In today’s episode, we take a hard look at one of the most prominent yet controversial tools used to source promotional products today: the RFP (commonly known as the Request for Proposal).
Like them or hate them, RFPs now define how many end clients source promotional products. At their best, RFPs create a level playing field where the best distributor wins the business. At their worst, they serve as a way for end clients to slice distributor margins to the bone. In my nearly 20 years in the industry, I have not run into a distributor that doesn’t have a strong opinion about the RFP, one way or the other.
As RFPs create so much confusion for distributors, we wanted to dedicate this episode to uncovering why RFPs exist and how to manage them effectively. To help us with this, we wanted to talk to someone who has written countless RFPs and counseled end clients on how to negotiate with their vendors.
Please let us introduce Tom Beaty.
Tom is the founder and CEO of Insight Sourcing Group and SpendHQ. His company works across all industries to provide targeted cost optimization and procurement-related services. Their end deliverables are measurable cost reduction and performance improvement. Tom previously worked for Deloitte Consulting and Procurian (now owned by Accenture). His client roster includes Univision, Johnson Controls, LuLuLemon, LPL Financial to name a few.
Needless to say, Tom brings a fabulous perspective for those of us looking to understand how buyers think.
To provide some industry context, Steve Pons, National Sales Director at Staples Canada, joins us to talk about how he approaches RFPs from the distributor perspective. Steve is a long time friend of Mark's and a past contributor to the PromoKitchen blog.
You are all in for quite a treat today!