Your Blueprint for Fixing Your Next RFP

Jan 26, 2021
Jeff Haws

Our research into ESP RFPs for Super Senders revealed that there are numerous problems with the way their RFPs are run, and they’re causing companies not to get the results they need out of what can be an arduous process. Among the key numbers:

  • 73% of respondents think all ESPs are the same
  • 61% revise less than half the RFP before sending
  • 55% had a preferred vendor in mind for their RFP

When it comes to choosing a new ESP, the RFP (request for proposal) process is broken, though not irretrievably. Recognizing the problem is the first step toward correcting course, though, and our new whitepaper is intended to explain how the RFP broke in the first place, and what you can do to make your team’s next RFP its most successful yet.

As we look across the marketplace, we regularly see that many of today’s RFPs reflect outdated understandings of ESP technology, rather than the current reality that the ability to use live data at every point of the customer journey is essential to digital messaging success. If the RFP’s questions don’t address this need and, in turn, ask questions that end up being biased against modern technology in the interest of expediency, the RFP has failed in its chief goal: to aid the brand in selecting the ESP that will best suit their current needs.

How did we get here?

The beauty of the RFP for Super Senders is that it takes a lot of the subjective guesswork out of the vendor selection process and should give the brand a way to identify the most objectively “best” option in what’s likely a sea of them. Handled smartly, they really can accomplish all of that.

But the danger with them is that it’s also easy to get a little bit complacent. The simplest thing to do each time is to start with the RFP you used the previous round as a template, make some tweaks as you see fit, and then send that out again.

ESP technology changes quickly, though. Super Senders can come in all sorts of various industries, and that’s where their expertise lies. There’s no reason they would have deep knowledge of the how the landscape has shifted in the ESP world over the previous 3-5 years. The reality, though, is that any ESP doing its job has added dozens of new features in that time. All the competition has had to step up their game. The table stakes are completely different.

Not only that, but your brand’s needs have evolved as well. Your team’s biggest obstacles to sending the types of campaigns you want are way different than they were the last time you went out to RFP. And a list of the same questions is going to get you a lot of the same answers, when that’s not what you need at all.

How do we fix it?

If you’re sold on the idea that the RFP process needs to be rethought when it comes to an ESP search, what’s the first step? How can you get from where you are to a place where you feel confident you have an RFP that will deliver the results it’s supposed to?

As you begin, it’s important to figure out who your stakeholders are, and dig deep into the obstacles standing between the current state of your cross-channel messaging program and the aspirations for where your team would like it to be.

Approach this discussion with a state of mind that nothing is off the table. Don’t worry about what may or may not be possible. Companies like MessageGears are constantly iterating and adding features the market demands, so you might be surprised at the problems that can be solved if you structure your RFP in such a way to identify the right solution.

If you’d like to learn more about how to make your next ESP RFP your team’s best — including details from our exclusive research into RFPs and a deep dive into what makes MessageGears’ solution so unique — download our new whitepaper today.


About the Author

Jeff Haws

As MessageGears’ Senior Marketing Manager, Jeff is focused on ensuring the execution of the Marketing team’s vision, with customer messaging and communication at the forefront. He’s passionate about understanding the way data impacts messaging, and creating content that helps marketers do their jobs better.