One of the most common refrains from enterprise IT sales reps is, “If we didn’t help write the RFP, they are NOT buying from us. It’s a waste of my time.” The reality is, that you’re guaranteed NOT to win the deal if you never received the RFP from that prospect to begin with. As Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots that you don’t take.”
It is true that some enterprises use RFPs to both meet a requirement from their procurement department to obtain competitive bids and to place their preferred vendor into a de-facto leadership position in the sales process. The fact is though you can still win RFPs even if you didn’t influence their creation – by offering up a stronger security and compliance message. Your sales process needs to have a proactive, stronger security message to differentiate your company.
According to a recent Deloitte global survey of 170 organizations, 87 percent of respondents faced a disruptive incident with third-parties in the last two to three years. The same survey found a similar percentage of acceptance that boards of companies are being held accountable for third party vendor risks.(1)
In regulated industries (e.g. finance , healthcare) the requirement to verify and audit third-party vendor risk becomes even more important with the added regulatory compliance risks of fines and sanctions. Vendor risk is most acute with cloud (SaaS) based service providers where your application design, data handling processes, third party APIs and underlying hosting infrastructure all become potential data leak vectors for your end customer. Compliance and InfoSec teams often can and will veto deals that don’t comply with their compliance standards or security requirements.
While compliance can stop an evaluation, it can also help enable it. The sooner you positively and effectively engage the client’s InfoSec and Risk teams in the sales process, the better. You can take these proactive steps to improve your chances for closing a deal:
You don’t need to take a passive or defensive role in your customer’s due diligence process. Better preparation and active engagement will help you win more deals. Here is some final guidance to RFP response success: