How buyers choose

It’s good practice for buyers to have documented their evaluation criteria before they start the procurement. It also avoids accusations that they have “rigged” the procurement. You should ask for a copy, although there is no guaranteeing you’ll get one.  If there is an open session (often called a supplier day) it’s worth asking then as other potential suppliers are likely to support the request. 

Depending on the size of the project and the number of proposals the buyer may have a team of evaluators.  In which case your proposal may be broken into sections so that each member of the team only sees the sections they are responsible for.  Even when the document isn’t broken up the questions will often be marked in isolation and the marks (combined with their weightings) added together to give an overall score.

Key decision makers may not read the full proposals, and even if they do they probably concentrate on the introduction, management summary or overview.  Although the sum of the markings for question responses is important, key decision makers will want to be assured that “their” policy or project will be something that will enhance rather than damage their career.  The overall story needs to leap out of the summary and the themes need to appeal to them.

Buyers are looking for Best Value not necessarily lowest price. To help them make a fair comparison you should place your own monetary value on benefits that you offer. Include independent guidance, where it’s available, to support your arguments.