An 8-Step Approach to a Successful CDP RFP Process

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Investing in the right customer data platform (CDP) can improve the efficacy and efficiency of your data-driven marketing campaigns, sales programs, customer service relations, and business operations.

Since your CDP will serve as the customer data foundation for your marketing technology stack, picking the right platform is critical to achieving both short and long-term return on investment. With so many different options out there, it’s important to understand that not all CDPs, or CDP vendors, are created equal.

To achieve immediate value and long-term business transformation success, you’ll want to select a CDP that is able to scale with your evolving data needs and digital maturity level.

And to do that, it all starts with knowing the right way to evaluate vendors, and building a successful request for proposal (RFP) process. 

What is a Request for Proposal?

A request for proposal consists of both the process and documentation required for soliciting bids for business or technology solutions by an enterprise. RFP documentation will consist of:

  • Business requirements and use cases prospective vendors must demonstrate capability to manage
  • Evaluation criteria for optimal vendor selection
  • Terms and conditions for a successful partnership
  • Responsibilities and timeline requirements for implementation
  • Desired benchmarks for success

How is a CDP RFP Different?

A CDP RFP is a bit more involved than other technology RFPs, since it can often include inputs from multiple departments and stakeholders that manage customer data in different ways across the organization.

During the CDP RFP process, all stakeholders across the enterprise must be engaged to ensure their needs are being met. This will help solidify ongoing buy-in and participation as the project scales later on.

Why the CDP RFP Process Matters

A well thought-out and carefully planned CDP RFP process is going to make all the difference for success and ROI in the long term.

A CDP is MarTech infrastructure, so you want to future-proof your investment by making sure you ask the right questions about vendor capabilities during the RFP process. Doing your due diligence upfront will ensure you maximize the value of your organization’s CDP investment over time.

Replacing technology infrastructure is no small undertaking. That’s why it’s important to take the time to make sure the CDP vendors you are evaluating have the right experience for your industry, and that their platform will be able to drive real business value for your organization now, and for years to come. 

What is the CDP RFP Process?

Establishing core CDP use cases at the beginning of the CDP RFP process will help your organization align internally around the goals, processes, and outcomes that will define success. Along with evaluating the CDP vendors themselves, it’s also important to determine what internal resources, skills, and processes will be needed.

  1. Define the business case and stakeholders: Begin the process by engaging the right stakeholders and aligning around the overall short-term and long-term goals for your customer data platform.
  2. Gather RFP requirements. Work with stakeholders to define the core use cases, requirements, and capabilities you will need from your CDP.
  3. Create your CDP RFP document. After you have your stakeholders and know your requirements, it’s time to document the questions you’ll need to ask prospective vendors. This will form your CDP RFP document.
  4. Identify participating vendors. Finding the right vendor for your business is going to make the difference between implementation success and long-term business value. Work with internal stakeholders to identify a list of vendors you’d like to engage in a request for proposal. Outside consultants and industry experts can also help make recommendations for vendors based on your requirements.
  5. Participate in RFP responses and demos. Engage vendors in your RFP. Put the right amount of time and effort into the RFP response process to ensure you get the right shortlist of vendors to participate in a demo.
  6. Evaluate vendors against scoring criteria. This is where the strategic scoring process begins to refine your shortlist.
  7. Select the right CDP. With your top vendors identified, ensure you tie up any loose ends to choose a winning vendor that best meets your needs.
  8. Create the final contract. Once you have selected the right vendor, all scores should be passed to your legal department for reference. A statement of work also needs to be created to validate initial pricing considerations and provide a framework for the ongoing partnership.

Master the CDP RFP Process

To achieve immediate value and long-term business transformation, you need to select a customer data platform that is built to scale with your data needs. That’s why it’s critical to make sure the vendors you are evaluating have the right experience for your industry, and that their platform is right for your organization.

Our comprehensive CDP RFP guide and complimentary CDP RFP template explores the key steps needed to create a successful CDP evaluation and selection process – from the capabilities to consider, to the questions you should ask prospective vendors to make sure you’re making the right decision.

Access your copy of our guide and complementary CDP RFP template here.

Brian Carlson
Brian Carlson
Brian Carlson is the Founder and CEO of RoC Consulting, a digital consultancy that helps brands establish the optimal balance of content, technology and marketing to achieve their goals.