Recent Tweets

Follow Me on Twitter

Powered by Twitter Tools

Why an RFI is More Important Than an RFP

As a seasoned sales professional in this industry, I have worked on my fair share of RFP exercises spanning both small and large opportunities across corporate America. It still amazes me that in this world of emojis, texts and Instagram, it takes a monolithic research assignment to choose a business supplier partner. As much as I respect a diligent research process for purchasing any product or service (for both consumers and B2B), I think the industry has taken its eye off the ball when it comes to focusing on the three main reasons to work with a specific partner – Team, Culture and Achievements. Unlike traditional RFIs that seem to ask a range of general questions, focus on these three key areas.


All self-respecting relocation management companies are going to offer the full spectrum of domestic and/or international services needed to service clients. We will all have expense management systems, escalation and exception management processes in place. Trying to narrow the field by eliminating companies who don’t offer a specific service or process will be fruitless. At the end of the day, the success of the program will ultimately lie with the team that is assembled to service the client.

Ask supplier partners to immediately identify the exact team members who will be working on your program including roles, responsibilities and experience. More importantly, ask about the service model and how many layers of management are in place. Although a robust team may look appealing on a staffing chart, getting approvals or information from a chain of command may hinder efficiencies. Look for organizations that have senior-level managers as your daily contacts so that they have the autonomy to make decisions for transferees/assignees instantly and provide responses immediately when you call them for information.


Ask yourself what kind of company do you want to work with?  In our industry, it has traditionally been categorized as, “are you big, medium or small.” However, the devil is in the details. Do their values mirror your company? Are they entrepreneurial or process-driven? Can they help your company meet other corporate goals like environmental, sustainability and supplier diversity? The best partner should not only be the right fit for your relocation/mobility team, but a complimentary solution for your company’s overall goals.


You want to choose a business partner that can confidently and easily show you the difference. In a world of copywriters, dog & pony shows and charismatic sales people, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment. Ask the key questions up front: What have you done recently that significantly made a difference for other clients? Ask them to list 5 examples of program achievements and five references to back up the claims. Ultimately, these are the “differentiators” that all RFPs strive to identify.

In our field, the real “differentiators” are the success stories – not the list of services, technology systems or infrastructure. You should read the achievements and then say, “that’s what I need, that’s who we are looking for.” That’s what a strategic RFI should do. Once you find those 2-3 companies, you can roll out the pricing grids and let procurement do their job with the official RFP process.


Comments are closed.


VP, Client Services

VP of Business Development Northeast Region


Site Tags

| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |