We lost an enormous RFP because we are too small of a company. They said our revenues are too small to put thousands of seats on. How can we keep the relationship alive and get a second chance later?

This is a big bummer.

Three things though:

  • First, move them on to your Lost Now (But Not Forever) Marketing Program 🙂. I know you don’t have one yet, but maybe it’s time to add this new marketing program! You likely will get another shot in 1–3 years. If you got into an RFP as a tiny start-up, that probably means it is a new initiative. That also probably means they’ll take a fresh look at the landscape again down the road. Market to them like a medium warm, but long sales cycle prospect. That already knows you and the space cold.
  • Second, keep them updated about quarterly. Not every week. But with all your new releases. And do it personally, and ask if they want to do a demo or catch up on new features you’ve launched.
  • Third, you won’t lose all Big Co deals due to being a tiny start-up. So stay in the game. Big Cos know how to evaluate “New Vendor Risk.” In this case, they weren’t willing to drop you into a mission-critical part of the company. But others may be willing to start smaller. CIOs and Innovation Officers know how to take measured, incremental risk for “emerging vendors”. And they have different standards there. It’s just generally, they can’t use these standards if the risk is perceived to be too high / too mission-critical.

The more RFPs you do, the better you get at the game. And you’re gonna have to lose a lot of ’em to get good at it.

More here: “Vendor Viability”: It’s a Risk Big Customers Know How to Take. Just Be Honest. | SaaStr

“I remember we would get RFPs. There’d be 14 DMP providers. I didn’t even know half the names of the other folks who were showing and competing for these deals.”

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Published on July 10, 2019

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