked with identifying one or more potential partners. How do you write up a website redesign RFP that will enable you to narrow down the field and identify the best fit?
The Purpose of a Website Redesign RFP
The purpose of the website redesign RFP is to summarize the project, the business reasons driving the website redesign, the goals of the new site and the functional requirements. Put as much detail as you can in the RFP but don’t “spoon feed” the recipients. You want to include enough information so that all recipients can get a sense of the project’s size, but you don’t want to “give away the store”.
The reason for not including every single bit of information in the RFP is to get a sense as to how each potential partner will attack the project. Just as important, you will want to see who asks the best questions that flesh out the requirements. The questions tell a lot about the web agency’s skills and understanding of the redesign project.
Examples of Good Questions
For example, your RFP may say that x# of forms are required. A real simple way to determine if an agency is a good fit is to see if they ask questions like:
- Will forms need to integrate with a back-end CRM and/or marketing automation system?
- What is your internal process once a form is submitted?
- How do you plan to track responses (i.e., the effectiveness of the form)?
These questions may seem pretty obvious, but if the agency doesn’t ask them, then that’s a red flag.
Here’s another set of questions you can use to whittle down the field. Let’s say your new website will contain a membership directory search. If the agency doesn’t ask these types of questions, they’re not a good fit:
- Does the search leverage a web service to return the results? OR
- Is there an integration that pulls that data into the website so that the search is run locally within the site?
- If the former, who will be writing the web service?
Even if your site is not complex, there are still questions that the agencies should ask, such as:
- What are the KPIs you’re going to use to measure the project’s success?
- What is driving the project?
- How critical is the website in supporting the overall business, sales and marketing plans for the company?
- What actions do you want users to perform on the site?
Website RFP Table of Contents
At a minimum, your RFP should contain the following content sections:
- Project Overview
- Company Overview
- Target Market
- Top Competition
- Brand Positioning
- Required Functionality
One More Way to Improve your Website RFP and Vet Potential Partners
I’ve seen several companies require that as part of the RFP response, the agencies must answer questions about themselves. The level of detail and thought that an agency puts into the answers is another effective way to separate the winners from the losers. I say this because after completing a proposal that addresses the website redesign requirements outlined in the RFP, an agency may decide “I’ve done enough” and decide to provide short, hasty, and not well thought out answers. This response begs the question “is this how they’ll treat my project?”.
The questionnaire could include content sections and questions such as:
- Agency Overview
- What sets you apart from your competition?
- What are your core competencies and why?
- What is your development methodology?
- Account Management
- What is the account management team structure? What are the skill sets and experiences of these team members?
- Project Management
- What is your development methodology?
An agency's response to your RFP is the first step in the "interview process" to find out if you can partner up and have a future together. Don't be afraid to ask some tough questions and make sure they are up to the challenge. Redesigning your site is a big investment and a strong partner is a major key to your success.
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