How to Do RFP Weighted Scoring Cheat Sheet & Webinar Recap

Despite a couple of technical snafus, yesterday's How to do RFP Weighted Scoring webinar came off beautifully! 
Thank you to everyone who joined, we were so grateful for your kind tweets, emails, and insightful questions. 

While we loved presenting the basics of what weighted scoring is, how to determine if it's right for you, and how to do it, our favorite part by far was flipping the script and interviewing our host. 

We had the brilliant Art of Procurement host Phil Ideson running the show, and he very kindly allowed us to pick his brain on everything from scoring horror stories, to tips for avoiding biased questions. 

If you missed the webinar don't worry, you can download the recording here, or keep reading for a brief recap; including a scoring "cheat sheet" as well as answers to all the audience questions.


RFP weighted scoring cheat sheet

Weighted scoring can be incredibly intimidating. But it doesn't have to be. Whether you're a beginner or a pro, this infographic is a great "cheat sheet" to keep handy.

(Right-click to save and/or zoom in on image.) 

Looking for more detail? No problem, here's A Simple Guide to RFP Weighted Scoring eBook. Or download our webinar here


Webinar Recap and Q&A

Recap: the true value of using weighted scoring

Several procurement professionals argue that RFP weighted scoring just "isn't worth the work." And honestly, sometimes it's not.

If you're purchasing commodities or simple products and/or services it's probably not going to to be worth the investment.

But if you're making more complex purchases the ROI can be huge. 

Benefits of using RFP weighted scoring: 

  • It helps your team focus on facts
  • Ensures your team agrees on priorities
  • Makes your best fit more obvious
  • Makes comparing and contrasting easy
  • Provides selection justification
  • Supports confident decision making

Webinar FAQ

We were thrilled to have such an engaged audience, thank you for all the questions you submitted. 

But we didn't want to leave you hanging, so here are your answers, courtesy of Philip Ideson

Q. #1. How should procurement facilitate a conversation with internal stakeholders to determine which RFP category receives what weight?

[PI] Stakeholder participation in the attribution of weightings is critical. You should always partner with stakeholders to build your scoring criteria to ensure that it best represents the needs of your business collectively vs. just the needs of the procurement organization. 

Q. #2. Can you speak about questions that may be 'knock-out' questions that might eliminate the supplier? 

e.g. Do you hire H1B visa employees?  How do you weigh such questions?

[PI] I would make clear any questions that are disqualifiers at the beginning of the RFI or RFP.  This enables the participating suppliers to recognize early in the process that they will not be considered based on those answers.

Q. #3. How would you score past performance / reputation especially when competing against an incumbent that has been performing well? 

[PI] In terms of weighting, it would depend on how important that factor truly is as part of your decision making criteria, and I typically would not see this as something to be scored until you are in final selection rounds.

When you are introducing subjectivity in a situation like this, my recommendation would be to use the incumbent as the baseline.  

So, for example, the incumbent automatically scores a “5” (using a 0-10 scale). The question you would then answer for the other suppliers is “How does the perception of this supplier's performance / reputation compare to the actual performance / reputation of the incumbent (with “5” being the same, “4” or lower being worse, and “6” or higher being better.

Q. #4. One of the slides says that the total weighted scoring does not have to add up to 100, is that normal? My impression it should be 100? 

[PI] My recommendation is that a weighted score of 100 makes it easier for all stakeholders to conceptualize. However, mathematically the total weighted score does not impact the outcome.

Q. #5. How do you ensure you're getting accurate or verifiable answers from vendors?

[PI] A lot of information can be verified through third party sources (such as financial information), or by supplemental documentation that you may request.

However, I would recommend that the most material answers are explored further through Q&A during later rounds via onsite, offsite or remote supplier presentations.

The confidence in the accuracy of the information presented will then be reflected in the scores provided by each stakeholder.

Q. #6. How can you compare : Innovation and Leadership, from different bidders as well as for single one?

[PI] For most purchases, it is likely that there are factors that better lend themselves to strict weighted scoring guidelines that others.

For those that are more subjective (such as innovation and leadership), you will need to ask less rigid questions of the scorers - based on “in your experience” or “in your opinion” for example.

One possible approach is then to only assign the scoring for these questions to members on your team who are best positioned to answer them.

Another is ask stakeholder to score independently, and then facilitate a group conversation to agree collectively.

Ultimately, there are some cases where subjectivity does play a greater role in supplier selection than a numbers based apples to apples comparison.

In these situations, use weighted scoring to baseline the responses in certain categories.

These scores can then be used as part of the decision making process - and importantly - to identify weaknesses in the proposal of the selected supplier that must be mitigated during scoping, contracting and governance.

Q. #7. Can you speak to questions that would allow a supplier to add attachments? It can be tough to then compare apples to apples when you allow the supplier to attach whatever they want. My experience shows that suppliers will attach much more than you want to review.

[PI] Agreed. An invitation to allow attachments can be an invitation to the supplier to provide their entire book of marketing collateral!  

My experience is to provide an example of the format that all attachments must be submitted in - for example, the attachment must answer only the question as asked. You can make it a disqualifier if a supplier answers differently than requested.  

However, it is important, particularly when you are buying services and solutions vs. a commoditized product, that you are providing an opportunity for the supplier to propose a solution which may be different from what you have specified.

In these instances, my recommendation is ask the stakeholders to score the response based on their perception that it meets the ultimate outcome that they are seeking to buy.  

Q. #.8 Is there an industry standard for weighted score (private or public sector)?

E.g. consultancy services: 50% price, 20% legal tags, 10% references, 20% methodology. If there is, where can I view it?

[PI]  No. The scores used are particular to the requirements of your organization, and the factors that as a team you believe will play the biggest role in determining which supplier best fits your needs.



Didn't register? Don't worry, simply click the image below to download the recording. 

Learn how to do RFP weighted scoring [webinar]