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Best Practices in the Public Relations RFP Process


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Identifying and hiring a public relations agency takes many hours of dedicated time and energy. The presentation was made during the PRSA International Conference in 2010. It outlines the most important steps and processes needed to manage the RFP process to ensure an amicable long-term relationship between client and firm.

Published in: Business

Best Practices in the Public Relations RFP Process

  1. 1. Best Business Practices: Strategy, Writing and Managing the RFP Process PRSA International Conference Workshop
  2. 2. Introductions
  3. 3. Agenda <ul><li>Top Concerns </li></ul><ul><li>The RFQ </li></ul><ul><li>The RFP </li></ul><ul><li>The Selection Process </li></ul><ul><li>Presentations </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluations </li></ul><ul><li>Sealing the Deal </li></ul><ul><li>Q&A </li></ul>
  4. 4. System Is Broken
  5. 5. Snapshot: PR Agency Top Concerns <ul><li>Short deadlines </li></ul><ul><li>Budget not provided </li></ul><ul><li>Incomplete scope of work </li></ul><ul><li>Exhaustive response required </li></ul><ul><li>Wired for particular agency </li></ul><ul><li>Poorly written RFP = difficult client </li></ul>R F P
  6. 6. Snapshot: Top Concerns of Organizations <ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Daunting process </li></ul><ul><li>Differentiating between agencies </li></ul><ul><li>Keeping the process open and fair </li></ul><ul><li>Boilerplate response </li></ul><ul><li>Bait and switch/turnover </li></ul><ul><li>Keeping promises/delivering results </li></ul>R F P
  7. 7. Getting Started <ul><li>Assessing the need </li></ul><ul><li>Set aside the time and resources </li></ul><ul><li>Organization-wide support </li></ul>
  8. 8. Search Criteria <ul><li>Size </li></ul><ul><li>Services </li></ul><ul><li>Specialty </li></ul><ul><li>Geography </li></ul><ul><li>Track record </li></ul>
  9. 9. Pre-screening <ul><ul><li>Identify agencies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Due diligence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Request For Qualifications </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. About RFQs <ul><li>Starts your scorecard </li></ul><ul><li>Determines conflicts </li></ul><ul><li>Prepares agencies </li></ul>
  11. 11. Developing the RFP <ul><ul><li>Internal committee </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Timeline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contact agencies from RFQ </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Elements of the RFP <ul><ul><li>Reason for RFP </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Background </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Previous programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scope of work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Budget </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sensitivities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Timeline </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Elements of the RFP <ul><ul><li>Point of contact </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conference call </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Establish format </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Elements of the RFP <ul><ul><li>PRSA Code of Ethics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sample contract </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Timeline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Demonstrate the value of your business! </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Must Haves <ul><ul><li>Relevant background </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agency structure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Account team bios </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide case studies </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. The Post RFP Period <ul><li>Use scorecard for every exchange </li></ul><ul><li>Site visits </li></ul><ul><li>Even Steven? </li></ul>
  17. 17. Evaluating Responses <ul><li>Refer to the RFQ </li></ul><ul><li>Voting weight </li></ul><ul><li>Watch for typos, boilerplate </li></ul>
  18. 18. Presentations <ul><li>Establish format </li></ul><ul><li>Managing the process </li></ul><ul><li>Require actual team </li></ul><ul><li>Prep internal committee </li></ul><ul><li>On-site/off-site </li></ul>
  19. 19. Presentations <ul><li>Create a new scorecard </li></ul><ul><li>Presentation should not repeat the proposal </li></ul><ul><li>Pay attention to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>how the agency describes its philosophy and approach to client work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>how they demonstrate creativity </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Chemistry <ul><ul><li>Rapport is critical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Appropriate representatives? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The “ marriage ” test </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use gut </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Making It Official <ul><li>Notify winning agency first </li></ul><ul><li>Schedule first meeting </li></ul><ul><li>Prepare contract </li></ul><ul><li>Notify other agencies with personal phone call </li></ul>
  22. 22. A Successful Partnership <ul><ul><li>Make agency part of your team </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3-month review </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Review invoices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be a good client </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Celebrate the successes! </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Q & A
  24. 24. Handout – 10 Steps <ul><li>Assess your organization </li></ul><ul><li>Create search criteria </li></ul><ul><li>Budget </li></ul><ul><li>Create scorecard (see samples) </li></ul><ul><li>Issue RFQ </li></ul>6. Produce the RFP 7.Evaluate 8. Finalists 9. Structure the presentation 10.Watch for good chemistry
  25. 25. Thank You! Helen Sullivan , APR, Fellow PRSA 703.847.9702 Robert Udowitz 703.621.8060 [email_address]
  26. 26. Best Business Practices: Strategy, Writing and Managing the RFP Process <ul><li>Tuesday, October 19 8:00 am – 9:15 am </li></ul>PRSA Conference Workshop