Don’t Feed the Vendors – the RFP Response Edition

Holland Dombeck McCue Business Development, Communication, Don't Feed the Vendors, Holidays, Holland Dombeck, HR Tech, HR Technology, HR Vendors, Innovation

I’m throwing it back to old school FOT today for a Black Friday edition of “Don’t Feed the Vendors.” For those unfamiliar with the segment, we used spotlight vendors on the site long before the days of sponsored content and influencer campaigns and allowed them their 15-minutes on the site. However, it’s the day after Thanksgiving, and now I’m craving some new tech in 2019, so I’m sharing a few dos and don’ts for successful RFP responses to wet the palette of our vendor friends this holiday season.


• Request a Q&A with the company and take vigorous notes so you can later weave their vernacular into your pitch. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – and flattery sells.
• Proof your work and make sure you answered every part of every question – go the extra mile by repeating the question 3rd grade style to showcase you aligned to the prompt provided.
• Include supporting glossy marketing materials or videos (because who really wants to read an RFP to begin with?!)
• Write a snazzy cover letter, but make sure it’s exported as a PDF in case the company you’re responding to hasn’t updated their software since Gates and Ballmer broke it down at the Windows 95 launch party.



• Repeat your responses using the same boilerplate line after line, or request reviewers refer to an earlier line – you’re messing with my Excel flow.
• Trust that your RFP response team (person) has you covered – they don’t. Proof that ish.
• Avoid the question being asked and serve up a bunch of other features you offer to distract readers from the fact that you avoided the question, and don’t actually offer the feature.
• Stalk anticipated reviewers on social media or through their personal network.

What else would you serve up with this dish?

Happy Black Friday, FOT Nation!