The first element of a successful telecom procurement is timing. You need to start the process at least nine months before your current agreements expire.
This is the fifth installment of CarrierBid’s eleven part series on the telecom procurement process.
Nine to twelve months will allow you enough time to perform a legitimate telecom RFP.
As written before, building leverage is essential, and a lack of time equates to a lack of leverage.
Along with giving yourself enough time, your procurement team needs to be united and working together. It won’t help if an executive from your company plays a round of golf with an executive from your incumbent vendor, for instance. It also won’t help matters if any of your branch or regional offices are operating independently.
It’s important that your organization speaks with one voice and communication with vendor representatives is controlled. Your team wants to avoid vocalizing any hesitation to change.
It’s also important to manage vendor behavior. Vendor representatives from companies like AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink will try to circumvent your negotiation team, offer percentage savings to avoid an RFP and delay, so you run out of time.
Be prepared and form a strategy for potential conflicts of interest, such as what to do if your vendor is a large customer of your company or if a vendor executive is on your company’s board.
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If you need to procure new services during the procurement process, make sure you do so competitively. Ordering a new internet T1 or PRI from your existing provider won’t help. Ordering a single circuit from one of your vendor’s competitors, like Level 3, XO or TW Telecom is an opportunity to test that provider and build leverage.
As you can see, managing the process isn’t just about how you conduct a telecom RFP; it involves all your communication with your providers and potential providers, and managing time and vendor behavior.
CarrierBid can help you with any step of the telecom procurement process. We don’t charge a fee for our service or require a share of your savings.