Is it Time to Say RIP to RFPs?

Companies have higher methods to search out the precise companions.

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their very own.

In a world the place private contact issues, why are companies nonetheless utilizing an impersonal, fill-in-the-blank methodology to search out the precise distributors?

Corporations that depend on antiquated Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to search out the distributors they’ll have to depend on every day are making their choices at midnight. The proposal would possibly look good on paper, however what are the personalities of those that will probably be servicing the account? What sort of expertise have they got?

Why ought to any enterprise put their belief in a accomplice with out realizing something about their true abilities and expertise? It’s well past time to place RFPs on the shelf or kill their use outright.

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Why do RFPs fail?

An RFP is what it feels like. An organization places out a name for distributors, asking them to submit enterprise proposals to offer specifics providers or items.  These paint-by-number proposals find yourself offering rote solutions to an inventory of cut-and-dried questions that always supply little or no perception into the seller’s tradition, values or how they’ll deal with the corporate’s true wants.  

When an organization or nonprofit group makes use of an RFP, you would possibly assume it might present ample perception to decide on the most effective accomplice at the most effective worth, nevertheless it doesn’t. Asking potential distributors to reply the identical set of questions could also be constant, nevertheless it’s very inside-the-box considering.

The method does nothing to speak whether or not the seller’s tradition and values are suitable with yours, and it forces respondents right into a nook, unable to formulate individualized proposals that transcend assembly your organization’s apparent wants.

Standardized questions result in cookie-cutter solutions. Generally, the best service {that a} vendor can present helps corporations acknowledge what they actually want as an alternative of what they need. I run a public relations company, and I’ve seen conditions corporations would possibly put out an RFP for a brand new emblem, however what they really want is constructive publicity and a stable advice on neighborhood initiatives to pursue to generate goodwill. They’re not getting that reply from a proposal.

Who do you belief?

With regards to deciding on a vendor as a accomplice, it isn’t one thing to take evenly. You’re giving an outdoor celebration an outsized affect over your organization. This takes quite a lot of belief that you simply’re placing the enterprise in the precise arms.

Corporations that proceed to depend on RPPs are doing themselves a disservice. The method doesn’t substitute for due diligence when selecting a vendor. The truth is, many proficient and certified distributors merely don’t reply to requests for proposals. In my expertise, they’re a waste of time. I’d reasonably interact with corporations instantly and listen to about their struggles and challenges so we are able to create a customized technique that matches their wants and their funds.

Associated: Degree Up Your Operations With Win-Win Vendor Relationships

Hiring a vendor means getting into a relationship. It needs to be primarily based on quite a lot of components that may’t be gleaned from studying a doc. An RFP will generate proposals for apparent options to textbook issues, not present a option to choose the worth {that a} vendor might add to your enterprise.

There are such a lot of delicate components in play when selecting companions. Corporations which have the most effective outcomes with vendor companions are selecting them primarily based on suitable cultures, in-depth information of their particular industries, and whether or not their core values match up.

A greater method

To search out the precise distributors, speak to extra corporations. Consider them primarily based on their tradition and distinctive abilities and capabilities. A vendor ought to be capable of tailor its providers to fulfill the wants of your enterprise. Ignoring the query of compatibility is a assured path to purchaser’s regret. When your organization wants to hunt a vendor, be proactive:

  • Search for well-regarded distributors with direct expertise in your business
  • Get to know the corporate leaders and familiarize your self with the company tradition and values
  • Do your homework by interviewing their present and previous shoppers
  • Analysis and skim content material created by the distributors
  • Search for distributors talked about in dialogue teams particular to your business

RFPs could also be a conventional method for companies to seek for distributors, however, in my expertise, they’re removed from helpful. Earlier than leaping right into a relationship with a vendor, you want a greater sense of who they’re and what they’ll truly do for your enterprise. Look a bit of deeper to search out the seller you really want, not only a firm that’s nice at filling within the blanks.