The RFP Bugaboo: Too Many Fish in the Pond, but Not a Wide Enough Net?

If you’re a localization buyer or a language services provider (LSP) and you’ve been around for a while, there is a good chance you’ve been pulled into a request for proposal (RFP) or two.

So, how does a buyer prepare for an RFP?

Too often, buyers look only to the vendors who are currently engaged with their company and supplement this list of RFP participants with a handful of others. One of two things may happen in such a case:

  • Either you will only end up including vendors with strong sales and marketing organizations, which is certainly not sufficient evidence that their service delivery is great, or;
  • You will miss out on the opportunity to discover vendors whose specializations, pricing and culture could be ideal fits.

Nimdzi Insights conducted a survey among LSPs to find out how confident LSPs are when responding to RFPs.

Source: Nimdzi Insights

While the majority of LSPs feel neutral about their ability to respond to RFPs, more than a third feel confident in knowing how to respond to them, in order to land the contract.

Some vendors consider themselves experts. They have experienced sales team members who specialize in preparing proposals. Other vendors may not have as much experience and so they feel that they are not well suited to respond with competitive proposals.

It then becomes critical a buyer reaches out to as many LSPs as possible, during the RFP process. Here are a few pointers:

  • Scan directories: Several vendor directories are published annually and can be referenced to get a quick idea of how vendors specialize.
  • Conduct a request for information (RFI): This may be more time and effort that you want to take, but performing an RFI before the RFP will allow you to cast a much wider net prior to preselecting vendors for the RFP. If you publicize the RFI broadly, with some notes on areas of interest, you will likely surface a greater diversity of vendors who are eager, innovative and able.
  • Connecting with other localization professionals: Most buyers are happy to recommend their favorite vendors. Finding buyers in industries similar to yours, or whose requirements are similar in scope and type to yours, is the best approach.

Ours is a wide pond with many fish, so if you’re a buyer, cast a wide enough net to find your partner of choice.

If you wish to learn more about optimizing the RFP process, head to the report available to Nimdzi Partners here.

Nimdzi Finger Food is the bite-sized insight you need to fuel your decision-making today.

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