How I Became Inspired to Reimagine the RFP Process

February 7, 2023

Welcome to Carlozo’s Corner! Happy to have you all aboard.

This month, I want to share my perspective on the request for proposal (RFP) process and give you a bit of fun while reading. As you read, I challenge each of you to a hunt for hidden song titles. They are nestled in nicely so happy hunting!

A financial advisor meeting with clients in an office, discussing finances, mortgages, and investing strategies. Reflects personal financial management and advisory services, generative ai

I have been thinking about this topic for close to a year and what would be the best way to share my thoughts. It hit me like a hurricane several years ago when I was in an RFP process with one my prospects (now a client) and she said to me, I want you to ‘tell me about me.’ It was so simple, yet so profound. She explained that traditional RFPs had very little value for her organization. And I get it – let me give you 50 questions the answers to which I will not read, but jump to the back page for the price you pay.  It’s hard to see the value in that.

It’s true, traditional RFPs serve their purpose and have worked for many years. It is not a broken process, but could you be getting more? Traditionally RFPs use generic data points or consultant success stories to sell clients products and services. What if I told you it’s possible to receive a deliverable that focuses on you vs. what the consultant has done for others?

My client felt that the consultants responding needed to demonstrate that they understand the history, numbers, claims and drivers otherwise how could they possibly share customized approaches? What my client suggested when she asked ‘tell me about me’ was an alternative to the traditional RFP. But for me to provide her with a custom solution, I would need one thing – her data.

By using her data I’m able to expand on the traditional RFP and demonstrate how we can help manage utilization and benefit spend through our tools. And just as important, she could see and feel the true bench strength of our proposed team.

Using her data also allows me to use our response to share strategies, observations, and approaches that fit her organization’s culture and risk/change tolerance in meaningful way. This gives her team as a whole a better understanding to gauge if our team is a good fit. The new process could be simply irresistible!

In summary, mixing data into an RFP does a couple of things:

  1. Allows all broker/consultants responding to have equity with access to the same data: utilization, experience, renewal actions, and the like.
  2. You receive a deliverable specific to your organization. In addition, you walk away with good ideas tailored to meet your needs. As consultants, we understand by responding there are no guarantees as the work will be done at risk.
  3. The deliverable you receive demonstrates the teams’ strength, consulting pedigree, technology, tools, and financial modeling ability/flexibility. Instead of doing a finalist presentation focusing on how wonderful we are, the focus is on your organization.
Smiling female insurance broker and young family shaking hands making purchase deal or investment, empty space

In the words of my client, ‘I do not care what you did for XYZ company, what can you do for me?’ Everyone looks shiny in a finalist meeting, but at the end of the day, presenting the actual opportunities of the work is more powerful.

Wait! I know…I know…you are probably thinking: How do I do this? Is it time consuming? Why should I trust you with my data?

I am not suggesting this is the right way to measure every consultant – all I am suggesting is this is another club in your golf bag. Sharing your data allows a potential partner to give you a customized picture of the potential opportunity. As a consultant, I’d rather show you how my team can support your organization, rather than saying how wonderful I am.

In conclusion, I have a couple of calls to action:

  1. How many song titles do you see in this blog? I told you it will have a music theme, so email me with a number, the names of the songs, the artists if you know. The person with the most correct answers gets a picture of my old school and a glass onion.
  2. Ping me to learn more about this approach.
  3. If you liked this topic, please share it with your network. As most of you know, I am an avid networker and believe in the code of “what you cast out, you get back.”

Thanks for reading, I hope this brought a smile to face, and in the words of David Essex – Rock On!

Welcome to Carlozo’s Corner. I’m Anthony Carlozo, a client executive at Marsh McLennan Agency (MMA), the employee benefits division of Marsh.

At Marsh McLennan Agency, I work with organizations of all sizes to help them minimize their risk and maximize the value of their benefits programs.

Here I’ll be sharing insights about a current market trend and the strategies I’m seeing employers adopt to adapt to today’s evolving business landscape.