Tag Archives: RFP

Free Up Your Time to Do the Important Stuff

10 Oct

2 great tips for freeing up a bunch of your time – from the in-box and out-box side of your desk.  First tip is from the out-box side on how to decide whether to respond to an RFP or not.  It’s tricky to tell if it’s a real RFP because they can just take SOOO much time.  What’s worse, coming in second or not having it awarded?  The second tip has really freed up my day to tackle my to-do list instead of read and respond to trivial stuff.

  • How To Avoid Deals Where No Vendor Wins – Really enjoyed this post from Geoffrey. In discussions with other sales reps in various industries, there seems to be an uptick in RFPs being issued but two items stand out –
    * RFP decisions are pushed out out out. The company wants the RFP response back in 2 weeks but the decision drags drags drags. Hence the timeliness of Geoffrey’s post
    * RFPs in purgatory. In addition to new RFPs being issued, old ones are getting dusted off and sent out again. When you ask, “Why” the answer boils down to, “We’re getting ready JUST IN CASE…”
    Always a challege for a small company responding to an RFP from a F500 company when there’s no real good understanding (or belief) in whether the RFP’s really real or not.
  • Improve Your Connect Rates – Absolutely spot on commentary. Emails are so easy and cheap to send that readers are bombarded by them. Therefore, they don’t read them or at best, scan thru them. I’ve even set up my BB to only accept emails from people who are already in my address book as all other emails get saved on my PC. Guess how many of them are read on my PC?

    Jim’s critical point – call & leave a message pointing out the details in your email. I’ve had a much higher connect rate when I both call (leave a message) and send an email. And as he says, “Persistence is key.”

RFPs when the main POC is Purchasing

8 Jul

What does your company do when an RFP shows up at Corporate and the main point of contact is not the business user or decision maker but the purchasing agent?

Here’s the situation one of the Inquisix members found themselves in. They’re new to their company while the inside sales manager is experienced. A prospect sent in an RFP to sales@company.com that nobody expected but inside sales pounced on. With the blessing of the VP of Sales (who manages both inside and outside), the inside team ran with the RFP. This blog posting is not about inside vs outside turf battles as regular readers know I’m a big proponent of inside sales. Rather it is solely about the opportunity costs of responding to RFPs.

RFPs take a lot of energy to answer. Big companies have RFP teams and knowledgebases to facilitate the RFP response. But every RFP is different and the questions not always understood. And small companies don’t have the resources to spend chasing RFPs that (maybe) have no chance of closing. In either case, why expend the energy?

So this company decided the only course of action was to follow the RFP instructions exactly and not talk to any one except the purchasing agent. The field rep protested that this was a waste of time and that any prospect expecting to seriously consider the solution would have the business users engaged. Otherwise, it was simple price shopping against a vendor the user had already picked out. The inside manager felt that going around the purchasing agent was the kiss of death.

What does your company do? Who makes the decision to respond to an RFP when the main POC is purchasing? Do you respond without question? Do you go around the purchasing agent?

My answer – you ask the purchasing agent to schedule a 30 minute call with the business users to review the proposal and clarify all the answers. If the purchasing agent declines then you have very little chance of winning. That leaves your choice of either not responding or only responding to the pricing with a low-ball to hurt your competitor.

What’s your answer?