Ready to Start Your SPM Buying Process? Here’s an RFP Overview to Get Started

May 27, 2020
4 min read
A great vendor is a trusted partner for your business, and that is determined during the RFP process by a wide range of selection criteria they will need to meet before consideration. Learn what that would look like during your SPM journey.

When it comes to choosing a vendor for your Sales Performance Management (SPM) needs, yes, there are many viable options—but when you’re making a sizable purchase for your organization,  choosing one isn’t as easy as looking online and performing a surface-level analysis. 

 A vendor-provided Request For Proposal (RFP) can help you make an educated choice when it comes to choosing the right solution. Here’s a list of considerations you should take into account to ensure an effective Sales Performance Management RFP process. 

The ‘Before’ Considerations:

Before vendors become involved, conduct an internal audit to get a full understanding of what you’ll need from a solution and what they’ll need from you in order to secure the right fit.

This can be as simple as creating your own ‘mini RFP,’ where you outline what matters most to your project (i.e., time, solution, budget, etc.) and show how you will be evaluating proposals based on that. If you make transparency a core part of your evaluation strategy, you'll have more success in streamlining the hiring process to make sure you have the vendor for the job.

The ‘During’ Considerations:

This is the stage in the RFP process where reality hits in the form of concrete plans and strategies—and it comes in the form of your vendor’s RFP. This document should include, but doesn’t have to be limited to, the following 10 areas:  

1. Project Synopsis

This includes a summary of the proposed work and should address how they can solve your existing business challenges. It should explain the ‘why’ of the project and give a brief overview of their game plan as it relates to your needs specifically.  

2. Vendor Background

By doing a complete background evaluation, you can get a better idea of what each company offers. Doing your due diligence before a vendor is seriously entertained can help you better manage risk and implement safe hiring processes. 

3. Project Goal Setting

Setting goals and objectives for projects is an essential step because they not only identify your desired outcome; they also provide a road map on how to get there. By clearly defining your goals, you can successfully enlist the aid of a vendor by communicating exactly what you’re trying to achieve. 

4. Identify Key Stakeholders

A project stakeholder is an individual or team that will be affected by the results of your project or have a hand in how the project is executed. It’s important to identify these individuals early on and create a communication plan to make sure they are kept in the loop for each project milestone. 

5. Scope of Work & Deliverables

The scope of work refers to an agreement on the level of work that will be performed over the lifespan of the project, while the deliverables are the breakdown of the scope into individual tasks, milestones, reports, etc. Take your time defining what this would look like for your project so there are no surprises later on. 

6. Project Timeline & Deliverables Schedule 

The planning process is crucial for removing roadblocks, making effective use of your resources, and delivering projects on time and within budget. Building comprehensive, accurate timelines will help you get the project off on the right foot and make sure it stays on track.

7. High-level Requirements

Be sure to be completely transparent and upfront about any additional accommodations your company might need. A successful RFP is explicitly clear about any technical challenges or possible roadblocks that could come up along the way and how each party will combat those.

8. Who’s in Charge?

Each task needs to be owned by an appropriate person/team. Make sure you identify who these key people are, and more importantly, communicate what roles or responsibilities each will have before the project is started. 

9. Budget 

The budget is the backbone of your project. Nothing can move forward without the necessary funds which means you’ll need a well-planned and properly estimated budget before any serious discussions are had. 

10. Additional Selection Criteria

While the previous nine areas are standard in a traditional RFP, each project will have its own personalized and individual aspects each vendor will need to address. To learn more about the different technical areas your vendor should be addressing in their Sales Performance Management RFPs, check out our RFP Vendor Selection Matrix.

The ‘After’ Considerations: 

This is the portion of the RFP is where vendor’s will touch on the long-lasting benefits of the proposed partnership. While technology and implementation assistance may be an immediate benefit of taking on a third-party vendor, it’s equally important to seek out a partner that is willing to provide the level of strategic support needed by their customers. For example, here are two key areas to discuss with vendors before any contracts are signed: 

  • Long-term Partnership: while a vendor relationship implies a sale and service agreement, a business partnership doesn’t end when a contract is signed. It is a commitment to an ongoing, strategic, and mutually beneficial relationship between both parties involved. 
  • Ongoing Support: you should find a vendor that will be available to you after everything is up and running. This can take many forms, like customer support or additional training, but you need a partner that will support you after the dust of implementation and initial training has settled. 

In It For The Long Haul: 

An RFP serves as an invaluable resource for decision-makers looking to benefit from the services of an SPM vendor. 

For a more in-depth look into what you should be evaluating for during your SPM consideration journey, download our guide, Best Practices for SPM Vendor Evaluation Guide, to learn more. 


Emily Jahn
Content Marketing Manager

Emily Jahn is a Content Marketing Manager at Xactly. She earned a degree in advertising from The University of Colorado - Boulder and has experience in copywriting, social media, and digital marketing.