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Do you guys hate RFPs as much as I do

So my company has been getting a ton of RFPs lately and I get that it’s a larger business practice to go through this but it seems like each RFP I have done they’re just sending it out to remain in compliance with their dumb internal rule and never had intent of giving you a shot anyway. Any feedback from other savages on this?

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24
Incognito
Arsonist
+9
Master of Disaster
Terrible ROI
funcoupons
WR Officer
+11
Kahluapons
Agreed. If a prospect only accepts RFPs at certain times and I know ten other companies are going to quote I don't even bother. 
Incognito
Arsonist
+9
Master of Disaster
I feel like we would know this better than anyone @funcoupons 😂
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nomdeguerre
Valued Contributor
+5
VP of Channel Partner Sales
If you don't have an existing relationship with the account and have been talking to them prior to receiving the RFP, then it is a complete waste of time. Someone has helped them define the requirements for the RFP and if it is not you, you have extremely low chances of winning the business. The only exception would be if you have a relationship with the client and are able to reset prior to answering the RFP, and redirection the requirements in your favor. If not just bail on it, no matter how painful that is.

On the other hand, if you have an existing relationship, are aware before hand that the RFP is coming out and even have helped in defining the requirements of the RFP. In this case RFPs are great, because you would already have structured the requirements in your favor and you should have an excellent chance of winning, while seeing everybody else struggling ;-)
CCP
Opinionated
+5
VP, Business Development
I should've read this response prior to commenting. You basically said the same thing I did haha
TheSolicitorGeneral
Politicker
+5
Small Market AE
I think everyone sucks at RFPs lol I know we do
SaaSsy
Politicker
+2
Sales Executive
They sure do suck! If you have any relationship already, be up front like “hey we don’t win busines from RFPs and here’s why...”, and try to get some facetime. Some buyers will understand it’s outdated and buying solely for functionality right now won’t get them a long term partner.
Justatitle
Politicker
+7
Senior AE
That’s the thing most often it’s a completely random company submitting it and I spend 4 hours doing it to be told we weren’t selected… well fuck me 
Incognito
Arsonist
+9
Master of Disaster
4 hours?!?? That’s it?!?? Omg try 4 months!!!
Show 2 more replies
sm
smaron
Old School Bravo
+1
Director
RFPs, in my mind, removes the value a SME / seasoned sales professional can bring to the buying and decision process. Often this is the rooted in a person/department's fear of being "sold." They use the RFP as way to distance their judgement and culpability from a buying decision. Or it is unfairly skewed to confirm the belief that one provider / solution is best. Then sometimes it is a tool procurement uses to beat up your pricing model. Lastly, it almost always implies a competitive scenario. I pass on RFIs unless the organization requires a response. One man's opinion. 
CCP
Opinionated
+5
VP, Business Development
If you don't know that you've won the RFP when you submit it, its because you lost. Some companies need to go to market but if you wrote/influenced the RFP before its sent out, its worth it. If not, I wouldn't bother unless its a really attractive long-term play and its worth putting in a losing bid just for visibility for the next round. 
LordOfWar
Politicker
+6
Director
I fucking hate them and it is how we get most of our business (government bids).

My new trick is to get in front of the tech team way ahead of procurement demand and try to get stuff spec'd that is unique to our company/capabilities.
Stratifyz
Opinionated
+8
Business Development Rep
My AE is a little salty over this too - rightfully so. I had a top 10 account within a state on the hook and she dropped the RFP on me.
Justatitle
Politicker
+7
Senior AE
Tell her to go bite the curb outside and you’ll be out soon to finish the job
GDO
Politicker
+6
BDM
Damn, that´s a good insult!
Cleopatra
Opinionated
+3
Regional Sales Executive
Huge time suck! And a dangely ol’ carrot.
Smithy
Politicker
+4
Director of Sales
I hate RFPs abs like you say, lots of companies sending out for compliance with no intention of changing providers. 
GDO
Politicker
+6
BDM
They suck if the RFP comes in without a relationship. You need to be connected when they are writing the RFP, that´s key! 
ColdCall
Opinionated
+1
Business Development Manager
I enjoy this! It means they're serious. However, responding to an RFP that you don't know about probably means you will not win it. Every time I deal with procurement I instigate it, and try and stay in control as much as possible. 

Also, some companies have whole teams doing this. If its just a Sales Person responding, something is missing. You should also be able to recycle answers from each RFP to RFP. 

We've done very well with them and have a 100% hit rate with all RFP's. We work selling to Public Sector so its a given, but important part of doing biz. 

Current deal I'm working on has triggered an RFP to other companies, even though they want our solution. 
Sgt_Trollingham
Valued Contributor
+5
Business Development Director
I always see if I can engage with the procurement team on some level. Not that interested in writing a load of answers for a large RFP if they already have a vendor selected, and the RFP is a formality. That being said, we do win about 30-50% of the ones we enter.
EQSales
Good Citizen
+1
VP of Sales

TLDR: if you weren't expecting the RFP and sell something remotely complex, just run.  its a waste of time

in 15 years as an IC and a leader I have seen hundreds of RFPs.  I have NEVER personally seen or even heard of someone winning a RFP they weren't expecting.

to your point about internal policies, needing to look at at least X number of vendors.  We call this "column fodder"- you are basically used as a check box and if anything, for pricing leverage with their preferred vendor for the Bid

totally diff story if you helped drive and craft the success criteria in your favor, but they have to send RFP to other vendors.  its annoying, slows things down and introduces risk, but you should win those every time


Broncosfan
Politicker
+5
Account Manager
I work in staffing and it's more commonplace for them to award multiple vendors so I'm ok with them. You need to have a team around it that's experienced in creating proposals to the correct specifications and information such as references readily available to be effective in RFP responses.
Justatitle
Politicker
+7
Senior AE
Yeah this is a different case but still an annoyance
dryspongebob
Opinionated
+2
Business Development Manager
If the RFP is their first interaction with my team and I, I tell my folks not to spend too much time on the deal. What I found with these processes is that if a lead hasn't had any conversation with us before sending the RFP, it likely means that their Procurement department has a rule that requires them to have them for at least three vendors before choosing one, but in reality they've already picked who they're buying from.
DonDraper
Politicker
+4
National Sales Manager
Really depends on the type of business you are dealing with. Are you seeing a trend for companies to go the RFP route to get a better deal? Or is this simply the industry you are in? But yes to answer your question I hate it too.
MrsTechSales
Politicker
+9
Midwest Market Manager
Only RFP I respond to is one I wrote. Otherwise, (to quote the eloquent Randy Jackson) It's a no from me Dawg. 
Justatitle
Politicker
+7
Senior AE
I concur!
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