We recognize that some organizations rely on RFPs for evaluating
software purchase options. But we have found that this approach does not
serve the interests of software buyer or seller. Therefore, EchoSpan has
not participate in RFPs. The article below explains why.
RFPs Are Ineffective
While RFPs may be passable for sourcing commodities such as
fuel, apples or nails, they aren't well-suited to sourcing complex
business software and services.
The talent management industry includes dozens of 360-degree feedback solutions. Within that group, there
are large subgroups of companies that vary by product age, customizability, price,
multi-language capabilities, security features, etc.. However, even very detailed RFPs fail to capture each vendor's key differentiators. Instead, a
myopic emphasis is
placed on price and baseline capabilities, thereby preventing higher-quality participants from
communicating their strongest qualities. Our best differentiators--usability,
customizability, scalability and customer service--are not always made easily
apparent in the typical RFP format.
Further, RFPs are not even necessary for gathering price information.
Most credible companies will publish pricing online
(ours is available here), so a
RFP is really only needed for acquiring pricing information from vendors
that hide it. It's a mystery to us why buyers would even consider a vendor
that isn't open with something as simple and essential as the price of its
Finally, RFP responses are bad indicators as to whether or not a software
tool will actually work in the production environment. During the sales process,
vendor sales people are very
good at highlighting portions of an application that "present well" while
glossing over what is obtuse, out-of-date or costs extra. Over the years, we've
won many accounts that resulted from failed RFP selections of competing vendors.
Buyers have come to us seeking our help when the tool they selected originally
"didn't work out."
They Attract Bottom-Feeders
We're not the only company in our industry that avoids RFPs. Most of the
higher-quality vendors in our space do, too, because there are faster, easier
and more meaningful ways to earn new business. This, along with a RFPs drive
to minimize costs, means that many respondents to RFPs are weak companies that
have to compete on price. The buyer is left choosing from a
group of vendors that are at the back of the pack.
They Aren't Real
In many cases, RFPs are sent out to participating vendors after a selection
has already been made. From a respondent's perspective, it's next to impossible
to discern if a RFP presents a legitimate business opportunity, or, exists only
to gather alternate "bids" for the buyer to record. Additionally, some RFPs are issued solely to survey the market and provide intelligence to a
"buyer" that intends to build their own system or negotiate more favorable
pricing from an existing vendor.
We Don't Like to Waste Time
RFPs very rarely result in new business. So, we
choose to spend our time serving our current customers and engaging prospects
that involve us more closely in their decision processes. Add to this
that RFP deadlines are usually unrealistic and that purchase decisions are
usually delayed or abandoned, the chance of winning business from a RFP is
miniscule. This is why RFPs have and always will be the lowest priority sales
activity at EchoSpan.
There Is A Better Way
Based on our more than 14 years in this industry, we've found the best way to evaluate
whether or not software will meet your company's needs is to run a pilot program. By selecting a handful of vendors that meet minimum capability requirements,
a buyer can run a few pilot reviews and assess the viability of a tool more
quickly and completely than reviewing lengthy RFP responses.
EchoSpan will happily provide access to our system at
no cost for the purposes of a pilot project. Other high-quality vendors in our
space will do the same. We'll even provide you introductory training on how to
use the system and support you through your pilot.
So, if you have an interest in learning more about EchoSpan and how
we can help you, contact us. We'll be happy to arrange a demonstration,
answer your questions, set up a pilot program and write a proposal
without any obligation.