RFP scoring can be a minefield - but it doesn't have to be. At Viewpoint Analysis, our approach is to keep it simple. We are looking to find the best partner to work with our clients - and therefore we really do not need to complicate what can already be a complicated process.
So, how do we score an RFP?
Keep it simple
The most important approach is to keep it simple. We use a really easy approach - just three scores so that the scoring team has to make a decisive call. It's either very good, ok to meet the requirement, or it is poor:
3 - Very good
2 - OK
1 - Poor
We find that people can overcomplicate the scoring options and that just makes life difficult for the scoring team and the wider the range of options, the more difficult it is to maintain an accurate outcome (for example, what makes something a 7/10 rather than a 6/10).
Although the scoring options are simple - it is worth making sure that each of the scoring team fully understands the job and that they have a mechanism to ask questions or seek clarification. If they misunderstand their role and how they are scoring, the whole process fails.
We encourage our customers to score the vendors after every key interaction. For example, they may score the RFP response, the RFP presentation, the demonstration - or anything that is important within the process.
By scoring regularly, we are capturing performance at every major step and not leaving it all to one final call. We find that this makes the processes fairer to all vendors, and ensures that we get the very best decision.
Share the scoring metrics
It is important to share the scoring metrics and rules with vendors. They need to know how scoring will take place and how we are deciding whether they have made the cut - or not. Knowing how we are making the decision really helps to improve performance across the process and the vendors find it easier to know where they are aiming.
What to Score
The other important aspect of RFP scoring is to make sure that you are scoring the right things. Again, this is an area that some teams will overcomplicate and it is possible to score on many different topics. Our approach is to keep it simple and choose somewhere in the region of 5 categories that are the most important for our customers.
In our last process, we scored the following four areas:
1) Solution Fit - how closely did the solution that was proposed fit the brief?
2) Price - how did we feel about the price that was submitted?
3) Delivery Approach - how did we feel about the proposed implementation approach?
4) Cultural Fit - can we work with the vendor? Do we have confidence in them
Every customer will have a different viewpoint and it is important to make sure that we are scoring the areas that are most important to a given customer in a given situation.
Although we score at every major stage of the RFP process, we also have one final scoring round and this is at the very end. Usually, we have two or three vendors in the final running and at this stage, we have a good understanding of how they are fairing because we have a total RFP score. We give the scoring team a final selection decision - one vote for one vendor. The question is kept simple - who do you choose?
We find this final vote to be really helpful. It gets each of the decision-making team to make a call. No place to hide. They have to go with one option and make that decision. It's a really useful way for the project sponsor to hear from the team - and then make the all-important selection decision.
Viewpoint Analysis runs Rapid RFP (RRFP) and Rapid RFI (RRFI) selection processes for businesses of all shapes and sizes to find and select the right technology vendors for their needs. We write the documents, liaise with vendors, host the calls - and of course, guide the scoring process!
Let us know if you have a different approach - or indeed a better approach to the one above. We're all for speed and simplicity - so our RFP scoring works in that context.