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Monday, December 08, 2008

Here's a question: if you read about a RFP in the trade press, is it a hot lead or simply old news?

I know there are many agencies who spend most of their time reading the trade press and sifting for intelligence on RFP's, tenders, etc. In many cases it's simply because they're afraid to pick up the phone and do some real work :-)

Once they see that XYZ plc is going to be tendering, guess what, they're straight on the phone.

Now, whilst the trade press can be useful for some intelligence, in my experience chasing RFP announcements is simply a waste of time.

Why? Because if you didn't know it was happening before it hit the press then you're just too late.

A senior executive of an FTSE 100 company put it to me like this: "once the word gets out, there's blood in the water and suddenly your boat's being circled by hundreds of sharks."

He was referring to management consultants, but it's applicable to any professional services.

I was recently asked to call a company after an article was published saying they were looking for new agencies. My client presented this as a hot lead. OK, I thought, let's give it a go.

So, I called the contact and he tells me, very politely actually, that he'd already been called by hundreds of agencies off the back of that article and, in fact, the article was incorrect - they had no requirements. So many agencies called them that they published a news release on their website saying that the article was inaccurate and called for the publication to retract it.

The thing that amazed me was that so many agencies had followed up this lead.

To me, one of the ways we add value is by prospecting for business before it becomes public. If we can put you in-front of an opportunity before it gets to a RFP or tender, then you are able to influence the brief.

Frankly, if you come in late to the party then you're really just there to make up the numbers.

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Posted by: David Regler @ 2:07 pm |   | Links to this post  

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