Wednesday, 25 March 2015

From Compliance Course to Campaign Part 3 – Getting outside help

If you haven’t read this series to date it may be worthwhile doing so in order to set the context for this post…

Once I’d won the SMEs over (I’m still pinching myself to be honest) I invited 3 x local vendors to come and meet with me to discuss my idea and to see if they would be interested in participating in the procurement process. This was a huge advantage for both sides as it:

allowed me to sense check my ideas and proposed approachprovided the vendors with an opportunity to take a brief look around my organisation, observe some of the resources and channels that we currently use (and may well use to communicate the campaign resources) and ascertain whether they felt we could work together.

I’m pleased to say that at this stage all 3 vendors were keen to work with us and all of them commented on how refreshing it was to see a traditional subject such as compliance training having a radically different approach taken to it.

Having previously worked as a vendor I understood the complications and ‘quirks’ that can be associated with a tender process, so I was very keen (from both perspectives) to own a process that was as transparent, fair and simple as possible. Rather than wrestle with (or expect others to) the typical procurement portals that are often the bane of a vendors life I decided to use Google Docs (I can’t get into the habit of calling it Google Drive) to write and communicate my Request for Proposal (RfP) through.

This had the advantage of being:

freesimple to usemobile friendlyable to allow each of the vendors to ask any questions ‘within’ the document, thus negating the need for a procurement portal and allowing each of the vendors to see each others questions – and of course my responses – thus keeping the process as fair and transparent as possible.

Several of the vendors said that they seldom saw GDocs being used in this way and were welcoming of the approach.

In terms of what I included in my RfP I used a great deal of the advice contained in this post from Stephanie Dedhar along with my own previous experience as a vendor

Once I’d released the GDoc RfP I set up a f2f meeting at our offices to:

allow each of the vendors to come inask further questions in an open forumand also to provide them with another opportunity to look at some of our existing comms channels etc.

Again, the feedback I got from this was very positive with one of the vendors saying that it helped to confirm their interpretation of the RfP and removed any ambiguity.

At that point I:

sat backanswered questionsarranged some access to some of our portalsconducted a few Adobe Connect session to explain our internal collaborative platform to some of the vendorswaited…..

I did learn some lessons along the way with this approach, here they are:

Get your potential providers in early, way before you write the RfP – the conversation will inevitably help you shape your thinking.No matter how long you provide people with the opportunity to respond, somebody will be late.Include a ‘please let us know if you intend to submit a proposal by xyz date’ request. I didn’t, and as a result had a vendor drop out with only 1 week to go until final submission, despite having the best part of 2 months visibility of the project scope!!!

Keep on reading this series of posts to discover what happened after we’d received the proposals and what I’m calling the ‘end of the beginning‘

If you’d like to discuss how we may be able to work together to bring about a fundamental change in the way your organisation delivers its mandatory training or would like to advise on how you can maximise the effectiveness of your next tender process then please get in touch.

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