Before you respond to a RFP/RFQ solicitation you should first know its complete story. Only then will you be able to answer the question- do you have a good chance of being selected? OK, that’s obvious.
But what’s not so clear is knowing what goes into qualifying a RFP/RFQ opportunity as something worthy to bet your resources.
Last year, a small business owner put in a lot of time and effort to respond to thirty RFP/RFQ vendor solicitations- and won zero. Turns out she responded to the wrong opportunities. Even though her business could satisfy the requirements, she didn’t know the “story” behind those thirty RFPs. If she had, she would never have responded. Instead, she would have found other RFP/RFQ opportunities whose complete story is more compatible to her organization.
More importantly, she must realize that the real story often times has nothing to do with the RFP/RFQ’s scope of work requirements. The story usually includes hidden themes that can outweigh scope of work requirements.
So, gather your team and explore the theme(s) behind the RFP/RFQ solicitation’s story when it comes your way. Your assessment should go way beyond the obvious question of whether you can satisfy the scope of work. For example, consider how compatible these potential story themes are to your organization in terms of: goals/objectives, culture, size, industry, etc.
- What is the real purpose of the solicitation? Does the contractor really want your business or is s/he just price checking to ensure that a preferred vendor’s offer is competitively priced?
- How important is relative experience in the industry represented by the RFP/RFQ contractor? I’m not talking about the industry inferred by the scope of work requirements but rather the organization that issued the solicitation.
- Can the “size” of the project be perceived to outweigh the “size” of your organization in the eyes of the RFP/RFQ contractor’s vendor response evaluation person or committee?
- Given the apparent complexity of the RFP/RFQ opportunity, do you even want to deal with the organization that issued the solicitation?
- Does the overall scope of work seem like an uncoordinated/impractical wish list that is better off divided into more reasonable parcels?
- How does the projected timing of the work to be done compare to the contractor’s organizational budget cycle?
I can go on and on and on, but you get the idea.
So, what RFP/RFQ solicitation story themes can you think of? Send your themes to me and I will share with everyone.