A Request For Proposals (RFP) is published by either the Federal Government or any private sector company for all interested contractors to meet a need. The contractors submit a proposal describing what they can provide and at what price for either the Government agency or the requesting entity. These responses should be scored according to the requestor’s established criteria for the selection process. The reason for this RFP scoring is simply to identify the best candidate to meet the need of the requestor.
What Is RFP Scoring?
Request For Proposal (RFP) scoring is the process of assigning numerical values to a vendor’s responses provided in response to an RFP. As part of this evaluation, scores provide data-based support for fair and unbiased selection decisions. This will enable your organization to make informed choices about which company best suits your needs when it comes time to award contracts or select bids.
The scoring process is important in strategic sourcing, as it allows evaluators to quickly identify a potential supplier’s strengths and weaknesses. It also helps them compare prospective vendors at a glance so that you can make the best decision for your company’s needs.
RFP Scoring Tips
Listed below are some important RFP Scoring tips:
· Set The Stage Prior To The RFP
Successful RFP scoring starts long before you issue an RFQ or receive a single proposal. In fact, much of the supplier selection process at this point in time is determined by what information needs to be uncovered through requirements discovery.
· Start With Priority Questions
Start the business relationship with these priority questions:
· What is the plan to achieve company goals?
· What is the listing order for our RFP concerns?
· Exactly what are the project requirements?
· What will success look like when it is achieved?
· Determine The Needs Of The Organization
Before you begin writing questions, it’s important to know what exactly is needed. This will ensure the responses are relevant and concise so they can answer all your needs without being too broad or narrow in scope.
· Determine The Stakeholders’ Criteria/Concerns
It is important to engage stakeholders in the right way. You want them to be asking both for requirements and scoring so that their input can be valuable throughout this process.
· Determine RFP Scoring Approach
With the simple scoring approach, evaluators score each question on a set scale, and this can be done either by assigning points or numbers that determine your ranking.
RFP weighted scoring is the preferred approach for most procurement professionals. For strategic sourcing RFPs, this model enables a clearer picture of which vendor offers the best long-term value. It also helps in prioritizing your requirements so that you can make informed decisions about what needs to be considered when making final selections.
· Use RFP Automation Technology
An important step toward effective RFP scoring is to leverage advanced technology that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP). Proposal automation technology can quickly create weighted scoring templates for thorough RFP scoring.
Do not reinvent the wheel just because you do not have time. Invest in RFP software and get easy access to raw data, which will save hours of wasted effort.
The Proposal & Contract Suite, an out-of-the-box solution developed by Scion Analytics, can help an organization develop and manage its RFPs and contract proposals quickly and efficiently. The suite can thoroughly parse the RFPs into a structured matrix. With this format, a proposal team can discover all the concerns and requirements needing to be addressed for the requesting agency.
If you substitute the word “win” for the word “capture,” you will have a good sense of that word in the business world. Captures, in this business sense, are an important part of many companies’ success, but they can be difficult to manage. A capture manager is assigned the tasking and leadership needed for this highly competitive business pursuit. The capture manager provides coordination among all proposal writing resources involved in preparing winning bids.
Capture managers will be successful if they have strong communication skills as well as proven organizational abilities. These talents allow them not only to recognize potential issues before they arise, such as poor planning or lack thereof by other departments but to take corrective measures when necessary.
There is a similarity between a Business Development (BD) Manager and a Capture Manager. A business development manager is responsible for managing multiple business opportunity portfolios. Capture managers are usually assigned to just one business opportunity. Capture Managers are most often used in large complex sales situations.
The Capture Manager is a key role in between business development and proposal writing. His or her job includes improving the company’s chances of closing deals, which has been shown to lead directly toward increased revenue for both sides involved.
Capture Manager Roles
The capture manager needs to wear many hats, exhibiting several important skills which are listed below:
Being able to successfully negotiate the terms of pricing and contracts both within the company and with the external customer is an important ability of the capture manager.
To write a winning proposal, the capture manager needs to know more than just what their company offers. A successful proposal requires the discovery of competitor information that his company needs for them to win out over others who are bidding on these projects.
A capture manager is a person who knows how to get a project done, but more importantly, they must know what people want. He must have a good awareness of the customer’s pain points and their solutions. Achieving this requires that he be well versed in all aspects of production and technical skills associated with his organization. It also means knowing how best to spend time persuading stakeholders or convincing executives precisely what to offer in the proposal.
The capture manager’s responsibility is to make the best decisions for their team and work through other people when necessary. They need enough authority so they can do this without being constantly second-guessed. He needs to decide every little question. He needs to ensure the requirements are addressed, how to articulate them, and what is a good price for them. He needs to take risks too.
Capture Manager Tips
As can be seen, there are certain skills that the proposal coordinator should have and be excellent at them all if possible:
· He will discuss much with the team members and SMEs, so he should be an excellent communicator
· He will need to manage plans and time well
· He should be socially aware
· He should be detail-oriented
· He should be able to think critically and analytically
· He will need to be able to solve problems wisely and efficiently
Some other skills that would prove very helpful are:
· Graphic designer
The art of negotiation is a crucial and necessary skill in any field. Negotiation simply means engaging with others to reach an agreement. So, it is no surprise that for capture managers this skill will be paramount, after proposal team management, when trying to win a business contract.
