Welcome to the latest post in RSG's "Real Story Vendor Procurement" (RSVP) best practice series.
Last time I reviewed how to create a Request for Proposal (RFP), or what some people call a "tender." In this segment I'm going to talk about issuing your RFP. Delivering the RFP to bidders seems very straightforward, but actually there's some things that you can do here that will influence response rates.
Give Your Shortlist of Vendors a Heads Up
Give bidders a heads up, and find out who the relevant reps are in advance, if only to get the NDA process in motion. Let them know the RFP is coming and provide a sense of schedule and dates. This helps everyone in terms of preparation and helps them understand the seriousness with which you're taking this.
Certain public procurements require you to put an open call to anyone and everyone, but let's assume you've followed our advice and built a shortlist. (Plug: if you subscribe to RSG research, you can employ our tools to create the right shortlist.)
Direct Vendor Questions to the RFP
Vendors may want to meet you, ask some questions, find out a little bit more. If you have time to do this, there's no great harm, though we tend to counsel against it, since vendors will try to pry for details that aren't in the RFP and you begin to create a precedent that they can "work around" your process to get the inside scoop. Just tell them "it's all in the RFP" and that they'll be able to ask questions later.
Be Accountable on Timing
Deliver the RFP when you said you would. If for some reason it's going to be delayed, then give them a heads up. This kind of communication is going to help get the best out of your vendor, and that's really what this is about. Remember that tech vendors, particularly the best ones, are busy too. When the relationship has respect and courtesy, you'll get the best results from the process.
The next part of our selection series covers how to construct meaningful bidder questions. Stay tuned...
Other Posts in the RSVP Selection Series
Establish Business Foundations
Identify Needs and Opportunities:
Conduct Market Analysis:
Communicate with Suppliers:
- Developing your RFP
- Issuing an RFP Tender (you are here)
- Bidder Questions (coming next week)
- Evaluating Vendor Proposals (coming later)
Try Before You Buy:
- Conducting Demos (coming later)
- Filter to Final Lists (coming later)
- Run of Competitive Proof of Concepts (coming later)
Make the Right Choice
- Pilot Solution (coming later)
- Negotiating Pricing and Contracts (coming later)
- Implementation (coming later)