Why a Man Named Steven is Terrified of the Traditional RFP Process

"People actually FedEx RFPs?"

"Yes." I say. "They ship and/or email ridiculously long files back and worth. Vendors have to try to cut them up and assign writing tasks and sections. Then the Purchasers have to try to make sense of the endless documents and choose a winner." 
 
"Are you serious?" Asks Steven, incredulous as he eats his turkey sandwich.
 
Steven Evans is the newest Developer to join our team. He's never written an RFP or proposal in his life. 
 
I love it when we hire people who are new to the industry, because it means I get to watch their face convulse in horror as I explain how the traditional RFP methods work.
 
But their fresh horror is too good not to share -- especially this close to Halloween.
 
So here for your commiserating pleasure, are 3 of our new hires' reactions as to why traditional RFP processes (like FedEx, email, Microsoft Word & Excel) are so truly horrifying. 
 


#1. Traditional RFP process is "like listening to an 8-track tape instead of iTunes" 


Meet Steve Satterwhite, RFP365 Sales Manager and closet pastel painter
Steve_Satterwhite.jpg

Q1. What has surprised you most about the industry? 

[SSThe RFP process seems to be stuck in the 1970's. I'm shocked by the abundance of industries that refuse to upgrade.
 
The redundancy of using traditional methods is like stubbornly listening to 8-track tapes when all kinds of digital music is available. 
 
Though to be fair, existing software haven't truly helped reinvent the process for the 21st century...until we came along.

Q2. What’s the best of sales advice you’ve ever been given?

[SS] The world changes too fast to hold onto any lasting "sales" advice.
 
But this quote sums up my all-time favorite life advice: "Give the world THE BEST you've got, and the best will come back to you." - Dr. Forrest "Phog" Allen.
 
Q3. What’s your party trick?

[SS] I am a human can opener. I can cleanly bite off the top of a pop can (okay, let's be honest, beer can). I haven't found a good purpose for that "talent" yet though...
 
Not many people know Steve loves to create pastel paintings. We're thinking of commissioning him to make a team "family portrait," stay tuned.
 
 
 

#2. Traditional RFPs are like "using horse & buggy mail delivery instead of email"

 
Meet Rachel Priest - RFP365 Client Success Manager and not-so-amateur chef
Rachel_Priest-1.jpg
Q1. What has surprised you most about the industry?

[RP] What continually amazes me is the different ways our clients use our platform. Many make great use of the Knowledge Base or Libraries, others maintain detailed Vendor Profiles.
 
Most ask eagerly about what client “Best Practices” we’ve seen that we can pass on to them so they can optimize their work. 
 
I’ve also been very surprised by the amount of hours/days/weeks clients say they’d spent preparing their RFPs prior to using our solution.
 
I can’t imagine having to do one the old way ever again! Using a traditional RFP process is like opting for horse and buggy mail delivery instead of sending an email. 

Q2. What’s been your greatest challenge so far?
 
[RP] My biggest challenge is learning the ins and outs of the software.
 
Not only do I have to train others, which requires a deep level of understanding I don’t have just yet, but I also perform QA testing and maintain our documentation on the Help page.
 
Let’s just say I’m never bored.

Q3. What’s the best meal you’d ever had?
 
[RP] I’m a total foodie and a cook, so I’ve been fortunate to have experienced some off the charts meals, but two of my absolute favorites were in Eastern France, in the Lorraine region. (Lorraine is well-known for its cuisine, think Quiche Lorraine). 
 
First, my French colleagues took us to a favorite hole in the wall mom and pop that featured a variety of fondues done with local, in season mushrooms as well as fried potato and ham cakes - incredible. 
 
Our last evening there we ate at L’exselsior, an Art Nouveau gem and my main dish was sauerkraut with house-made sausages and fish in a cream sauce - it was heavenly!
 
Put the Lorraine region of France on your bucket list! You’ll thank me later. 
 
Rachel not only speaks flawless french, but in her two short months here she's already brought us countless treats. 
 
 
 

#3. Traditional RFP process is like "using a telephone book instead of the internet"


Meet Steven Evans - RFP365 Java Developer and wedding troubadour
Stephen_Evans.jpg
 
Q1. What has surprised you most about the industry? 

[SE] I had no idea what an RFP was before I started here.
 
I don't even think I had ever heard anyone talk about them before. So, I was really surprised to learn what a huge role they play for so many companies.
 
I was also very alarmed when I learned that people still deliver hard copies of their proposals to other businesses.
 
That's like using using a paper telephone book instead of the internet. Why would you make it that much harder? I'm just glad that RFP365 came along to put an end to that madness.

Q2. How would you describe the RFP365 office/culture?

[SE] The office is very laid back and fun. Everyone has a good time while they are here, but manages to get a lot of work done at the same time. I don't think I've seen anyone here in a bad mood since I started.
 
Q3. What are you binge watching on Netflix right now?
 
[SE} I actually just started watching Documentary Now! which is a series of short, hilarious "mockumentaries" starring Bill Hader and Fred Armisen. So far, I highly recommend it! 
 
My lunch conversation with Steven is actually what sparked this post. I tried to get him to reenact his utterly horrified expression, but to no avail. (Thank you Gratisography for a much better feature image.)
 
Steven also recently played guitar for the bridal processional at his sister's nuptials. 
  
 
 
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