How To Create A Top-Notch RFP For Audio Conferencing Providers
Is an RFP for audio conferencing providers really necessary? Can’t you just ask vendors for pricing quotes and be done with it? Even though it takes a bit more time to submit requests, they can help you get max value for money. RFPs streamline the process and yield more than just cost estimates. Audio conferencing providers respond with proposals that cover everything from support to customer training resources and, of course, a detailed overview of their pricing options. These 8 top tips can help you create an audio conference system RFP that gets results.
7 Tips To Write A Winning Audio Conference System RFP
1. Clarify Your Audio Conference System Budget
Before you even write the first line of your RFP, you need to do some prep work. Reevaluate your budget and consider all associated costs, from setup to ongoing maintenance. This gives you all the data you need to clarify your audio conferencing budget for vendors. I’m not suggesting that you include your max spending cap as there should always be room for negotiation. But software providers need a general idea of your pricing expectations. How much can you realistically spend per month or per user? And which pricing model do you prefer?
2. Highlight Your Main L&D Challenges
What are the main obstacles that audio web conferencing solutions must help you address? More importantly, how does it fit into your overall business strategy? Every RFP should include use cases and objectives so that the vendor is aware of your pain points and highlights the best pricing plans or add-ons. For instance, you may want to upgrade to the next monthly subscription tier to accommodate more users since you plan to host external partner events to improve team collaboration and there’s usually a large turnout.
3. Outline Your Must-Have Features
There are a few features you can’t do without. These are the selling points that improve ROI and help you overcome those L&D challenges I mentioned earlier. Do you need VoIP support and advanced audio controls? What about recording for training purposes and to expand your online training audio library? Include all your essential features in the RFP and how they can solve your biggest business problems. Then audio conferencing providers can highlight their USPs and real-world benefits of ownership.
4. Include Your Necessary Tech Specs
It’s also important to include all the tech specs you’re looking for. In fact, mention all the other software in your toolbox to avoid compatibility roadblocks. This is also the place to tell them about the hardware you currently own. For example, you must be able to run the software on any mobile device or browser. But it also needs to be compatible with your current audio conferencing keypads.
5. Mention Vendor Support Services
The tricky thing about vendor support is that nobody expects problems. Sure, you might run into a snag every now and then. But your team can usually resolve the issue quickly. On the other hand, it’s always best to have a safety net, just in case. The level of support you need all depends on your team’s expertise—and time. For instance, your staffers have used numerous audio conferencing solutions in the past so, they’re already familiar with all the tech hiccups and implementation errors. Thus, email and online user forums might do the trick. However, they may already have a heavy workload or IT troubleshooting falls outside their purview. In this case, you need more advanced support services, like phone or live chats.
6. Map Out Your Implementation Timeline
How soon do you need to get your audio conferencing software up and running? Your RFP for audio conferencing providers must also map out the implementation timeline. For example, you need a platform with a low learning curve and rapid setup process. That way, you can launch your audio conferencing events for the customer service and sales team. Or maybe you’re developing a peer coaching program for next month and employees must use audio conferencing for JIT support.
7. Give Audio Conference Systems Vendors A Deadline
You need to review all the proposals and make your decision as soon as possible. So, give vendors a submission deadline and outline your evaluation criteria. For instance, they must send their proposals within 4 weeks to be considered. And you’ll base your decision on 5 key elements (support, features, usability, etc.). You should also include contact info so that they can reach out with questions or concerns. As an example, they need more details about your current online training challenges and goals.
8. Explain Your Follow-Up Protocols
Will you ask vendors to complete a questionnaire if they make your shortlist? Do you expect a free trial or demo before signing on the dotted line? Explain your follow-up so that vendors understand the process and you don’t catch them off-guard. This also helps you avoid implementation delays since audio conferencing providers know your expectations and can prep ahead of time. For example, they might send a link to the free live demo to give you a head start. You’re able to test drive the tool right after you review their proposal and evaluate the UI firsthand.
How do you choose the best audio conference system for your team? An online directory and verified reviews can help you qualify vendors. After all, not every company is RFP-worthy. You should also check out performance overviews to see which providers have the highest satisfaction scores. A niche-specific audio conferencing directory gives you the chance to compare your top choices, as well so that you can weigh all your options and select the right audio conferencing providers in your price range.
Where do you even begin and how can you maximize your audio conferencing ROI? Our eBook offers tips to find the ideal software for your SMB. Audio Web Conferencing Solutions: Overcome Your Biggest Business Problems explores the basics and benefits of implementing audio conference systems.