Top RFP Process Trends

12/18/12 9:22 AM David Hulsen RFP Responding

 
Since going full-time with RFP365, most of my day is spent chatting with potential customer about their needs. Mainly, their moans and groans. And after countless conversations I've learned a few things. 

The good news is, all you business development (sales/marketing) folks, you are not alone, the biggest RFP industry trend we found is constant frustration and headaches. 
 
Bad news is, the Request for Proposal process continues to be a necessary evil. They say the first step to getting help is admitting you have a problem.
Let's start there, with what isn't working.

 

It's not you, it's the RFP 

Not so long ago, we were huddled in a corner, as frustrated by traditional process as every other Issuer and Responder we knew. 
But once we decided we'd had enough and began scheming about how we would reinvent RFP software, we started by asking everyone what their top complaints were. 
We began by interviewing our friends in the Technology sector (old stomping grounds for both Stuart and I). Then started to taking anyone and everyone who'd ever been part of an Request for Proposal out to lunch or drinks. We met with people in virtually every industry including:
  • Software/Hardware
  • Consulting
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Creative
  • Architecture
  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Financial Services (banking/insurance)
Most recently, I’ve been talking to Not-for-Profit grant writers. I was shocked to find out (personally never having written a grant)  that their process is nearly identical to that of a sales proposal. (Which only increases my respect for the dedication and passion these folks bring to their work). 
We even met with members of the Legal Services community (I’m waiting for the bill to arrive).
But regardless of the sector or expertise, we heard the the same things. Across industries were the same problems. 

 

Top Trends? (Problems)  

#1. We have to do this, but doing it is a nightmare. (Enough said.)

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2. "Scotty we need more power." Our organizations is small, our business is lean. We can't afford to have our whole team spend spend a whole week on a single response. 

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3. Electronic isn't digital. The ‘electronic’  portals used by most organizations aren’t helpful (or truly ‘electronic’). Posting PDFs on a portal doesn’t help Responders create proposals quickly. Nor does it help the Issuers gather responses in an efficient, easy-to-evaluate, manner. 

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4. We need to be in the know. We need to be in the loop about new businesses (especially for those of us in the private sector) and we need to know about new RFPs (or funding sources). 

None of this comes as much of a surprise to those of us who live and breath this stuff every day. The question is: do you have a light at the end of your tunnel? 



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