Response management is the process of a prospective customer sending out a questionnaire or list of requirements to a few prospective vendors in the late stages of a sales cycle.
These questionnaires or “requests” require two parties: the prospect and the vendor. The prospect is the group or company wanting to purchase an offering. They are the ones creating and evaluating the request. The vendor is the company selling the offering. They will respond to this request, and typically, there will be at least two vendors competing for the prospect’s business.
There are three main types of requests: Requests for Information, Requests for Quotation, and Requests for Proposal.
Requests for Information (RFIs)
RFIs are a preliminary request before the prospect sends out a formal request for proposal. This request generally has questions that will help advise the content of the upcoming, and oftentimes lengthier, RFP. Especially if a company has not undergone a bid for a similar technology before, this step is to ensure they ask the correct questions, and can sometimes help phrase the questions in favor of their preferred vendor.
Requests for Quotation (RFQs)
RFQs are simply numbers-based. The prospect will send this request when wanting to understand the pricing between a few vendors near the end of the buying cycle. This will have questions that will help advise them on pricing structure, rates, user or activity limits, and additional or add-on service pricing.
Requests for Proposal (RFPs)
RFPs are requests to gather answers from a few shortlisted vendors in common criteria for purchase, such as platform capabilities, security, pricing, etc. The prospect will take these answers to have an impartial view of the capabilities they need for the solution they are buying, and the vendor's offerings.
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