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The missing link in successful RFQs: A well-thought-out blueprint.

The missing link in successful RFQs: A well-thought-out blueprint.

I've been through many RFQ processes, and they all had one thing in common - the procurement briefs always emphasised value over price. But it never turned out that way, not even once.

To be fair, these RFQs were all about procuring new initiatives - a platform for selling cars, a call centre sales team to support it, insights projects, and so on. These were all new ventures without any previous experience to rely on.

The procurement teams would gather requirements from various departments and piece them together. Just imagine the different demands coming from customer support, e-commerce, and finance teams, all describing what they need from an online sales team they've never had before, for instance. The procurement team would amalgamate all these requirements into a document presented as an "RFP brief". Without any previous point of reference, it would be a mess.

Continuing with the online sales team example, the BPO suppliers would respond with something they feel makes sense, but here's the problem - they wouldn't understand the car business well enough to fill in the gaps from their side and, as a result, their RFP response would be all over the place too.

The RFQ would then end up as a combination of generalised requirements and generalised RFP responses.

A BPO company that wins such a contract would be doomed from the start. High expectations, low chances of delivering it, and because of the price negotiations, no margins left to invest in doing a better job either. Disappointment all around until the contract expires, the failed BPO would be out, and new hopefuls, based on similarly lousy RFP, would enter the next round.

So, what's the solution? It's pretty simple. Plan out the entire future process in detail before beginning to draft any RFPs. Kick off a discovery project and bring in some external experts. Get CX specialists, online selling experts, BPO pros who know how to design call centre teams and processes, technology people, and, of course, your product, sales, marketing, and online experts. Let this team design the customer journeys you need, and then build the supporting structure around it - people, technology, and processes. And then use this as a blueprint for a well-thought-through RFP, which would lead to a much better RFQ.

This project might take a few months and require an initial investment, but you'll recoup these costs even before going live. And afterwards, the value you'll gain will skyrocket. Try it. You might be the first car manufacturer to do it properly, and it'll be worth it.


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