They call us, we ignore them. They email us, we ignore them. They send us proposals, we ignore them. I see a pattern forming...
It's really unfortunate that suppliers break their backs to turn around a proposal fur us, often under a ridiculous deadline, and we planners have a really nice way of saying thank you: we blow them off. That's right, we ask for a proposal, the supplier drops everything, foregoing other tasks and potential leads to focus on meeting our deadline and getting us what we need. Then we reward them by never responding to them again, to let them know the status, or tell them they didn't win the bid.
Guess when their phone rings again? When we need something! Another proposal (where is their motivation to drop everything and spin their wheels again, knowing the same person likely will ignore them again?), or worse yet, we call asking for a donation for a silent auction, or a freebie for personal use, or some other favor.
Suppliers are really put off by this (wouldn't you be??). They just want common courtesy, a quick note letting them know if they have a chance of winning the business, or if not, telling them the reasons why. This can be uncomfortable for planners, I know. At the very least, how about setting up a separate email address just for proposals? You can set up an auto-reply so that when suppliers email for a status update, your auto-reply can say "If you are inquiring about the XYZ Meeting, we have selected the Hilton in Toronto. We thank everyone who sent in a proposal."
I know this is not ideal for suppliers, but it's better than planners going radio dark on them. Do you know that the majority of sales teams have weekly meetings where each salesperson is accountable for updating the group on the status of outstanding proposals? Do you really want your proposal to be discussed week after week, causing embarrassment to that salesperson who has to keep reporting "no known update"?
As one supplier said, "Just tell me! It's just business!"