Why should you create a business video conferencing software Request For Proposal (RFP) when vendors already list their pricing plans online? The short answer is that requests provide you with custom quotes and make it easier to compare top choices. You highlight all your buying requirements and expectations, then software providers send proposals that cover everything from setup costs to support services, which helps you filter out platforms that fall short and create a more targeted shortlist based on your L&D priorities. So, what should you include in your RFP, and how do you follow up with vendors?
How will you use video conferencing software in your organization? Which specific challenges must it help you address? How quickly do you need to implement it? These are all questions to answer in your RFP intro. The first section should cover all the essential implementation details and project scope so that vendors know how their product relates to your L&D priorities or if it’s even in the running. For example, their software may not be the perfect fit for your large enterprise because they focus on SMB clients.
You don’t need to lay all the cards on the table and tell them your spending limit. Just include an estimate of how much you can allocate for licensing or per user. For instance, you’re willing to spend X amount for one-time licensing or for monthly subscriptions. This may eliminate certain vendors right off the bat because they’re out of your price point. Or maybe they require ongoing maintenance fees that put you over budget, even if their setup costs are within the boundaries.
The next section of the RFP is dedicated to vendor support and customer training. What do you expect from the vendor after you purchase their software? Do you need one-on-one support to eliminate the learning curve? Are you looking for vendors who offer a large knowledge base or active user community? Are you willing to pay extra for these services, or should they be included in the base price? You can also encourage software companies to list all their support and training options in the proposal, even if it’s not included in your RFP.
This is the place to list all the must-have features you need in corporate video conferencing. You can even mention features you’d like to have, as long as they don’t impact the pricing. Vendors typically respond with all their standout selling points, but the RFP steers them in the right direction. They can concentrate on functions that matter most to your business instead of highlighting every feature on their website.
You don’t need to research all the technical specifications and hardware requirements for video conferencing tools. But you should have a basic understanding of your own software suite to find a tool that’s compatible, as well as which browsers and devices you need to support. Another option is to keep it simple and encourage vendors to provide tech specs based on your employees’ preferences and current software setup.
Vendors should know how they’ll be evaluated once they submit their proposals. Which key elements are you looking for to address your L&D pain points, and which system do you use? For instance, you have a scoring method that includes these ten items, ranging from usability to customer training. Providers shouldn’t make false claims to ensure that they make the final cut. However, evaluation criteria do help them craft proposals that make the process easier, as they can get straight to the point instead of trying to guess which features align with your goals.
Do you plan to send questionnaires to top choices? Do they need to prep for a meeting before you make your final decision? When do you expect to receive their proposals so that you can choose the right tool in a timely manner? Include a deadline, contact info, and follow-up instructions to give vendors a heads-up. That way, they know when to expect your answer and if any additional steps are required. Top-notch providers are willing to chat with you to address any questions or concerns you may have.
It’s best to wait until you have all the proposals in hand to start the review process. That way, you give everyone the chance to send their response and be considered. For instance, you don’t want to invest in the first video conferencing system that submits a proposal and leave others in the lurch, especially since they took the time to reply and provide a custom quote. You should also ask your team for input. Supply them with the checklist or score sheet, then host a roundtable review. You can also ask each employee to test-drive a different platform and then report back.
The key to a business video conferencing software RFP is to follow through with follow-up. Reach out to vendors who meet your criteria, even if it’s to ask more questions or request more info. For example, set up an enterprise video conferencing chat after you complete the free trial to discuss your concerns or inquire about add-ons and integrations that might improve software ROI. Most companies have a sales rep who can highlight all the selling points and how they tie into your L&D pain points.
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