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DecisionDirector: Advantage Everyone

Insights for Vendor Sales and Sales Support Teams

 

When vendor sales and sales support teams decide they should reduce the time, cost, and uncertainty of the sales process – and help their prospects get the solutions they need faster – where do they turn?

 

Since 1997 they have turned to DecisionDirector.

Find out why, and how you can, too.

The typical sales pipeline is a rollercoaster…

 

20% – you pretty much have locked up

20% – is a real, above-board battle, may the best vendor win

20% – your competition seems to have locked up, but you’re still fighting

40% – lack a plan, or lack effective action, and are all frustratingly unpredictable

 

Congratulations on the first 20%. Good luck on the second 20%.

Now, let’s do something about the other 60%.

Sound good?  Let’s see how DecisionDirector can help.

Knowing about DecisionDirector and how it works means that you can strategically recommend DecisionDirector to your prospects. 

For example:

  • Your prospect is struggling and needs help with their RFP.
  • Your competitor is writing the prospect’s RFP.
  • You have limited internal resources for RFP response support.
  • You have a possible sole source opportunity, but a little work is needed to get it done.

Click on the tabs to see how DecisionDirector can help. 

Situation

Your prospect has been talking about getting an RFP out for months, maybe even a year or longer, but they just can’t get it together. They may not have the experience necessary to do this well, or enough resources to do it in a timely fashion, or the money to hire an on-site system selection consultant.

Unless they get traction, you can’t accurately forecast the revenue, and your boss is getting impatient with your inability to move the opportunity along. So are you.

Your Response

Of course, you first offer the prospect your boilerplate RFP. (You probably already did that, months ago, right?) And if that doesn’t get the ball rolling, have them look at us, or let us know and we ill reach out to them.

We absolutely put these projects on rails. They get done in a timely manner, they can be forecast with much greater accuracy, and they are fair and transparent.

Situation

Your prospect is required to go through an RFP, and your competitor is practically writing it for them. You can’t make headway with the prospect, and you see an uphill battle with poor odds of success. It will be tough to convince your VP or director to go to bat for you internally to get the resources needed to respond to the RFP.

What Is Likely True

Some procurement leaders might be ok with a vendor assist on the RFP, but in a high-stakes competitive landscape most would be concerned about a protest and other headaches if they found out what was going on. And the stakeholders (those who will depend upon the new solution to do their jobs for the next 10-15 years) would be very unhappy if they found that they were not really involved in the choice.

Your Response

Have a conversation with the director of procurement about their RFP process. If you don’t like what you hear, suggest that they avoid potential problems down the road by ensuring an impartial and transparent procurement process that makes it possible for all of the stakeholders to be invited and involved.

Encourage them to take a look at DecisionDirector and let us know you did. Send them the link: https://www.advantiv.com/plan2procure/.

Situation

The prospect has announced that they will soon begin to prepare their RFP and hope to have something on the street in 5-6 months, and it’s not going to be based on your boilerplate. It has been a crazy year and your proposal team is slammed. Unless you want to personally cram the responses on your evenings, weekends, over the holidays, and probably 24/7 for the last few days, you need a new plan.

Your Response

First, confirm that your company has stored responses to our baseline requirements in our secure database. You can ask your proposal manager or you can check with us.

If you have responses in our database, then responding to any RFP that comes through DecisionDirector is much faster and easier because so much of the work is already done. Suggest DecisionDirector to your prospect, and you both benefit.

If you don’t yet have responses in our database, then suggest DecisionDIrector to your prospect and get a 5-6 month head start on the RFP by responding to our baseline requirements well before the RFP is released. Ask us how to begin.

Situation

Your prospect is allowed to make a sole source award but requires documentation to verify that the solution you have will meet their needs. The problem is that they haven’t developed any requirements and, therefore, don’t have sufficient supporting detail to justify the award.

Your Response

If your company has response data stored in our secure database, we can provide the prospect with sole source justification reports that are based on your responses to our gold-standard requirements, finely tuned to their type of organization. For instance, if they are a four-year university, we can draw from our projects with four-year institutions. Same if they are a community college or a private school.

They’d have their reports within a day or two, and you’d be in the money shortly thereafter. Win-win, congratulations.

Contact us to get started.

So, how does it all work?

By integrating information, collaboration, and RFP response management, all on the same platform and with a high degree of requirement and response re-use, DecisionDirector streamlines and accelerates every aspect of alignment, planning, procurement, and decision-making.

How It Works

This diagram illustrates the DecisionDirector Plan2Procure planning and procurement process.

With our library of reusable resources such as discussion guides, requirements, and evaluation criteria, and our configurable collaboration facility, our clients are able to rapidly generate organizational alignment (get everyone on board), commitment to outcomes, and confidence in the decision-making process.

