Filed under: Content management
Tenders are a life-or-death process for most vendors. Either you win jobs, or you don’t. Now, I’ve been spending a lot of time reading tender responses and sitting in on vendor demos recently, and I’ve seen a lot of the same problems arise. They include:
- Written tender responses from vendors that are confusing, or don’t provide the information that is being looked for.
- Written responses that are too long, or too short.
- Pricing information that is incomplete or confusing.
- Demonstrations that are too complex or technical, leaving the audience feeling drained and overwhelmed.
- Vendors who rush through demos, or others who take way too long.
- Demonstrations where the vendor spends the first 30-40 minutes trying to get an internet connection, because they either haven’t explained their needs to the customer, or found another way of running the demo.
- Vendors who fail to follow the instructions laid out for demos.
- Vendors who contact the prospective customer so often that they feel stalked.
A lot of these are very little things, but they can have a big impact upon the customer’s impressions of the vendor.
If I was a CMS vendor…
It strikes me that most vendors aren’t even aware of the impact that these (often small) issues are having on their chances of success. Beyond this, not having a good understanding of customer’s thought processes will always impact upon a vendor’s ability to make a sale.
So, if I was a vendor, I would put in place processes to get feedback on the tendering process, regardless of whether I was successful or unsuccessful. As a starting point, I would create a simple online feedback form, listing all the major aspects of the tendering process (written tender response, demonstration, other communications, clarity of pricing, etc).
This could provide an option for both scored responses, and free text. This would be particularly valuable for larger vendors, who are reliant on having a range of staff (sometimes quite junior) fill in tender responses.
My gut feel is that customers would be very happy to provide some constructive feedback on vendor activities, particularly if they thought it would make someone else’s life easier down the track.
Over time, such feedback would help vendors to tune their tender responses, and to adjust the way they interact with customers. Surely this would be good for both vendors and customers?