Evaluating the Proposals for Vendor Selection

A close friend asked for my recommendation on a digital marketing proposal.

He asked me because he trusts my advice.

I looked at it.

This was a templated proposal most likely written by someone whose expertise wasn’t digital marketing. Maybe a website developer, graphic designer, or someone who just dabbles in digital marketing but definitely not an expert. 

The proposal email was a long one and featured a series of definitions of different digital marketing terms. The proposal itself was a list of these terms, with a low price for delivering those services, and next to each of them.

I told my friend not to engage them because it will be a waste of money, but not before asking them a series of questions to give them (the sender of the proposal) a fair chance.

If you are a business owner and find yourself in a similar situation, you can also ask questions to understand if a proposal is worth an investment.

What questions to ask?

Asking to show the work they have done maybe the most obvious question but if they are starting out they may not have a good showcase.

So, don’t fret if they don’t have work samples.

Ask about their process of doing what they are offering to do for you.

My friend is into travel solutions and the offer was for digital marketing so I told them to ask the following questions.

  1. What is the process you follow for our SEO? For example, if we want to rank for ‘Bali honeymoon packages’ what will you do for us?
  2. For business listing submission, apart from Google and Just Dial and Indiamart – which other locations are important for a business like us?
  3. Who will you send emails to, as part of email marketing?
  4. In video marketing – what will you do for us?
  5. For Google Maps listing, why we need to invest in ads?
  6. What will you do for content marketing in a month?

Ask 5-10 questions. Frame the questions in such a way that the person replying to those questions will have to invest some time thinking about your business.

Assess based on the quality of their reply and how much time they take to respond.

Anyone whos is not serious about their and your business won’t bother replying. So, this will act as an automatic filter. 

Asking such questions also allow you to be fair to people because everyone starts somewhere. It also gets people to apply themselves and think about your business and how they will create results for you. That’s the frame of mind that you want from your partner. This way you will help them help you.

What else do you do to assess the efficacy of pitches and proposals you get?

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