monster mash
Illustration: Phil Couzens

Monster Mash

...working in the office late one night, when my eyes beheld an eerie sight

Dust covered invite, cobwebs & crossbones stamp, R.F.P scribbled in black ink.

R.eason F.or P.anic?

Yikes, RFP stands for Request For Proposal, but there will be monsters at this mash.

To those with the attention span of a candy-corn (me included), this ain't just paperwork, so pay attention.

Cost cutting, lay offs and frozen spend budgets, resulted in new profit efficiency with less resources.

Great news you’d think, but with lawsuits, recalls, policy violations and massive fines, compliance, procurement and legal teams have stepped out of the mist and into the light in a big way.

Structured PSLs are eerily applying their chokehold as well.

How to woo this crew of creatures with your proposals & paperwork will make or break us next year.

1. Have the right mindset.

The RF(I,P,Q) is a project on it’s own, your failure to follow it’s parameters, guidelines and format can send you to the black lagoon before you even show a solution.

2. Know the document:

Situation Summary and Background - This is what the client needs done. In here will be some OUTCOMES they hope to achieve. Read it and make sure you can do it.

Administrative Information - Who to talk to about what. Don’t waste time asking technical questions to the admin contact or liability clauses with the techie guy.

Guidelines & Rules - Can you follow our directions? Check all the boxes in the sheet?

Evaluation Factors for Awarding Project - Use this as a checklist, this is your sales strategy.

Statement of Work and Deliverables - Your product/solution based on available information.

3. Know how the monster’s mash and what they focus on, as they don’t always agree and sometimes have conflicting requests.

Mummies, dusty and cob-webby, sometimes known as Legal and Compliance, will focus on liability and risk.

- Ward against them with stable financial statements, insurance policies and globally recognized certifications.

Were-wolves, Sourcing that morphs into Procurement with fur and claws.

Their focus is on spend vs. impact, prestige of your firm (household brands, big blue logos are always better somehow...) or a particular phase of the moon that week. Do not under estimate their pull in the process.

- De-fang them by analyzing your own numbers in advance, prepare examples of cost-savings with your service, benchmarking your fees against competitors.

Frankenstein, the towering IT creation, 2 flash-memory drives sticking out of his neck, topped with wonderful communication skills.

His brain is on outcomes of your technical solution or products, because HIS bonus & new bride depends on it.

- Pacify him with expert input (your SMEs) and hard data from case studies (usually there is a section for this in the proposal). Happy client recommendation letters will come in handy.

The Count, Vampiric Minion, or just call him “Drac”. This vendor manager can drain you, as he has 3 monster masses to feed, all expecting him to reduce spend, increase deliverables and bring company risk to 0.

Focus on what will make him look good to his co-mashers and get him all info he needs about you.

Now everything’s cool and Dracs’ part of the band, offer additional advice, solutions showing your direct experience with clients.

Make sure that you ask for permission to submit this additional value (it may not be the techie contact, or allowed in the document you submit).

Learn how your client's mash, with preparation you're a graveyard smash, without it, just lunch for wolfie.

Resource In Peace.

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