Aug 14, 2009

Being unconventional with the RFP Database

If you're looking for RFPs, search no further: go to the RFP Database.

We fully realize that the following article might sound like an advertisement for the RFP Database, but as the site was built with the intention of helping construct business relationships, we want to showcase the more unconventional ways in which that site is being used to grow new relationships. We hope that some of the ideas listed below might spur you to approach the site with a new outlook and try some new ways of using it to advance your business goals.

When we built the RFP Database we really only anticipated the site being used two ways, to either announce your RFP for bidders or to find RFPs to bid on. At the same time, the site was built incorporating a credit system so that should we come up with ways to extend the site, ratios of cost could easily be added to the site and new uses integrated. Over the last few years we've been told about some unconventional or secondary ways that our site has been used to extend businesses that weren't as interested in finding or announcing RFPs, but still put our site to good use:

Teaching a college-level business course


We notice this when we have a sudden influx of students from the same college joining our site, other times we've been contacted by the professor. Sometimes we regret that we hadn't taken courses like this in college, but we're glad someone out there is teaching them! The assignment is often a combination of learning how to write a RFP and how to respond to craft a proposal response to a RFP. The teacher might download some sample RFPs to demonstrate in the class, the students might look for examples to download, or the students might even grab a RFP and be tasked with writing a proposal to be evaluated by the teacher.

If you're a professor or student looking for some RFPs to use as samples please feel free to register, the first two projects you download are entirely free. If those first two aren't enough, we recommend going to your college/university procurement site (almost all universities have one) and uploading a few from that site; for each RFP you upload you'll gain access to five more leads that you can use.

Free advertising of a company's services

Some companies aren't looking for RFPs themselves, but are instead looking to connect with the people issuing RFPs or looking for RFPs. The companies that stick out are the ones that are geared towards helping companies write killer proposals, or helping organizations write RFPs as many organizations often go looking for samples to base their RFP on. Taking advantage of our inexpensive advertising option, companies are able to purchase advertisement views in blocks of 1k, 5k, and 10k views for $10, $40, and $70.

This becomes even more attractive for companies when it becomes free; as our system is based on credits, you can use credits earned from uploading RFPs to purchase advertisement views. In exchange for 7 RFP uploads, which should take about 15 minutes to find and upload, a company can run an advertisement for approximately one month on our site for free

White papers announcements

It seems that we're not the only ones that believe that the best way to impress potential clients is by demonstrating that we're knowledge leaders by self-publishing. A few users that are prolific authors have taken advantage of the above-mentioned advertising opportunities and, instead of simply publishing an advertisement for their company, their advertisement is instead an advertisement to read and download a new white paper. There aren't many better ways for a company to impress potential clients than showcasing their expertise on the subject matter in the form of a white paper, and it's ingenious that they're able to advertise their white paper for free to those potential clients.

Writing new Requests for Proposals

So this might not be the most unconventional of uses, but it's certainly a good one to mention. Often times, someone in an organization is tasked with writing a RFP but has no idea how to go about doing this. Why reinvent the wheel? Looking at examples of existing RFPs that are similar to the one you are seeking to write is one of the best ways of jump-starting the RFP-writing process. You can also join our LinkedIn group and ask for assistance. Vendors appreciate well-written and documented RFPs and will always give you tips on how to write a better RFP. And once the RFP is written you can announce it on the website and get the competitive bids that you need.

Keeping in touch with corporate partners

This is one of our personal favorites: one of our members is in sales for a company that, while they provide a service, it isn't a service that generally pitches directly to the organizations issuing RFPs. Their service is generally sought by the winner of a project who incorporates their offering into the project plan. As a way of keeping in touch with the primary companies who would be both bidding on these projects and then hiring the company to do their piece of the project, this sales person will find and send RFPs from the RFP Database to their clients who might be interested in bidding on the project. This practice both ingratiates the client to you for bringing leads to their door, but also keeps alive channels of communication and keeps you in the forefront of their mind for other projects they might be working on.

While the above is a bit vague, here's an example:

You represent a company that writes jingles for advertising campaigns. You receive notices about advertising projects listed on the RFP Database and one catches your glance: a RFP for Tourism marketing and advertising services. You think sure, there might be an opportunity for my services within that project, or you might know the perfect company for that project. You download the project for a mere 2 credits and send it over to your contact with a friendly note. Talk about a great way to make friends, especially if they win the project!

Project leads for an organization's members

Membership-based organizations are always looking to provide greater services to their members; this is especially true in down economies. One method we've seen in a variety of different forms is organizations incorporating leads from the RFP Database into their site. An example of this in use is Mike Rowe (of Discovery Channel "Dirty Jobs" fame) and his site, MikeRoweWorks.com. In the Job Site section of his site he has integrated a RSS feed of RFPs from the RFP Database as a way of showing projects that might be interesting to his visitors. Having this additional content and providing it as a service to your members will both encourage new visitors as well as keep your existing members very happy with what you're providing.


If you've put the RFP Database to good use in a way that's out of the ordinary please let us know!