RFPs require substantial time on the part of the buyers as well as providers. The full RFP process is often an expensive business. For SaaS-based solutions the process often requires additional effort to support detailed demonstrations of technologies. Inviting too many suppliers can be time-consuming to manage from a buyer perspective. As part of our 2015 Europe Staffing Company Survey Insights Into Staffing Companies’ Attitudes, Practices and Strategies & Surveys we asked staffing organizations:

  • About what percent of requests for proposals (RFPs) do you respond to?
  • How many hours does it typically take to write a response?
  • Of those RFPs that you respond to, about what percent turn into business?

It is best to know the market before issuing the RFP and assessing early if the suppliers are likely to respond. The typical staffing firm responds to about three-quarter of RFPs; a quarter of firms respond to almost all of them (86% or more). Buyers need to realize that completing RFPs is a significant investment of time for suppliers, with a mid-range time of six to 30 hours and a median of 16. Staffing firms vary in RFP success rates as well, with a mid-range success rate of 34% to 70%, and a median of 50%. Therefore, doing a thorough market assessment before issuing the RFP is advisable for buyers. Inevitably sales costs are overheads or built into fees, so helping to make this an efficient process is in everyone’s interest.