Guest writer, David Lewis, CEO of Lewis Agency shares his experiences and frustrations working within the framework of an outdated and costly procurement system - where there are no winners.
"For the past 30 years I've been in advertising and marketing the process for tendering and pitching for business has been like something from the 1920's not 2020's. An almost biased, unfair and lethargic process of sweet talking, beauty pageants and an ultimately labour intensive series of word and excel document causing confusion and disillusionment. Sound familiar?
This isn't a finger point at procurement teams, no it's a full head to toe process that needs rejuvenated and brought into the digital times for both buyer and seller.
Where do you start with a system that is so in need of transformation.
What about a more equal and ethical process where agencies must have a certain pre-defined set of quality accreditations, due diligence checks and automatically are pre-verified.
Imagine a procurement team that could search and select pre validated companies that would pass any due diligence and then ask one simple question: ‘You’ve achieved our level of due diligence. Would you like to be considered for this tender. Yes or No’?
After everyone in your business has answered the questions, you achieve a stunning 96% score. The crowd go wild. Procurement put a tick in the box, and you’re never asked about it again until the renewal invoice comes in next year! It’s only used by one procurement team and the next RPF uses XYZ accreditation which you need to start from scratch.
But wait a minute. I’ve got 80% of the questions answered in excel, word and PDF files somewhere in a folder somewhere on our system. Let’s pull them all into a new order rename them 1.12a and duplicate, submit and try again. Manually building new records and new documents that will need updated and are out of date from the day you completed.
What about all your documents assets and info in one system, online, secure and verified by buyers. You could easily update one and it would replicate across all providers. You can enhance and iterate these when you and your business gain knowledge or more expertise. And here’s the big one. Each and every buyer, accreditation company and organisation can gain access to them at your discretion. For one supplier we have nearly 250 different items that are managed and updated on an ongoing basis. For another we have 145. Surely, we can have quality cross-over, only using the best and most appropriate in one super slick location, which means I never, ever need to send an Excel spreadsheet again!
What about the ability to automatically search and select sellers that have achieved all the red-tape and policy, due diligence in an instant and can move quickly and efficiently to the real tender needs. What about being able to separate out the tender and have it manged and scored by selected people within the business, who are the experts. They can review only the sections they are experts at, scoring each answer, giving feedback, or asking for further information on selected answers, before scoring only those questions back to the seller. And what about being able to compare proposals side-by-side and being able to see where each seller scores higher or lower, where are the gaps, which areas are critical and should be necessary, which are lesser. How about a business strong validation on you decision making. Having reviewed scored, had expert feedback and clarity when viewing each side by side, you can truly make the best decision of the business.
For an agency what about a system or tool that would be able to use AI to read and offer up the best answer to the question from your massive archive of answers. This library of answers you have written and are now available to either automatically link to the question, edit, or adjust, or see which questions have scored well in previous RFPs and use the ones that work and not the ones that left you short.
What about the thing we crave the most, feedback! Yes, instead of the ‘we’re delighted’ or ‘we’re sorry’ emails, what about a truly beneficial feedback loop. A system that the agency can look at and see where their weakness are, where their strengths are and work harder, bring in more expertise and be a better business for all their clients.
So after my rants and 30 years or seeing it, doing it, winning the watch, what am I getting at with this article. Well it's to only state that we need change within the agency/procurement alignment.
We have some of the finest creative agencies in the world running innovative systems, platforms, and technologies. We can render pixel perfect CGI images and animations, build online tools that help detect health problems, we mine data and build tools to offer solutions to that one in a million individual. But we are running and answering RFPs, Proposal and tenders like something out of dark ages.
Who’s going to help get the advertising and marketing world to address this problem?"
We'd like to thank David Lewis for sharing his personal experience and highlighting the challenges sellers are facing while pitching to 'win a watch'!
For a live demo of Pulse Market contact us today.