Even the best CPG team will need specialist support from outside to be more effective at driving their business forward. For CPGs, this often means selecting digital shelf analytics software providers, but this isn't easy. We've summarized how to make the request for proposal (RFP) process as smooth as possible including a free checklist.
Read on to learn:
A request for proposal (RFP) is a document that companies send out to vendors describing the business area they need help with in this case digital shelf analytics.
In a best case scenario this RFP document explains what exactly the company is looking for, the timeline and the contract terms bidders can expect. A well-prepared request for proposal enables potential business partners to create informative proposal documents that in turn allows you to make a confident decision on who you want to hire.
Without an RFP you’d be spending incredibly long hours searching the internet for what you believe are good software providers to choose from. However, with an RFP you encourage vendors to pitch their offer to you. For this it is important to a) have written a succinct RFP and b) have identified a smooth internal selection process and approach.
From our experience working with large multinational CPGs there’s no bidding process without a request for proposal especially for software that’s intended to be used across functions and markets.
The best part of the RFP? You’ll get a great variety of perspectives on the outline of your requirements before committing to anything. As the vendors are likely to include their proposed plan of action when bidding for the contract, you’ll be able to glean the type of company culture that’s behind the proposal, too. After all, it’s about the perfect fit when selecting a software solution for your teams.
In consumer product goods companies RFPs are often mandated by procurement and legal departments. Understandably as the process involves a significant investment. Here’s how to best streamline your approach to support due diligence:
Simply put: expect a fair amount of product demonstrations, calls and emails. Key to any RFP process is that you budget enough time for the proposal reviews, digital shelf analytics platform demonstrations and selection discussions with internal stakeholders.
Naturally, there will be some degree of communication with the vendors that you’re narrowing down, but, all in all, you should plan around a total of three months from launching the RFP to compliance to your company’s requirements to signing of the contract.
“Take the time upfront to ensure internal alignment across the business and stakeholders. This will enable a much smoother process allowing vendors to be responding to a specific brief with clarity on your objectives and requirements. The more specific you can be the easier it will be to benchmark different vendor solutions and cost models. The worst case for an RFP process is the inability to compare across different vendor responses because the brief wasn’t sufficiently detailed and clear.” Jo Campbell, VP of Operations
What else to expect?
Lastly: practice as much transparency with potential partners as you do with internal stakeholders. It may not be easy, but ideally you’ve thought out the request for proposal process in a way that you can come to concluding decisions about the vendor 2-3 weeks post demonstration calls.
Here are the key steps to follow when developing your RFP:
“Managing change and adoption of new technologies across the organization is critical for its success. Working with internal stakeholders is paramount during our onboarding phase. If a brand doesn’t have a change management team in place we aim to support the identification of project owners to help influence the successful deployment of our software and support service.” Cheryl Haggerty, VP Customer Success e.fundamentals
As you’re looking back on weeks of selecting possible digital shelf analytics vendors to partner with you may fall short of one key aspect: driving the adoption within the frontline teams and ideally the entire organization. So what to do?
These are the top practices we suggest you keep in mind once you’re close or have chosen your software vendor. And if you do only one thing: keep communicating. You’ll be surprised how much ongoing updates about the selection process and deployment plans are valued and supportive to the goal of sound implementation.
Finally: some CPG companies, often large multinationals, have legacy processes that over time have also created an impediment to change. However, running an RFP for a digital shelf analytics provider like e.fundamentals allows you to drive a culture of change across the organization that will set you apart from the competition. In order to drive ecommerce growth at speed and scale, you must be prepared to experiment, innovate and fail fast to learn what works.
We're helping world-leading brands grow at speed and scale on the digital shelf. Invite us to your RFP or simply take a look at what we do. We’d be delighted if you’d book a demo with us today or Contact Us today to discuss your Digital Shelf requirements.
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