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Reimagining the B2B Software RFP on Art of Procurement Podcast

Published: September 8, 2023 | Updated: September 13, 2023 | By Chris Mele |

You wouldn't develop software with paint...so why buy software via an outdated RFP process?

Nothing much has changed in the world of RFPs in 2023. Ask 10 software executives how they feel about RFPs and you’ll still likely get 10 bitter answers back. By and large, software sellers still perceive the typical RFP process as disruptive, costly, inequitable…and not a very good way for the buyer to end up with the best software.

For a quick lookback, in part 1 of this interview, Chris & Phil discuss the many challenges with software companies dealing with RFPs including:

  • Why procurement begins the journey with a healthy dose of distrust towards today’s sellers.
  • The desire for procurement to know they are being treated fairly and the role that pricing consistency and your pricing philosophy have to play.
  • How RFP’s disconnect sellers and buyers.
  • Why buying software and other forms of intellectual property are different and not ideal for the RFP process.
  • A long list of seller feedback Chris gathered from CROs and sales executives on the many complaints of the RFP process.
  • And the importance for sellers to be able to transparently describe and defend prices via a strong rationale underpinning to their pricing structure.

In part 2, Chris continues to reimagine the RFP process with Phil Ideson alongside an even longer list of seller complaints.

Listen To The Podcast

Listen to SPP’s Chris Mele on The Art of Procurement podcast

“Many times RFPs become free consulting in disguise for the buyer. It’s no secret that sellers can craft very innovative, creative and thoughtful approaches to really thorny problems. In fact, sometimes we ask questions that reframe a problem in its entirety to solve it in a very different way.”
– Chris Mele

Podcast Highlights

During the podcast, Chris shares a sales perspective on software pricing and the RFP process. Here are some of the discussion highlights:

  • The key additional problems that software sellers have with RFPs and how they impact the buyer:
    • The lack of commitment to proceed and the use of the RFP process to glean free consulting advice from sellers.
    • How the requirement to share all questions asked with all participants can hurt both sellers and buyers.
    • The all-too-often disjointed hand-off from the business to procurement which leaves sellers disjointed and, sometimes, starting over.
    • The limitations on flexibility, creativity and innovative seller problem solving when saddled with processes that overly focus on written communication.
    • The problems of trying to create a level playing field.
    • And more!
  • What a reimagined RFP process might look like if procurement incentives were also realigned from costs savings to achieving business outcomes.

Also, be sure to read How to Utilize Programmatic Pricing when Selling Software to Procurement to learn even more about these topics.

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Chris Mele

About The Author Chris Mele

Chris is Managing Partner for Software Pricing Partners, where he and his team have launched some of the software industry’s most transformative monetization strategies. As a former software company founder and leader, Chris focuses on the impact effective licensing, packaging and pricing strategies can make on the most essential software company metrics: revenue, profit and valuation. Under his leadership, Software Pricing Partners has become an influential voice for growth-oriented software companies both large and small.

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