We also host the RFP response process, enabling vendors to work as a team and to re-use past responses to streamline the effort.

Information is Power

With our extensive database of baseline requirements, we are able to focus our clients on developing a much smaller set of crucial and truly unique requirements.

And, since many vendors have securely stored their responses to our baseline requirements, they can direct their response efforts to the highest impact items.

See below for what we tell our clients about focusing on outcomes and requirements.

Our Primary Message to Clients Regarding Requirements:

“You focus on outcomes. We have the details covered.”

Focus on Outcomes

DecisionDirector allows you and your organization to focus on the outcomes and requirements that are most important to you, while freeing you from the burden of having to develop from scratch detailed requirements that satisfy everybody.

How?

By leveraging our extensive library of industry-standard requirements and corresponding vendor responses, you can rest assured that we have the details taken care of.

And, importantly, this allows the vendors to focus their valuable resources on what is uniquely important to you.

 

Our Position, Policies, and Practices

We are 100% vendor neutral.

We have no stake in, or benefit in anyway from, a selection outcome.

We never reveal vendor response data without permission from the vendor.

We do not claim ownership of any client, consultant, or vendor data entered into DecisionDirector.

We never sell or otherwise distribute any of the data entered into DecisionDirector.

We have many consulting partners who have integrated DecisionDirector into their planning and selection methodologies, and their baseline requirements and other information into the DecisionDirector database.

Clients are free to use our baseline library or that of their chosen consultant, or a combination of both.

Vendors may establish baseline requirements of their own in DecisionDirector, for clients and prospects that wish to start with those.

We do whatever we can to help clients, consultants, and vendors be successful in using and benefiting from DecisionDirector, but we never provide unfair advantage or share inside information about the projects we support.

We hold all conversations in full confidence and do not discuss or share sensitive or competitive information.

We are committed to creating and supporting the best practices that lead to the best possible outcomes, and therefore are always open to constructive criticisms and suggestions.

Frequently Asked Questions

We have responded to RFPs issued through DecisionDirector for nearly 20 years. Back in the day, we'd consistently have 80-90% of the requirements in a DecisionDirector RFP already answered when the RFP was released, and that was really great. But.... over the past few years that has dropped for some projects to 10%, maybe 20%. What happened and what are you doing about it?

DecisionDirector was created with the goal that 80% of the requirements for any solution in a market-specific RFP could and should be the same across the majority of the RFPs within that market. And, the form of response provided for vendors to complete could and should be sufficiently detailed, stable, and clear so that the answers to those standardized requirements could also be re-used by the vendors that provide them. Our success and that of our clients proved this to be correct.

Starting a few years ago, system selection consultants who used DecisionDirector began to rely more heavily on their own requirements, which they would then customize for each project. Some would also customize the form of response for each project. This had the effect of dramatically reducing, and sometimes completely eliminating, our ability to pre-load vendor RFP response environments.

The good news is that this is starting to change. We have worked closely and emphatically with our consulting partners to revise their approach to requirements to increase the true value to the client and regain the high response pre-load rates we all desire.

Of course, for those projects that we run ourselves, we have maintained the 80-90% pre-load rates.

Why do you have so many requirements in your library? It seems excessive these days, particularly with the rise in cloud-based solutions that cannot be customized.

Great question. We have always believed that details matter, and that there is value in detailed information, especially when it supports major investment decisions.

Detailed requirements and the fit/gap analytics they enable were absolutely essential when software was purchased with the expectation of customizing it, and now the advent of cloud-based solutions has changed that equation.

Today, we and our clients still believe that details matter, but we see detailed requirements taking on a different role. Instead of being the focal point of planning and selection efforts, detailed requirements play an important supporting role. In fact, in our Outcomes-Driven System Selection Stack, we refer to our detailed requirements as Baseline Requirements, and position them as a foundation that allows the client to focus on their uniquely important requirements and outcomes. 

By doing so, clients can move more quickly to what is truly important to them, with the confidence that the details, including vendor responses, are already in the database. They might eliminate those baseline requirements that are not relevant, but they do not modify the baseline requirements that remain.

This means that the re-use rate of past responses can be as high as 100%, which allows the vendors to focus on the uniquely important client requirements and the clients to still have a highly-detailed view of the vendor’s capabilities and gaps.

And, this allows the client project team to instill confidence and transparency in the process, which goes a long way to gaining the alignment and support of skeptical stakeholders for whom details deeply matter.

If your prospect is preparing to acquire the type of product or service you provide, and they must conduct a procurement project in order to do so, or if they are stuck in the middle of their project and need some help, let’s talk.