The Request For Proposal (RFP) process is not always straightforward but if managed properly will produce a successful outcome. As the result, you will find the best solution that meets the requirements that you clarified at the beginning of the RFP process.
On March 17th 2021 in a webinar called 'Maximising the RFP process - A Treasury's guide to success' Anna-Lisa Natchev from Nomentia, a Finnish best-of-breed cash management SaaS solution provider for finance and treasury, and David Kelin, DNA Treasury Ltd, explored how to make the RFP process a success for both parties and they discussed why traditional RFPs are not the way to success. Traditional RFPs are lengthy documents covering just about any requirements, features, and more that may or may not be needed. RFPs based on this technique are time-consuming to create, answer, and review.
Choose your RFP questions wisely
During the session, Anna-Lisa pointed out that when it comes to creating the RFP questions, you should ask yourself whether all the questions are really necessary?
If the vendor’s answer to the question won’t make a difference in the selection process, then you should not ask it.
This simple rule of thumb should keep you in check and make the RFP more relevant to the business.
Basics of the RFP process
The basics of any RFP are the following:
- Determine your needs clearly.
- Write the document, ensuring that you have input from all relevant stakeholders.
- Shortlist the vendors. Before the RFP, you may want to run a Request For Information (RFI) process first to produce the shortlist.
- Once you received the RFPs from the vendors, evaluate the responses based on agreed criteria, meet the responders and make sure you have a demo of the system using your own data. Then make the final selection.
The number of vendors who are sent the RFP should be as few as possible so you are saving valuable time and you can focus on finding the right solution.
Make sure the stakeholders can ask questions during the RFP process
The basis of a good RFP is to prepare well before you start the writing. You should make sure that all stakeholders have an opportunity to ask questions which are relevant to their areas of interest so that they can provide you with useful answers. Be realistic in your goals and don’t look for everything immediately - create a “must-have” list and a “nice to have” list and place more emphasis on the “must-haves”. You could also explain what your future strategy is going to be and ask the vendors for their help in achieving your goals. Crucially, you should be prepared to use the RFP process as an opportunity for improving your existing processes. See it as an exercise in a catalyst for change.
Nomentia’s tips on the RFP process
Anna-Lisa gave some excellent insights on how Nomentia tackles the RFP process. They want to engage with their clients even during the RFP process to provide them with the best possible answers that can help the evaluation process immensely. Anna-Lisa also suggested that vendors should be honest to themselves: if you feel like you couldn’t serve the prospect well with your solution, do not reply to the RFP, save the time both this way. This seems an admirable position to take and one which is refreshingly respectable.
The takeaway from this session is that the RFP process should be viewed as a collaborative exercise requiring openness from both parties so that in the end the system or service that best fits the client’s needs is chosen.
Do you want to learn more about Nomentia? Watch the on-demand webinar on bank connectivity: