What is RFI, RFP and RFQ in B2B Sales

Often, Sales Professionals in B2B Direct Sales would come across these 3 important sales terminologies.

1. RFI
2. RFP
3. RFQ



In this post, Let’s go through each of these sales terms.

1. RFI

RFI is the first step in B2B purchase step. This acronym stands for “Request for Information”. As the name suggests, the client who is looking for purchasing a solution is looking for some information from the vendors. Usually, Purchaser would float a “Request for Information” from the available vendors when it is new in that particular product’s market. For. e.g. A company might be looking for a solution for improving sales productivity but might be lacking much information in that area or domain. So they would seek RFI from multiple vendors seeking information on the available solutions and problems those solutions can tackle.


2. RFP

RFP is ideally the next step after RFI. This acronym stands for “Request for Proposal”. In this step, the client who is looking for purchasing a solution floats a RFP from vendors asking them to propose for a solution to the problems of the vendor. In this, the purchaser usually mentions specific problems which it is facing and would like to have an answer or solution to those specific problems. For E.g. A company might be looking for CRM solution, but it might be specifically interested in solving its problem of managing customer contacts. In that case, the buyer would be specifically interested in getting proposal for vendors for solving the problem of managing or organizing customer contacts. In this step, sometimes buyer also expects a high level overview of the cost for the proposed solution from the vendor. 


3. RFQ

RFQ is ideally the next step after RFP provided the purchaser doesn’t mix it up in the RFP stage. RFQ stands for “Request for Quotation”. If the purchaser had not asked for detailed costs for each solution item in RFP stage, then they would float a request for quotation asking the vendors to provide detailed cost structure for their proposed solution. Sometimes, purchasers who are directly looking for a list of goods with certain predefined specifications instead of solutions provided by the vendors would directly jump to RFQ stage without even floating any RFP. In this case they are looking for commodity type of goods with industry standard specification rather than looking for any consulting support from vendor on these.


I hope you found the explanation of these 3 terms to be useful. Do comment below and let me know your thoughts.

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