BTM global CEO Tom Schoen explains that it may be time for retailers to revamp and rethink the RFP procedure, peculiarly as many are embracing and deploying rising applied sciences right through the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
As all of us proceed adapting in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are able to use this time to take skills of latest opportunities. the most strategic agents are specializing in alterations equivalent to expertise enhancements or more advantageous e-commerce choices that put them in a better position to weather challenging times and serve loyal purchasers.
if you’re on account that a know-how implementation or improve project, choosing the most effective gadget integrator or implementation associate is among the most essential choices you’ll make.
besides the fact that children, the RFP system for determining a associate has lagged considerably. For essentially the most half, the retail trade’s RFP method hasn’t evolved with the times. consequently, groups possibility now not finding the highest quality accomplice for his or her task.
in keeping with my decades of experience, right here are a couple of things I motivate marketers to rethink if they want to objectively discover the most reliable accomplice for a expertise mission.
manage the RFP procedure yourself
it’s now not exotic to rent an out of doors consultant to manage the RFP system. actually, it appears like an efficient solution to outsource the work to somebody who’s achieved it before.
The issue is that the majority consultancies have particular relationships with definite implementation companions, and those relationships can have an impact on who responds to the RFP. This usually is never a deliberate determination on the advisor’s half; it’s simply a simple undeniable fact that they have got closer relationships with some agencies more than others and should suppose of them first when attempting to find respondents. however because the retailer/customer, you need the most fulfilling options to make a choice from – not just those who know the RFP advisor.
To get a greater aim suite of candidates, manage the RFP method with an internal team. talk along with your expertise supplier so that you have an excellent realizing of the undertaking scope, put together your checklist of requirements, and begin the search for the correct fit. Ask your vendor for referrals, or contact other agencies that have applied the same solution and ask about their companions. in case you come to a decision to work with a specialist on the RFP procedure anyway, make sure to deliver governance of the method, ask questions on their technique, and bear in mind why certain partners were chosen to reply.
Separate the product search from the partner search
This suggestion should be would becould very well be somewhat controversial, but I believe a retailer will locate the most advantageous implementation companion for their needs if they separate the companion search from the expertise search. In different phrases, select your companion yourself as opposed to handiest counting on the tech dealer to opt for one for you. simplest that you can decide whose skillset and lifestyle are the superior fit on your crew.
despite the fact that the tech dealer suggests an implementation companion on your venture, agree with going via a vetting method anyway. if you are owned by way of a challenge capital enterprise that relies on the identical set of implementation partners, additionally go through a vetting manner with different selections in case you can. This method would encompass assembly with skills partners, getting a superb realizing of their crew’s background and retail journey, and, if possible, touring the associate’s places of work to check their management and tradition. gain knowledge of about the company’s possession structure and how or not it’s run, and how a great deal “epidermis in the video game” they have within the success of your assignment. In different phrases, is your work massive to them or will you suppose like a cog within the wheel?
Please, please cease sharing RFP solutions
for most RFPs, it’s regular practice to share respondents’ solutions with all different RFP respondents. i am now not certain why here is considered a choicest practice; it just isn’t and here’s why: a possible implementation companion should still freely ask exact inquiries to assist formulate the ultimate method to the client task. When these distinctive questions are shared with rivals, it indicators the rivals to the respondent’s considering or intention. hence, or not it’s a complete disincentive for a accomplice to ask very specific questions because they are worried that the competitors will figure out their approach and use it. The influence is that the responding associate finally ends up making assumptions a few undertaking instead of chance exposing their method to a competitor.
in spite of this, if the questions don’t seem to be shared with each person (ideally, a NDA is in area before the respondents get the RFP), the responding companions can request more particulars with a purpose to put together a more specific thought with out the fear of giving whatever away. here’s additionally extremely beneficial for the retailer, as a result of they can more easily examine which respondents truly knows their stuff.
Go beyond the associate’s references
very few corporations evaluate the features that an implementation partner says they present. Some partners have lots of contractors that can do many different projects, whereas others herald partners to fill in the gaps. despite their size and strategy, ask your abilities implementation companion how lengthy they’ve provided their functions.
furthermore, do your homework when it involves references. do not most effective use the references that the implementation partner offers you: these are at all times going to be stellar referrals! in its place, ask your peers in the event that they have worked with the accomplice or ask your expertise seller for an inventory of shoppers that have labored with the business. Then, contact these consumers. here at BTM, we had a potential client do just that: They called our previous consumers and we failed to even be aware of they have been considering us for a venture! but this kind of detective work displays an unvarnished study what the skills companion does smartly and where it falls brief.
Rethink the RFP method
Many areas of our lives and industry seem to be distinctive right now, and it’s time to rethink company as average. When searching for an implementation associate, it’s in your gold standard hobby to review your assumptions in regards to the RFP method. Create a method that can more advantageous show the strengths and weaknesses of your abilities associate, and greater set up your retail know-how project for success.
Tom Schoen is CEO of BTM global.