Acquiring clients can be difficult. Retaining them is even more difficult. This blog will give you some tips on how to retain your clients from a procurement perspective. When it comes to keeping a client, it will take more effort, time and attention on your part a sales representative.
PROCUREMENT vs SALES
Procurement and Sales have a lot in common.
- Procurement has savings goals/Sales has revenue goals;
- Procurement builds relationship with its internal business client/Sales builds relationships with its client;
- Procurement has service level objectives/Sales has service level objectives;
- Procurement and Sales both aim to add value to the client.
WHAT DO CLIENTS WANT?
What do clients really want in a vendor? They want their vendors to bring more value. They want strong partnerships in order to get the assistance that they need, when they need it. It’s not just about the lowest price anymore. It’s about the quality of products/services, sharing operational risk, being responsive and taking care of the day to day business issues that arise. Clients want their vendors to be innovative and to recommend continuous improvements that could potentially save them time and money. It’s a lot to ask for but they’re the client!
HOW TO BE A BETTER PARTNER
Here are some ideas on how to be a better partner:
- Don’t hesitate to ask your client to forward their Procurement Policy. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with their procurement standards including going to market after a specified number of years.
- Know your stakeholders and their specific business need.
- Know the provisions in your contract.
- Ensure you communicate regularly with your client and conduct Business Review Meetings.
- Respond promptly to issues/requests and try to resolve as quickly as possible. Keep the client apprised of the progress of the issue to avoid escalations.
- Make regular recommendations for continuous process improvements and innovation. Clients are looking for opportunities to enhance their products/service and rely on the vendor for ideas and solutions that will save money and reduce risk.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR AN RFP
If you are a current service provider and you’ve been doing everything as outlined above in “How to be a Better Partner”, then you should have confidence in retaining your client through the RFP process. Remember, as the incumbent, you have an edge over the other vendors participating in this RFP.
- Read the RFP in it’s entirety. Most likely you are not the person preparing the proposal however, you should be a key person contributing to the content of the proposal.
- Adhere to all of the RFP timelines. g. proposal submission date
- Ask questions during the question period. This shows that you are engaged in the process. Keep in mind not to ask questions that may reveal information that only you would know as the incumbent.
- Avoid constant marketing information in your proposal. The evaluation team will skip over this so it’s more valuable if you save it for the presentation stage, if you should be shortlisted.
- Although price is an important part of the evaluation criteria, it’s not always the main factor. If the scoring criteria is not included in the RFP ask the bid administrator what the main drivers of the RFP are.
- Short listed vendors are sometimes asked to conduct a presentation. Ensure you stick to the agenda or whatever the client has asked you to demonstrate in the presentation. If you are the incumbent, don’t show arrogance by not putting effort into your proposal or pitch. The client will notice this behavior and it will not be to your advantage.
I hope you found this article helpful! Contact me for a complimentary 15 minute consultation regarding this article and stay tuned for the next topic by Procurement Management Services Inc.
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