As many of you know, in addition to running TA I'm also an active agent. Late last year a business person I know personally and through LinkedIn contacted me to see if I could help him consolidate 200 phone bills he was receiving at his 38 locations. He'd recently gotten the job of the Director of IT. I told him I certainly could because TA has at least 6 vendor members that specialize in multi-location/POTs consolidation that would likely be interested in earning his business. After going through several boxes of phone bills I determined he was spending over $40,000 per month on the services he wanted to consolidate.
I interviewed my friend a couple of times to determine his most important needs which were:
1. Get just one phone bill . Their monthly phone bill spend was pretty stable but having to handle 200 phone bills a month by an accounting staff not trained to screen phone bills seemed like an improper use of his resources.
2. Have the bills properly reviewed. He inherited the phone and data design when he got the job. To simply authorize payment month after month for telco/data designs he was not involved in creating was easy but maybe not totally proper.
3. Save money. Interestingly enough, saving money for savings sake was not at the top of his agenda. He understood he needed to pay for the services of outside contractors that would invest resources to help him outsource a labor-intensive job. He did not want savings guaranteed, he kind of assumed that if the bills were being properly reviewed and streamlines then savings would naturally and appropriately follow.
So while I've not been involved in a whole lot of multi-location consolidation deals I had a pretty decent idea of how I'd go about getting bids for him. I'd put together a "mini-RFP" (request for proposal) and send it out to all the vendors I thought were experts in the multi-location space. Sending out RFPs though is a tricky business because as most telecom salespeople know, if you're not involved in writing the RFP, your chances of winning it are pretty low.
So how do I get six or more TA vendors to bid on an RFP? Offer them a shot at editing the final RFP. Following is the "totally neutral" RFP I created based on interviewing the client a couple times. (I honestly couldn't "spin it" if I wanted to because I've not been involved in closing alot of these deals.)
This mini or "Starter RFP" is being provided to TA's vendors that specialize in multi-location consolidation with the invitation to help upgrade its neutrality or even "spin it" in their direction. Part of knowing how to write a good RFP is knowing how to spot "spin" or how to add it.
If you're a TA member or vendor with expertise in multi-location and POTs consolidation, and you've got a good upgrade or "recommended spin" to this RFP above, please share it with a comment below and we'll be sure and give you 15 minutes of fame.