The RFP Plateau: Ad And PR Providers See Declines During COVID-19 Crisis

Email marketers need services, so they occasionally put out requests for proposals (RFPs), and vendors and agencies respond.

But those suppliers are hurting, judging by Industry Research: How Proposal Teams Are Managing RFPs during COVID-19, a study by Loopio.

A third of proposal teams report a decline in RFP volume.

Providers in the advertising & PR, healthcare, IT, media & publishing, supply chain & logistics and telecommunications fields are a few percentage points more likely to see a falloff.   

Software suppliers -- another business heavily patronized by email marketers -- are most evenly split between those reporting increases and decreases and those with flat volume.

Overall, only 10% of the respondents report increases. In addition, 22% say levels remain the same and 35% that it’s too early to tell.

It’s not clear whether the overall numbers reflect a general slowdown, or conditions in specific vertical areas. But the study may be a barometer of business health in general.

For example, 40% think it will take six months to return to normal, and 22% predict it will take a year. Another 26% say it will take three months, and 9% expect it to take more than a year. Slim minorities say it will be within a month (2%) or never (1%). 

Either way, 20% expect further decreases, while 16% predict increases, and 6% believe things will remain the same.

Proposal teams face these challenges: 

  • Team moral & focus — 26%
  • Maintaining momentum — 21% 
  • Timely SME collaboration — 19% 
  • Keeping busy in a slowdown — 16% 
  • Remote RFP collaboration — 12% 
  • Other — 6% 

Proposal managers — those at the top of this process — worry about the following:

  • Market/industry uncertainty — 40%
  • Decreasing work volumes — 20%
  • Changing nature of RFPs — 10%
  • Job security & company stability — 10% 
  • Long-term remote work issues — 9%
  • Increasing work volumes — 7%
  • Other — 4%

For the moment, 60% say their teams are working remotely for the first time, while 36% say that they were already remote when the crisis hit, and  3% say that it is optional for staffs, and 1% that their teams work in the office.

Loopio, a provider of proposal software, surveyed over 200 RFP responders.


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