Sharing what I have learned from managing 300-plus RFPs

For the past seven years, I have been helping clients find, assess and validate vendors that best meet their business goals through Matchbook (www.matchbookinc.com). I am fortunate to have had the opportunity of supporting more than 20 of the leading pharma and biotech companies of various sizes, at different stages of their lifecycle and across multiple functions.

It has given me a unique opportunity to learn a lot about both sides of the industry, and exposed me to hundreds of companies, challenges and ideas presented throughout the 300-plus RFPs managed by Matchbook.

Those key learnings led me to launch tealbook, to give healthcare clients an online tool that allows them store, organize, search, find and validate vendors on their own.

Through tealbook’s blog, I will be sharing what I have learned over the years by:

  • providing tips for navigating and improving the RFP process
  • featuring vendors, their services and what differentiates them
  • addressing some of the common and unique challenges faced by clients and vendors, and
  • helping our members get the most value out of their tealbook.

Read More

Why I started tealbook™

With three small daughters and a successful RFP management consulting business, I’ve often been asked why I would add a new business launch to my already busy life!

Throughout my career, I’ve worked on both sides of the pharmaceutical industry, and I´ve always thought the process of finding vendors was exhaustive, time-consuming and limited. So in 2008, I launched Matchbook to increase efficiencies, save time, and help clients find the best vendors. I´ve been extremely fortunate to have helped more than 20 of the leading pharma and biotech companies find, assess, and validate their vendor selections across all industry functions. Matchbook has also grown organically into a strong 300-plus vendor database through client recommendations. It has been a highly rewarding 7 years, as I continuously think of ways to increase value for my clients.

Four years ago, I started noticing a change among our mid-to-large-scale clients as they began to formalize their sourcing structures. Sourcing managers were being hired to bridge the gap between employees seeking vendors and procurement departments that place a strong emphasis on the bottom line. As sourcing departments were becoming more established functions amongst our clients, I started thinking about ways to help sourcing managers be more efficient, connected and valuable internal resources for their companies.

Thus began a three-year journey of building an intuitive online solution that would not only benefit sourcing managers, but also help improve the RFP process to make it simpler, targeted, and more efficient for all stakeholders.

On a mission to improve the RFP process and increase efficiencies

In 2014 tealbook came to life in several phases. We started by building the industry´s most credible vendor database using our strong vendor connections. I wanted tealbook to be more than a database, so we included features to help clients quickly get a better sense of appropriate vendors. These features include:

  • 10 words to describe the essence of the company to let clients know what they stand for and represent,
  • 10-slide platform used to differentiate their services and experience – it is a great way for vendors to tell their story. I immediately go to this section when I want to learn more about a company,
  • a short video – another opportunity for companies to make a personal connection with clients. Vendors can use this for a demo or simply to introduce their team, and,
  • a client recommendation section. Unlike tags that will not be shared with other clients, these recommendations are public and will help increase a vendor’s credibility in tealbook.

We also created tealboard™ to help clients stay on top of changes, trends and best practices. We pulled vendors’ social media links from Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and created our own status update.

We then launched to clients industrywide, with our own free, live vendor Rolodex. We are allowing them to easily invite their vendors to join for free. (It beats static business cards and ensures that tealbook includes the best vendors as we continue to grow our database.) In launching tealbook, I wanted to give clients an opportunity to store, organize and find their vendors in real time. I also wanted to give them a way to stay connected to the latest changes and trends. But most importantly, I wanted to give them access to the most credible vendor recommendations when needed and a platform for vendors to respond in a focused and personalized format, to help validate their vendor selections before issuing an RFP.

It´s been quite a ride! Over the past few months, I have spoken to countless vendors, employees, sourcing managers and procurement managers about what we are doing. The response has been extremely positive, as everyone agrees that challenges are not easily addressed and the RFP process can be improved. We have received incredible support from all corners of the industry and I am moving forward with a smile on my face.

Growing rapidly while providing client-vendor connections

As of January 2015, tealbook includes more than 135 vendors and that number is growing daily. Clients have said that tealbook is extremely user-friendly. They like that it allows them to easily stay connected to vendors and what they are talking about, and they can see the value that tealbook offers when it comes to simplifying the vendor selection process.

Next up is the launch of corporate tealbook memberships. I want tealbook to be built for clients by clients. Thus, we are bringing several corporate advisors on board to help ensure that we offer the most valuable vendor search and management solutions while complying with client processes, security and technology. We are transitioning Matchbook clients and will make tealbook available to other companies by the end of Q1.

I want to challenge the process in a positive way and elevate it so it benefits our industry. I am truly motivated by giving clients access to the best vendors and making the RFP process more efficient.

A few weeks ago, I asked my eldest daughter’s friend what she wanted to do when she grows up. She said she would like to be a mommy. My daughter turned to her and responded, “You can be a mommy and anything else you want to be!” Well, being a strong role model for my girls has also a lot to do with why I started tealbook.

IMG_3439_cropped

If you haven’t already, I invite you to take a few minutes to open a free tealbook account. You can search for your vendors by name or invite them to join for free. As you build your tealbook, I am confident that it will become a valuable source of connections and information for your business. www.tealbook.com

I also invite you to connect with me to share your ideas on making tealbook more valuable. I am highly interested in your impressions and opinions to help us refine and improve as we continue to develop. slapierre@tealbook.com or 1-866-620-6640

 

Thank you.

 

Stephany