I recently helped a client develop the scope and evaluation criteria for a service related Request for Proposals they want to issue. Even though this was for a client, not a bidder, it emphasized how important it is for you to understand your client’s evaluation matrix when you are bidding and strategically positioning your bid and pricing to benefit from it.

The initiative included establishing how the price and the written RFP proposal response was scored and how those scores would be combined to arrive at a final score that selects the successful bidder.

The scoring of the price is what was interesting. When you took the default scoring method and tested it with scenarios, it revealed a potential situation that could result in a bid with a relatively high price, but not the highest, winning even if their technical score was only slightly higher than the lower bidder. The key was how wide the pricing spread is between the bidders. The higher price wouldn’t be so bad for the client in this case, based on their needs, as long as the technical capabilities and proposal response were superior. Unfortunately, that wasn’t guaranteed with this scoring method. While the scenario we tested included some extreme pricing variations, it illustrated a simple but important point that you should consider when bidding.

The lesson is that you should carefully examine the evaluation points, their distribution and how they are calculated, particularly for pricing and the relationship between different pricing components if they are separately assessed. By understanding them and how different scenarios play-out, you can establish your pricing and bidding strategy accordingly. I’ve seen it before, where a smart strategy that plays to the evaluation scoring is the deciding factor in winning an RFP.

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