Establishing a bid process with which you can regularly receive optimal bid responses may seem like a daunting task.  However, it’s achievable with the right steps and tools.  There are numerous simple ways to leverage scalable, cloud-based contract management software for streamlined RFP, RFI and RFQ management, and better bid responses.  Here are six ways to get more quality bid responses from suppliers.

1. Enhance bid advertising

The current climate of bid and solicitation management encourages organisations to embrace paperless RFPs.  Rather than physically accepting and managing bids, it’s easy to manage bids and solicitations electronically.

With electronic bid management software integrated with an intelligent online bid advertising platform, businesses like yours are provided with a unified, enhanced bidder and supplier experience.  Exposure to a robust supplier community can drive more competitive bid responses to help maximise contract award budgets.  And the seamless integration between bid management software solutions and online bid advertising portals can consolidate the advertisement process and communication between buying organisations and suppliers.

Additionally, you can choose whether you want to advertise bids publicly or set bids to be accessible by invite only.  This strategy can significantly reduce costs that stem from manual and paper-led tasks, and can give you more control over your bid advertising process.

2. Establish clear supplier criteria

Don’t post a bid before you have identified your supplier requirements.  you need to make your needs clear in your bid advertisement because prospective vendors are unlikely to invest their time responding to bids if they don’t understand the scope.

So, ask yourself: What are my supplier criteria?  Is cost the primary factor?  What about supplier experience?  How vital are functional capabilities?

Regardless of your criteria, you should document general categories, describe them and assign a weight (rating and scoring are explained later in this article) to each of those categories.  These criteria should be made public to suppliers in bid advertisements to set the most transparent expectations as possible.

3. Engage in supplier Q&A

After you have authored a solicitation and advertised a bid, you should allow your potential suppliers to ask questions.  Leading electronic bid management software offers helpful question and answer tools so that you have a simple and transparent means of communication with your supplier prospects.

You can define deadlines for questions and answers and set alerts so that your bid and solicitation management software users receive notifications when a question is asked and/or when due dates for questions and answers are near, improving punctuality and accountability.

You can also decide how to respond to your bidding suppliers, either by answering questions one-by-one on an online portal or providing answers on a spreadsheet.  Answers should promptly be made available to participating suppliers.  This way, they all have an equal opportunity to apply this information to their bid responses.

4. Rate and score suppliers

After establishing supplier criteria, you can use esourcing software to create supplier response ratings and scorecards.  This functionality can be used to quantitatively measure a bidding supplier’s response based on rating criteria and how suppliers compares to other bid respondents.

For more control, you can also use reverse line item auctioning to award multiple suppliers separate components of a bid.

5. Set sensible supplier response deadlines

To get the most from your supplier pool and ensure a fair bid process, you need to give your prospective suppliers ample time to prepare quality and comprehensive responses.  Deadlines may include submitting a notice that shows intent-to-bid, registration for bid events, the submission deadline for questions and answers, bid open date, bid close date and other bid process deadlines.

Consistent deadlines that allow suppliers time to submit fully formed responses can help you reduce any bias that might occur from overly tight deadlines, which mean some suppliers hastily submitting an incomplete proposal or don’t respond at all.

With due dates that consider fair timelines, you can enjoy a more extensive and diverse pool of suppliers.

6. Adhere to set rules

As detailed above, there are clear guidelines to ensure your bid and solicitation management is inclusive for all suppliers, so that it can increase your chances of receiving quality bid responses.  Criteria for supplier selection, as well as further specifications shared through questions and answers, are established before your bid process occurs.

Overall, if you have an easy-to-understand, fully electronic, and fair bid process that leverages leading bid and solicitation management software allowing prospective suppliers to compete fairly, suppliers will be more inclined to offer their best prices, present their best offerings and work hard to earn your business.

Get better bid responses today

Enlist the help of a robust source-to-contract software platform for better RFP management – with Contract Insight®.

Contract Insight is an award-winning bid management, sourcing, procurement, and contract management solution that transforms eSourcing, RFP management, purchase requisition, eProcurement, contract lifecycle management, government contract management and much more. 

Contract Insight from Four

Contract Insight is a cloud-hosted (SaaS) or deployed (on-premise) contract management solution.  The acclaimed platform is trusted by thousands of professionals for their contract management, legal document managementprocurement and sourcing needs.  Used by many Fortune 500 companies, Contract Insight gives you real time visibility into your contracts. It doesn’t just shore up your security; it will help you meet contract compliance regulations, centralise your contract management and improve your overall contract administration process.

For more information, contact John O’Brien, CEO at Four Business Solutions, global business consultants and software integrators providing business processes improvements in FinanceSupply Chain and Operations, across a broad range of industries.