Why retailers should still rethink the RFP method

BTM global CEO Tom Schoen explains that it may be time for sellers to revamp and rethink the RFP technique, specially as many are embracing and deploying rising technologies all through the continued COVID-19 pandemic.

As all of us continue adapting in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, we can use this time to take expertise of recent alternatives. essentially the most strategic retailers are focusing on alterations comparable to expertise enhancements or better e-commerce offerings that put them in a better position to weather challenging instances and serve loyal valued clientele.

if you’re on account that a expertise implementation or improve venture, selecting the most advantageous system integrator or implementation associate is one of the most vital choices you are going to make.

although, the RFP process for opting for a partner has lagged considerably. For the most part, the retail industry’s RFP system hasn’t developed with the times. due to this fact, organizations possibility no longer discovering the ideal companion for his or her undertaking.

in response to my decades of event, right here are a number of things I inspire retailers to rethink in the event that they are looking to objectively find the top-quality companion for a expertise assignment.

manipulate the RFP technique yourself

it’s not special to appoint an outside consultant to manage the RFP method. actually, it looks like an effective solution to outsource the work to somebody who’s executed it before.

The issue is that almost all consultancies have special relationships with certain implementation companions, and people relationships can have an impact on who responds to the RFP. This usually is rarely a deliberate choice on the consultant’s half; it’s simply an easy proven fact that they’ve nearer relationships with some agencies greater than others and should suppose of them first when looking for respondents. but as the retailer/customer, you desire the choicest alternatives to make a choice from – not just people who know the RFP advisor.

To get a extra aim suite of candidates, control the RFP method with an inside crew. talk along with your expertise supplier so that you have an outstanding understanding of the task scope, put collectively your list of necessities, and start the look for the correct healthy. Ask your seller for referrals, or contact other groups that have carried out the same answer and ask about their companions. in case you make a decision to work with a specialist on the RFP method anyway, be sure to give governance of the manner, ask questions about their manner, and take note why definite companions were chosen to reply.

Separate the product search from the companion search

This recommendation might possibly be a little bit controversial, however I trust a retailer will locate the top-rated implementation companion for their wants in the event that they separate the partner search from the expertise search. In other phrases, opt for your partner your self in place of simplest counting on the tech dealer to select one for you. only that you may come to a decision whose skillset and lifestyle are the most reliable fit to your crew.

even if the tech seller suggests an implementation associate to your task, consider going through a vetting technique anyway. if you are owned by means of a undertaking capital company that relies on the equal set of implementation partners, also move through a vetting method with different selections if you can. This process would encompass meeting with competencies companions, getting a good figuring out of their crew’s history and retail journey, and, if viable, touring the accomplice’s places of work to check their leadership and tradition. study about the business’s ownership structure and the way or not it’s run, and how a great deal “skin in the video game” they’ve in the success of your venture. In other phrases, is your work significant to them or will you consider like a cog in the wheel?

Please, please cease sharing RFP solutions

for most RFPs, it be ordinary apply to share respondents’ answers with all different RFP respondents. i’m now not sure why here’s regarded a choicest follow; it isn’t and right here’s why: a potential implementation partner should still freely ask designated questions to aid formulate the most desirable strategy to the customer undertaking. When those certain questions are shared with competitors, it signals the opponents to the respondent’s thinking or intention. for this reason, it be a complete disincentive for a partner to ask very particular questions as a result of they’re worried that the competitors will work out their method and use it. The effect is that the responding partner ends up making assumptions about a challenge in preference to risk exposing their method to a competitor.

then again, if the questions are not shared with every person (ideally, a NDA is in area before the respondents get the RFP), the responding partners can request more details in an effort to put together a extra selected suggestion without the worry of giving whatever thing away. here is additionally extraordinarily a good idea for the retailer, because they could more quite simply verify which respondents basically is aware of their stuff.

Go beyond the partner’s references

very few businesses evaluate the functions that an implementation companion says they offer. Some companions have a lot of contractors that can do a variety of tasks, while others bring in companions to fill within the gaps. inspite of their size and strategy, ask your knowledge implementation companion how long they’ve provided their capabilities.

in addition, do your homework when it comes to references. don’t handiest use the references that the implementation associate gives you: those are all the time going to be stellar referrals! in its place, ask your friends if they have labored with the associate or ask your know-how vendor for a listing of valued clientele that have labored with the enterprise. Then, contact these consumers. here at BTM, we had a potential customer do exactly that: They referred to as our past customers and we failed to even recognize they have been on account that us for a challenge! but this variety of detective work exhibits an unvarnished examine what the skills companion does well and where it falls brief.

Rethink the RFP procedure

Many areas of our lives and industry look different presently, and it’s time to rethink business as regular. When searching for an implementation partner, or not it’s for your optimum activity to evaluation your assumptions in regards to the RFP technique. Create a method that may greater demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of your skills accomplice, and more suitable installation your retail know-how task for fulfillment.

Tom Schoen is CEO of BTM world.