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Response Management

RFP and RFI: What's the difference?

July 15, 2022

Response management is the process of a prospective customer sending out a questionnaire or list of requirements to a few prospective vendors with the late stages of a sales cycle.Within the category of response management, there are four main types of requests: Requests for Information, Requests for Quotation, Requests for Proposal, and Security Assessments. RFPs and RFIs are among the most common types of requests, but what is the difference between the two?

Requests for Information (RFIs): A Brief Overview    

RFIs are a preliminary request before the prospect sends out a formal request for proposal. This request generally has questions that will help advise the content of the upcoming, and oftentimes lengthier, RFP. Especially if a company has not undergone a bid for a similar technology before, this step is to ensure they ask the correct questions, and can sometimes help phrase the questions in favor of their preferred vendor.

Requests for Proposal (RFPs): A Brief Overview    

RFPs are requests that work to gather answers from a few shortlisted vendors in common criteria for purchase, such as platform capabilities, security, pricing, etc. The prospect will take these answers to have an impartial view of the capabilities they need for the solution they're buying, and the vendor's offerings.

The difference between RFPs and RFIs: 

The main difference between RFPs and RFIs is that requests for proposals are utilized by companies in bidding processes to seek offers for a given project, whereas requests for information are utilized when a company wants contractors to offer possible solutions to a problem or project. 

In general, RFPs are more intensive, formal, and price-specific than RFIs. RFPs can be hundreds of questions long and weeks to respond to if an RFP automation software is not in place. According to a blog written by G2, RFPs are used “to gain insight into qualitative and quantitative aspects of what the market has to offer and who is offering it.” RFIs are more general and information based. According to TechTarget, a basic RFI is only 4 to 5 pages long. 

Master response management with Ombud’s RFP automation software. Customers rely on Ombud to automate the content-centric activities in their sales processes. Our platform combines content collaboration, project management, and machine learning to streamline the creation of sales documents like RFP responses, security questionnaires, sales proposals, statements of work, and much more. Interested in learning more? Request a demo here.

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