The RFP is a straightforward approach to finding everything from CRM solutions to digital asset management software, but it has its disadvantages. The cookie-cutter style of RFPs can stifle innovation and keep hidden weaknesses and strengths from coming to the fore.
A more effective way to look for a good DAM system is to put out a “request for solutions” (RFS). Whereas an RFP might be useful for figuring out which system is “best,” the prompts in RFPs seldom help you reach conclusions about which is best for you. Generally, an RFP asks, “We need someone to do X. Do you X?” The better question really is, “We have X problem. What would you do to fix it?” The difference in the questions is subtle, but there’s a huge disparity in the value of the answers they generate.
A few other benefits of the request-for-solutions approach include:
Working together to find solutions — Both RFPs and RFSs put you in the driver’s seat. The problem is an RFP has no steering wheel. When you state a problem and ask for a solution, you’re initiating communication that can be steered until you reach the best, most functional understanding of a vendor’s DAM software possible. In addition, it makes solutions providers copilots in the discussion, enabling them to contribute in a way that not only gives you more valuable information, but also gives you a better sense of what working with them would be like (should you end up choosing them).
A good DAM system in less time — When you tell a provider what problem you’re trying to solve, you’re putting up road signs. Your statement of the problem directs them to offer answers that tell you who they are, what they’re strong in, and (if they’re being honest) where they might fall short. A rigid RFP, on the other hand, acts more like a road block. It almost invariably gets in the way of what might otherwise be a fruitful exchange. Road blocks not only make getting from point A to point B more complicated, they also make it take longer than it needs to.
An RFS takes the blinders off — If knowldege is power, then the RFP is your kryptonite. It tells solutions providers, “this is what I want to know. Don’t waste my time with other stuff. And don’t try to tell me these aren’t the most important questions.”
An RFP assumes you know what you need. You might think you do... but then, if that’s the case, what are you still shopping around for?
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