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No RFPs Publication

No RFPs Publication

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Published by Chuck Sink
Thought provoking article on why RFPs are a waste of time for the best in the business and the top 10 elements of becoming the best in your category.
Thought provoking article on why RFPs are a waste of time for the best in the business and the top 10 elements of becoming the best in your category.

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Published by: Chuck Sink on Jan 16, 2011
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01/16/2011

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No RFPs  The Pinnacle of Brand and Sales Success
By Chuck Sink
 
Formal Requests for Proposal (RFPs) consume, and I would argue, waste large amounts of time and human energy for both the issuing and responding organizations. The amount of irrelevant data and information that make up the µcriteria¶ for submission, let aloneselection, can be disheartening and drain productivity.Clearly this isn¶t always the case. In fact, I recently responded to a wonderfully clear andconcise RFP that was fewer than 3 pages. In some cases, however, RFPs are just required ³due diligence´ on the part of the client organization with a clear frontrunner alreadyidentified. It isn¶t supposed to be that way but bureaucracy and human nature often dictatethat it is.All of the lost opportunity risk is borne by the responding organizations that in some caseshave little chance of winning the contract. Several days of internal as well as externalresearch and professional copy writing go into major proposals and there is nocompensation for those copious hours of hard work. The more proposals submitted, thelower the odds are of winning the job (unless you¶re that clear frontrunner). When you don¶twin, you better learn something valuable because those hours and opportunity costs arelost forever to the competition.I need to temper this notion by stating that there is nothing inherently wrong with RFPs.They are usually necessary when there is no clear choice in a given marketplace. Competingfor and winning contracts from formal RFPs have fueled the growth of many companies andwe always respond to those RFPs that we consider a good fit for us.It¶s the cost of doing business« unless« unless your brand and relationships are so strongthat a CEO simply calls you in to do business, forfeiting the whole RFP process. Think aboutthat! It happens all the time.If, for example, you or your CEO decides your entire sales force would be more productiveusing iPhones than Blackberries, cell phones, or other devices, will RFPs go out to multiplewireless providers to compare solutions? No, because it would be a waste of time andmoney. The only consideration would be the budget and that would entail a soft negotiationinstead of a proposal process. In this scenario, Apple (iPhone) has reached the pinnacle of product branding success.Another example would be hiring an architect firm that an owner or developer
wants
todesign his next project. Based on the architect¶s brand, style, reputation and perhapsrelationship, no RFP is needed ± a negotiation session perhaps, but no RFP. You may bethinking about customer loyalty here and you¶d be right to link branding, sales, service andrelationships with customer loyalty. These elements are integral to enduring businesssuccess.I¶ve experienced such rosy situations in my own business. By remaining in contact with ourdesired prospects in a valuable way consistently, some clients have pre-identified us as thechosen partner to provide the best communication services for them. We hold focusedproductive discussions and start doing business. A contract is usually executed but price isnot a barrier because of earned trust. This kind of relationship is mutually more profitableand enjoyable. When less time, effort and money are wasted chasing low probability sales

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