What Is RFP Scoring? How Does It Work?
RFP scoring may not be on your agenda. This process can take a lot of time and effort. But if you want to ensure that you are picking the right vendor and make the right business decisions, then RFP scoring is important.
RFP scoring can help you determine which business partnership can be the most valuable to your organization. If you need help with your mobile app development and want a vendor, you can use RFP scoring to gather insights on which one matches your business needs. This saves you from making mistakes by picking companies that are not compatible with your organization and leads to a waste of time and resources.
In this article, we will discuss what RFP scoring is and how you can use it effectively to make the right business decisions.
What is RFP Scoring?
Request for proposal scoring, also known as proposal scoring, is the process of allocating numerical values to vendor responses in the RFP document. The purpose of RFP scoring is to gather insights that can help make accurate and objective decisions on which vendor is the right match for your company.
When you receive responses from prospective vendors it can be complicated to judge based on their answers whether they are the right fit or not. Grading these responses and comparing them can help you find out which prospective vendor is the best among others. Scores can enable you to quickly evaluate which vendor you want to pick.
Types of RFP Scoring
In this type of scoring all the questions or criteria are given a score between 1 to 10. This is not always the best method as all the criteria are given the same score. Which means that all criteria are important. This can be inaccurate at times as there will be certain criteria that are more important than others.
This method enables you to prioritize different aspects of your RFP and their importance for your business. This scoring model helps you get a clearer picture of which vendor can offer the best solution to your problems. This type of scoring is commonly used by many businesses. You can assign values based on the importance of each question. This also helps vendors spend more time on factors that are more significant to you. Remember that this type of scoring can get complex compared to basic scoring.
Hierarchical structures enable you to group certain criteria together. Each category or subcategory will be assigned a score and a weight score based on its importance.
How To Do RFP Scoring
Requirements discovery phase
RFP scoring starts before you create your RFP document. For selecting the right vendors first, you need to determine your requirements. These requirements set the base for your RFP scoring.
Include your key stakeholders or team members to help list out all the requirements that are important for your project. These stakeholders can be from different departments who will be involved in the project. Hence, they can give more ideas on what your requirements should be.
Here are some questions you can discuss:
What are your goals and objectives?
How do you plan to achieve these goals?
What features and functionality do you need?
How will you categorize your RFP questions?
Here are some examples of RFP categories:
Company background and general information
Features, specifications, and functionalities
Determine scoring approach
Once you come up with the list of RFP requirements, you will need to determine which RFP scoring approach you want to go with. We discussed some approaches or types of RFP scoring you can opt for.
For example, if you feel that all criteria or questions are equally important then you can go for basic scoring. You can give a standard scale of 1-10. After you choose your RFP scoring approach you can start writing RFP questions to gather the necessary data.
If you are using the weighted scoring approach discussed above, then you will need the help of your team members to determine which requirements in each category are important. Then you can assign weight to each category, for example, functionality 30% or technical requirements 10%, etc.
For weighted scoring you can pick any scale like 1-5. This scale can be used for all questions if they are multiple choice or open ended. Write all your RFP questions down for all the information you need. Then determine how you want the questions to be scored.
Assign high score to the question that has the best response and lower score if it’s not up to the mark. For example, if an answer meets all your requirements, you can give it 5 points, if it meets almost all your requirements then give it a 4 and so on. If it does not meet your requirements, then give it 1 point.
Create your scorecard
Create a scorecard to track the scores of each response to make it easy for you to evaluate. To keep things simple, pick a few vendors and the number of questions. If you choose to evaluate too many responses it can get more complex and time consuming.
Evaluators should be on the same page
You may have two or more evaluators who will go through the responses and help in picking the best ones. There could be many issues that crop up while deciding. Each evaluator may have different ways to interpret the responses.
Provide evaluators with examples of the ideal answers you are looking for. This helps all the team members to stay on the same page and have a clear idea of how to score each response. This way you reduce the chances of any discrepancies in the evaluation process. It becomes easier for the evaluators to arrive at the same conclusion when they have a clear idea of what is needed.
Interpreting the results
Do you pick the vendor with the highest score? Not necessarily. There may be times when picking the candidate with the highest score does not make sense. In this situation, you can reevaluate your selection criteria.
You can select the candidate with the highest score if they meet the evaluators selection criteria set by your team. Sometimes if you don’t pick the high scoring candidate you may have certain reasons. Your RFP scoring should give you a clear picture of which vendor you want to pick. You can revisit your scoring criteria to make the decision accurate.
An RFP document is a great way to collect information from prospective vendors and RFP scoring helps you evaluate this information. Include your team members who have different expertise to help you set the scoring criteria. The requirements they provide can help you come up with questions for each category and analyze all the insights. It can seem like a lot of work but this can prevent any business risks or mistakes as you will pick a vendor who offers the right solutions.