What SNL Taught Us About Thanksgiving... and Better Proposal Formats
If we're honest, we'll admit that holidays can be... hard.
The best, and worst, part of the festivities is they give us extra time time to connect with family and friends. The downside of course, is that miscommunication, differing opinions, and unmet expectations, are all bound to happen.
Sounds a lot like the RFP process.
Luckily, a hilarious SNL (Saturday Night Live) skit recently went viral that's given us newfound hope not only for less-awkward holiday dinners, but for RFPs in general.
A Thanksgiving miracle
In the skit, the pleasant (even idyllic) family thanksgiving dinner quickly turns ugly as people's strong opinions and racist/ignorant/transphobic biases surface.
The situation seems unsavable, but then the young girl turns on some music. Adele's soothing dulcet tones fills the air, and instantly, everyone is bonded by their mutual love of her music.
The scene develops into a highly entertaining parody of Adele's latest music video Hello, featuring everyone dramatically lip syncing and holding hands. (Well worth the less-than-4-minute watch).
So what does this have to do with a better proposal format?
The video (comically) demonstrates that shared strong emotions creates common ground with people who are very different from us.
Good news for those dealing with RFPs. Because all of us share one particularly strong emotion: hatred.
What Buyers hate:
- Vague proposals, and jargon of any kind
- Uncommunicative vendors (won't provide requested details)
- Endless Excel documents (manual computation and scoring)
- Not being able to easily compare options side-by-side
- Lack of real-time access to current vendor information (outdated vendor profiles)
- Important data lost in a sea of thick binders
- infinite emails and meetings to communicate with stakeholders
- Too much "process"
What Vendors hate:
- Generic & irrelevant RFPs (waste of time)
- Limited proposal formats (doesn't let them attach/showcase key materials)
- Questions that paint them into a corner (Yes/No questions that are too specific)
- Spending hours answering the same questions over and over, only to loose anyway
- Waiting for SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) to contribute their answers
- FexEx lines (because they're required to send paper copies rather than digital)
- Being treated as "disposable" rather than as true partners
- Too much admin
Sound familiar? The time has come for our antagonism to stop pulling us apart, and instead, bring us together.
An RFP process miracle
We've explored several tips for avoiding these aggravations. How proposal software can help writers leverage and reuse past content, and track just how much time they're saving on their RFP response. How Buyers can overcome the most common RFP pitfalls, and ask vendors questions that get them the answers they need.
But improving our isolated processes isn't enough. It's time to connect over our shared angst and decide to join forces.
As an industry, let's agree to work towards the common goal of streamlining the process (for everyone).
A better proposal format means begins with a system that makes everyone's life easier.
It's time to take a lesson from SNL and forget our differences - whether we're the one sending or scribbling the proposal, and look at what we share.
Our common ground is this: the RFP process is an investment for all involved, and everyone is frustrated by traditional proposal management.
So let's make it more efficient - for everyone.