Your Procurement team could spend hours crafting the perfect RFP questionnaire. They could take pains to ensure it's distributed to a selection of the most appealing suppliers out there. They're out of luck, however, if they can't interpret the results. Effectively scoring RFP responses is (at least) as important as constructing an effective RFP in the first place. If your team can't do it, then their effort up to that point was for nothing.

So, why do so many Procurement teams run out of luck at this stage? Chances are they're making one or more of the mistakes Brian Seipel identifies on this week's episode of the Source One Podcast.

It all begins with the right scoring methodology. Seipel suggests that finding the appropriate balance between simplicity and complexity is essential. Too many simple, true/false questions and "your suppliers will end up looking too similar." Ironically enough, a needlessly complex system can have a similar effect. A scale from 1 to 20, for example, raises questions about how suppliers can truly set themselves apart. "I'd challenge anyone," Seipel says, "to properly differentiate a score of '12' from '13.'" 

Procurement teams also run into trouble when they expect too much of their participants. Just because the intent behind a question is clear to Procurement doesn't mean it'll actually resonate once its distributed. Seipel believes that every good RFP provides participants the opportunity to ask questions, gain additional context, and build their understanding. Failing to take this step means allowing an RFP to hinge on assumptions made by participants. Too many of these, Seipel remarks, "and the end result may not align at all with your requirements."

Both internal and external factors, too, can lead an organization to let bias impact its scoring process. Office politics and long-standing supplier relationships alike often lead scorers to tamper with results. In either case, the organization is left with unhelpful responses and no clear path forward.

Subscribe to the Source One Podcast today to hear the rest of the 'Unlucky 13.'
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