Getting to your RFP Short list!

January 14th, 2014

How do you go about planning for your final webinar or onsite vendor presentations?

Today’s post is by Mark Davis; Senior Vice President and COO at SafeSourcing. 

The RFI/RFP process has been the source of a few SafeSourcing blogs over the past few months and no piece is as important to the process as the plan you develop to move forward with the final stages of the RFx process, as you have companies that barely make the shortlist all of a sudden leap to the front of the pack if done right.

Today’s blog will take a look at some of the aspects that you should be thinking about when preparing for the final presentations.

Who makes the list?  – The main purpose to holding the final stage presentations is to get a final look at the vendor team that you may be getting ready to give your business too.  In almost every case, the RFx process will immediately drop a few vendors out of the mix based on their responses, their initial pricing or a combination of both.  Typically the final presentations will be given by 2 4, sometimes 5 vendors.  To have a larger list makes managing the list difficult, and generally is the stage where you have it narrowed down to companies who can truly handle your account.

What is the focus? – As you are developing the items in the next two points it will be important to develop the content for what you want to know more about.  In many cases RFIs and RFPs are unable to completely do justice for some of the details you need especially if those details revolve around a demonstration.  This is not to rehash the RFI/RFP itself but rather to dig deeper into answers that may have been confusing or not quite as complete as what you wanted.

What’s the Agenda? –  Once you know what you want to focus on and prior to holding your presentations it will be important to create the agenda you wish the vendors to follow.  Not doing so allows the vendors to present whatever they want and may leave you with more follow-up questions than you started with.  Vendors generally appreciate an agenda so that they can focus their energy on the things that are important to you.  This agenda will help be the foundation for the next two points so making it thorough without being so detailed there is no flexibility is the key to a good agenda.

How will you score it? – The final piece you will want to develop before the presentations will be a scorecard that can be distributed to the evaluation team covering every aspect that you want reviewed.  This is a critical step because not everyone will automatically evaluate the presentations in a similar way without guidance.  This can be as detailed as you want to make, however, it should at the very least follow the agenda the vendors have been given so that thoughts and comments on each point can be captured by every member of the team.

Getting ready for final RFI/RFP presentations is an important part of the evaluation process and one that should have as much thought and preparation put into it as the RFx itself.

For more information on helping your company prepare on RFI/RFP or in help preparing for final presentations, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  

We look forward to your comments.

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