The government is the largest procurer of goods and services in the world. To attain such status, the government needs to function as a well structured and regulated machine in its RFP process. When RFPs are issued by the government, it gives the client an opportunity to outline exactly what it needs from a vendor in the contract. In turn, the RFP process allows the vendor to demonstrate to the client because they are the best choice for the project. Inherent in that interaction is the opportunity to ask questions before, during, and after receiving an RFP. As with everything in life, asking the right questions is half the battle. For both parties, asking the right questions will put together a stronger RFP. It also manages expectations when it comes to the negotiation process with a client.
Here are the important questions to ask before starting the RFP process:
What Is The problem?
In this discovery process, a vendor can ask the client the purpose of the RFP process. Why are you starting the RFP process? What does your company hope to achieve?
This gives the vendor an opportunity to outline the problem the client is trying to solve. By outlining the pain points and areas for growth, both parties have a clear idea of where the company wants to go and the steps that are needed to achieve the goal.
Do The Goals Of The Project Align With The Goals Of The Company?
Some of the follow-up questions after identifying the major objectives can relate to what the vendors need from the clients. What specifically do the vendors need for the company to work with them? The more details a client can provide the better it is including technical and security requirements. A lot of clients require extensive vendor references to hire them for a project. Another question a vendor might specify is what type of references they want to see from a client. Some vendors prefer to check references such as the scope and shape of the project.
What Is The Scope Of The Project?
The right RFP questions include ones that outline the goals of the project as well as the timeline for deliverables. How long will each phase of the project take? How will parts of the project be adjusted along the way? By defining the project scope and identifying priorities, vendors are given clear directions for implementing a workable plan for execution. It is also important to figure out the company’s budget for the project in this stage. By setting up a budget, vendors have an idea of what you are looking for and will shape their proposals to match the needs of the project.
Who Is The Point Person On The Project?
The last critical question to ask before starting the RFP process is who the right point person on the project is. This helps the client identify who makes the purchasing decisions and brings the most value to the RFP process. It allows the client to stress the importance of meeting and exceeding the needs of the vendor.
By asking the right critical questions, both the vendor and client benefit in the RFP process. From identifying the problem being solved by the RFP to communicating with the right person on the project, the right questions will ensure a successful project.