Why we don’t bother with Consultant based RFPs
First let me briefly explain what an RFP is for those who may not know:
A request for proposal (RFP) is a solicitation made often through a bidding process, by an agency or company interested in procurement of a commodity, service or valuable asset, to potential suppliers to submit business proposals. It is submitted early in the procurement cycle, either at the preliminary study, or procurement stage.
We get offered every month to participate in Request for Proposals, aka RFPs. Every time we respectfully decline them and we never look back. To our amazement (still after all these years) every time we decline to participate the consultant, prospects, manufacturers and competition seem surprised that we chose not to pursue the opportunity.
Should any of our manufacturers be reading this please cover your eyes from here on out…
The reality is that all this information about what we do and what we sell is available to an educated consumer due to this brilliant invention called the internet, thanks to Al Gore. You can find information about the products we represent on our corporate site www.ct-pros.com
or our competitions' or the manufacturers' sites. All these sites will tell you “It’s the best platform” or “We are the best” etc., etc…
The key term to recognize in the definition of RFP, is the word commodity. Those who participate in RFPs are in a practice of selling commodities. Those companies chasing the RFPs are also the same companies who are starting to decline in a quickly changing yet emerging world of Unified Communications (UC).
To us, our vast experience and “our”
commitment to consulting the prospects/clients is what we sell. At Converged our value is us and what we do for you. Not the shiny new product we happen to represent. The products available are all very similar and UC is evolving
so quickly it’s no longer about features, functions, benefits as much as it is about other important tangibles that you can’t gain from a simple “proposal”.
In today’s age hiring a consultant to help you choose a platform is like taking a personal shopper with you to the grocery store to purchase all your ingredients for a delicious 5-Star recipe. Once you get the ingredients now what do you do? The magic is in how it’s prepared. Instead of the shopper you should be consulting with the 5-Star Chef who will do it all start to finish.
Paying someone to do a fourth of the work for you is really never a good idea. Especially now with all the information available at your fingertips. Take the time, educate yourself and vet the organization you are letting into your business. Make them educate you and make them earn your business! Telecom providers putting together a proposal takes as much skill as doing a book report with cliff notes. In our opinion, should you be in the market for purchasing a commodity then by all means put out an RFP and hire a consultant. However if you’re in the market to truly get a solution designed properly and implemented by professionals do your homework and bring in the professionals who do the entire project and consult.
About the Author:
Joe Rittenhouse is the President of Business Development and a managing partner of Converged Technology Professionals Inc.
His expertise is in business consulting/therapy specializing specifically in VOIP, Cloud Services, and Contact Centers. Joe’s experience in the IT demographic encompasses over two decades. Outside of work, Joe is a Husband and father of four. Joe is also a self-proclaimed seasoned tour veteran of the Grateful Dead.