Handling Questions for RFI/RFP’s

July 3rd, 2013

How should you prepare for questions for more information on an RFI/RFP?”

Today’s post is by Sarah Kouse; Project Manager at SafeSourcing.

When participating in an RFI/RFP there are two sides of the question preparation process. There are the vendors who are asking the questions and there are the questions from the sourcing company gathering the questions from all the vendors and preparing them for the client.

Consolidate and Submit – As a vendor, when you are participating in an RFI/RFP, questions may come to mind at different times and you may be compelled to send questions when you think of them.  The downfall to this is that viable questions could be missed in the consolidation process and not answered. Therefore, when you have questions regarding the content of the document, the best way to get answers to your questions is to prepare them in one document and send all of the questions in that document all at once referencing the section and/or question from the RFP the item refers to.

Prioritize by Frequency – On the customer side, once all documents containing the questions have been sent, consolidate all the questions asked, labeling each question with the company name, who asked the questions, and  analyze them to determine if any questions have been asked multiple times.   With the questions organized and prioritized in this way, a team of stakeholders can quickly and easily focus on all of the questions at once, frequently getting them all answered in a matter of just a couple of hours.  Once the document has been consolidated with all the participating vendors’ questions that document will then be sent to the client to review and answer the questions.

Give everyone the same insight – Once the document has been reviewed and all the questions answered, that document will then get sent back to each vendor who is participating in the RFI/RFP process, even if a vendor did not ask a question. The reason this document is sent to every vendor is not only to make it fair for every vendor participating, but also serves as a reference guide for any questions that may come up in the future. The vendor could reference that document to potentially quickly get their answer.   Some trains of thought are that they don’t like this approach because it allows some vendors to be lazy and get the benefits of the other vendor’s questions.  This, however, usually shows itself in how a vendor like that answers the RFP as well as the fact that as the customer you know who took the time to ask questions and who did not. 

For more information on how we can help you with your RFIs and RFPs or other procurement needs, or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

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