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How to Win the High-Stakes RFP Selection Process

by: Sarah Joson

Tuesday, August 6, 2013 | Outsourcing News |

One of the most talked about topics in ISG, or Information Services Group, is locking in on the key driving principles of service providers in Request for Proposal (RFP) selection processes.

Although most think they know what separates them from the rest in high-stakes RPF selection process, they seem to not have a clear understanding as to why they do not get chosen. Clients seek beyond the "table stakes" and asset play. What service providers need to change is how they present themselves. Instead of presenting an umbrella of tools, services and global delivery centers, they should focus on creating solutions which involve clients’ problems, and those are easy to buy.

Info.ISG-One.com cited these five key principles from winning service providers as the most effective forces in RPF processes.    

1. Be concise in describing the problem. The service provider that understands the problem the client is trying to solve will definitely be at the top of the list. It should be able to debunk the jargon, and describe the problem in terms and means universally understandable. This shows how clearly the client’s problems are absorbed and grasped. In order to win, the service provider should display its mastery by including points of missed opportunities and improvement.

2. Establish working knowledge. Being able to showcase the link between the client’s needs and proposed solution is a step headed in the direction of winning the selection. Service providers should clearly recognize and have a clear grasp of the client’s problem and needs, and relate those with their proposed means of improvement and resolution.

3. Be hands-on. Walk the talk, as most would say. The masters of the trade should be the ones executing the solutions they themselves have presented. By doing so, they are showing ownership of the process. The delivery team should be able to narrate and explain the steps as they go along.

4. Create translatable assets. Instead of smothering clients with tools and assets, service providers that know how to lock deals go beyond business jargon such as "continuous improvement" and "centralized demand management".  What they do is transform and modify a number of relevant assets to complement that of the client’s, and come up with a solution that represents a partnership. Nothing is left to the imagination.  

5. Veer from the "hard-sell".  This is not in the vocabulary of winning service providers. Rather than hammering on the client, terms and conditions apt for the business are laid on the table by service providers. This is done by presenting low-start barriers and operating under legitimate working assumptions, distinguishing design frameworks to avoid usual and/or standard solutions. Also, there is request for exclusivity, instead of commitment.

An expert and skillful eye can spot a winning service provider which merges these principles from afar.  More than stating it on paper, it takes practice and effort in designing a solution that meets a client’s needs. A winning service provider isn’t built overnight, so to speak.

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