The journey of starting your business with the Government can be an arduous one. And you will probably hear misinformation about it. This will affect how successful or unhappy that venture becomes for yourself personally as well as financially. There’s no magic formula for getting into the Federal Government contracting business. The only shortcut is learning everything about it and focusing on your niche. Be prepared to spend much time and energy pursuing Federal Government contracting.
Below are some of the myths that will be encountered:
Myths That Discourage Government Contracting
Some myths will tend to be discouraging:
· Some will claim that the Government does not pay their bills faithfully. The truth is that quite the opposite. In most cases, unless there is an incorrect invoice, contractors are usually paid within 30 days, sometimes 15 days.
· Some will feel that the Government does not want to talk with them. But early information from companies is encouraged as long as there is no preferential treatment. Government officials can and should be contacted for discussions.
· Some small business contractors might think that they are too insignificant to be heard by the Government. The fortunate truth is that the Federal Government is regulated and determined to set aside some spending money for the small and disadvantaged businesses. These could be women-owned, or veteran-owned businesses. This means some Government needs will only look at small and disadvantaged businesses for bidding.
Myths Of Easy Money
There are some myths that Federal Government contracting is ‘easy money”:
· Some contractors might mistakenly think that registering on a Government website is all that needs to be done and then the opportunities will come knocking. The truth is that there is no one-stop shopping for Federal contracting. Vendors need to know where to register. There are required registrations and those need to be in the right places too.
· It is a mistake to think Government contracting is “easy money.” There are many good opportunities to be had with Government contracting, but it demands a lengthy time investment, not to mention much competition. It will take an average of 18 months for a company to be awarded its first contract.
Myths Of Guaranteed Success
Some contractors will mistakenly think there are certain approaches that guarantee success:
· Small businesses can apply for a set-aside status that will help them compete with larger companies, but it does not guarantee any contracts. This is because there are many other factors at play when bidding on Government work. Such factors as pricing and quality of product or service, which may outweigh whatever preferences you have under certain regulations (e.g., “veteran-owned”).
· It is mistakenly thought that if you get on certain schedules. If you get on the General Services Administration Schedules (GSA) or win a place on an Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract, you will be guaranteed business. This is not the truth. Often a contractor can be on the IDIQ or the GSA schedule and still not win business.
Contracting with the Federal Government can be the start of a lucrative and growth-empowering pursuit. But it is important for success not to be fooled
by myths that promise easy money by means of an easy pursuit. Know the facts and the reality of Government contracting. Be determined, be humble, and be patient.
Proposals that respond to Request For Proposals (RFP) tend to be 80-85% boilerplate content. The remaining 15-20%, however, is where you really have the freedom and opportunity to adapt your proposal for a client’s specific needs. This makes it an asset rather than just another set of requirements.
However, this skewed structure can mean that 80-85% of your time will be spent on repeat questions. The essential Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) could spend up to 30% of their valuable time unnecessarily.
Fortunately, with the adoption of automation technology in the modern business world, time spent on repetitive tasks can be significantly reduced. More time and attention are freed up to focus on bid-winning distinctions within the proposal. Otherwise, departmental silos and information-sharing within a team keep them from reaching their fullest revenue-generating potential as collaborative units.
Proposal management software is a computer program designed to help users develop proposals, presentations, and responses to Requests For Proposals (RFPs).
The Proposal & Contracts Suite
The Proposal & Contract Suite is the CAP component that helps you prepare successful business proposals and contracts. It is comprehensive and fully customizable. With the suite you can:
· Shred Your RFP
Analyze (shred or parse) your RFPs for terms such as “must,” “shall,” “will,” as well as your custom keywords or phrases. Six file types are supported.
· Excel Templates
Templates provide flexibility. They are:
· Easy to use
· Establish consistency and uniformity
· Helps eliminate rework, errors, and the cut-and-paste method
· Shorten proposal development time
· Apply best practices
· Generate A Compliance Matrix
· Use the Shipley Associates’ template or create a cross-reference compliance matrix
· Auto-populate requirement sections such as Section L
· Filter requirements
· Share your matrix with a single click
· Identify and Validate Acronyms
Your documents can be quickly scanned to identify both defined and undefined acronyms, erroneously or inconsistently used acronyms, and repeatedly defined acronyms.
· Compare Documents
You can identify differences between two similar documents in a side-by-side interactive window. Provides color coded displays of modified, inserted, and deleted document elements.
· Readability Analysis
Determine the readability ranking of segments or paragraphs according to your business concerns.
· Ensure Compliance
The critical need for full compliance can be ensured. Use the duo tools of the cross-reference compliance matrix window, which can identify neglected concerns, and the gap analysis report, which can display missing concepts.
· Compare Resumes
Compare multiple resumes easily. With the Weighted Analysis/ Resumes dynamic application, you can identify what is important for the position you are trying to fill.
Each dynamic application of the CAP is fully customizable, allowing you to create your own solutions.
A Customizable Proposal & Contract Suite
· Each dynamic application is fully customizable. An organization can create its own task workflows that will suit its company’s needs. The applications are versatile and elastic tools.
· RFPs and contractual documents can be thoroughly analyzed and rendered into a structured format. This ensures the discovery of all requirement terms, Federal Acquisition Requirements (FARs), keywords, phrases, and acronyms. Even the customized dictionaries, acronyms, and keyword libraries that are important to a business can be discovered with the suite.