Evaluation of Consulting Proposals: 6 tips for an objective process

When you launch a project, you can always hope that the consultant will understand your needs, and writing a clear RFP is a crucial step in that direction. It will help you to get the best consulting proposals. But then how do evaluate them objectively?

On this week’s Smart consulting Sourcing podcast, Consulting Sourcing Expert Hélène Laffitte explains how to make sure you have an objective evaluation process of consulting proposals.

Key Takeaways

Evaluating proposals is tricky. Of course, consulting is special. It is an intangible service. You are sold intelligence and expertise. But it is possible. And our experience shows that if you implement these 6 steps you will improve the success of your projects.

Procurement is one of the backbones of your company path to increasing its ROI and keeping its competitive advantage once you have defined in your RFP.

you need to embark those other stakeholders in the evaluation process to get the best consulting proposals because that’s where actually project management starts.

When you work with consultants you will always have some stakeholders that have personal agendas, so if an evaluator has worked with this particular consulting firm or a similar one it is very likely that it will impact the scoring, good or bad.

You might learn a thing or two by exploring these consulting proposals and getting the evaluators to explain their choices but bottom line is the best result will be a consensus score.

Transcript

Hello and welcome to episode 35 of podcast, smart consulting sourcing. The podcast about consulting procurement.

My name is Helene and I’ll be your host today.

Each week I’ll give you the keys to better use manage and source consulting services. This week I’ll discuss how to evaluate consulting proposals to select the best providers for your needs.

Last week I explained how to measure the performance in consulting.

We saw that the measure of performance of an intangible service like consulting is not easy. But it has many advantages: it helps solve issues on a given project and it helps also to identify high and low performers.

In the long run, you will be able to make sure your consulting spend is aligned with your strategy.

But today is about the evaluation step in the consulting sourcing process. But, let’s start with how complex and important the procurement process is for consulting services?

Procurement is one of the backbones of your company’s path to increasing its ROI and keeping its competitive advantage. Once you have defined, in your RFP, a list of criteria to evaluate the proposals, you can start from there and add the other requirements that you did not include in their RFP.

You have also decided how much you’re willing to invest in the project. Estimating your budget is key to selecting the most promising proposals. Think first about the value you expect from your project and then decide how much you’re ready to spend to get these results.

You can also request a presentation of the most promising proposals, and ask the consultant to comment on their proposals. And you might end up changing the order of your top three preliminary choices.

So, the procurement process for consulting is too critical to be left to a flat averaging of reviewer scores. With that complexity, you should strive for clarity and simplicity. When evaluating proposals of prospective consulting providers, this principle cannot be more true.

So, let me show you six of my little secrets to evaluating proposals objectively, and never forget that your main goal is finding the best proposal that fits your projects and your organization’s needs.

Analyze the consulting proposals first

Some consultants are really brilliant, they will owe you during the presentation but does that mean that they are the right one? Maybe, so you have to take a step back and consider your list of criteria so you can start grading the proposals.

So, your first step is to analyze the consulting proposals. So, of course, you have to go through a proposal analysis. You have to look at those proposals, compare them with your RFP, and compare them with your needs. And make sure that the consultants are answering your questions and that they give you enough information to make an informed decision.

Put the right team together

But there’s another thing that is extremely important when you assess proposals: It’s to put together a team and get a consensus score.

So, why do we recommend that? Because it’s important to find consensus with your colleagues.

You rarely are the only person involved in a consulting project. You usually have other stakeholders. And so, you need to embark on those other stakeholders in the evaluation process to get the best proposals. Because that’s where actually project management starts.

Find the right team

So, you’re going to ask me who is well suited to be an evaluator? Of course, when you have a diverse team of evaluators, you might end up with different scores. And that can be a problem sometimes but don’t exclude the outliers too quickly.

You might learn a thing or two by exploring these proposals and getting the evaluators to explain their choices. But, bottom line, the best result will be a consensus score.

Get rid of personal agendas

When you work with consultants, you will always have some stakeholders that have personal agendas. So if an evaluator has worked with this particular consulting firm or a similar one, it is very likely that it will impact the scoring, good or bad.

You can also be in a situation where a reviewer uses the scoring to put a personal agenda into play, and a move that can be revealed in building the consensus.

Aim for a consensus and nothing less

So, it’s highly recommended to overcome any personal agendas. And the way to do that is to discuss the different scores, adjust the grades on each criterion and also balance the relative weight of each criterion.

Each person in the room should have a say in the discussion, to make sure that you build a sound consensus. So finally, a selection is more likely to be perceived as fair by the different suppliers, and the stakeholders in the employees if you have a consensus score.

Of course, it sounds as if it is small work than a simple matrix of ‘x’ criteria and ‘y’ answers. And yes, it is actually. But the outcome will be worth it. Because you will find a workable solution that will help your company win a competitive edge.

Get to a second round if you are not happy

But sometimes, you don’t have a proposal that fits your requirements. So when you find yourself in a case where there is no consulting proposal that matches either your requirements or your budget.

Do not hesitate to have a second round of discussions with the shortlisted companies.

Because the better the consultants understand your needs, the better they will be able to tailor the solution, scope, timing, and team size to accommodate your requirements.

As you can see evaluating proposals is tricky of course consulting is special it’s an intangible service and you are sold intelligence and expertise. But it is possible and our experience shows that if you implement these 6 steps, you will improve the success of your projects.

Well, that’s it for today, next time I’ll explain how to boost the ROI of your consulting spend.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or want to learn more about what we do at consulting quests, just send me an email at Helene.laffitte@consultingquest.com

You can also have a look at our website smartconsultingsources.com to know more about our book and download free templates and guides to improve your consulting sourcing.

Bye and see you next week! Au revoir!

See you at the next episode. Till then, stay safe and stay connected with us through our community on LinkedIn

and follow our Twitter handle  @ConsQuest. Don’t forget to like and subscribe to our channels

Podbean

YouTube

Happy Sourcing!

Useful Links :

Gergana Nikolova, the director of Adventure Travel Trade Association is in conversation with David Beurle, the CEO of Future IQ about the connection between adventure tourism and sustainability and more. #AdventureTourism #travel . @ITB_Berlin

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FN7u_WgWkBo

How should corporate decision-makers respond to the fallout from the conflict to manage Russia/Ukraine exposure? AlixPartners has come up with a unique tool that can help those adapting to a possible escalation of sanctions. #Aviation #Recovery #Travel

https://blog.alixpartners.com/post/102hq7r/turbulence-ahead-ukraine-crisis-presents-long-term-issues-for-commercial-aerospa

To recapture business lost to the pandemic, T&H brands will need to enhance the overall experience ecosystem. This article from Cognizant discusses ways to blend CX and EX. #Travel #CustomerExperience #AdventureTourism #Recovery @Cognizant

https://digitally.cognizant.com/rejuvenating-leisure-travel-with-a-more-holistic-experience-codex6976

When it comes to sourcing consulting projects, there are at least seven steps that require your attention. Where should you focus your efforts to maximize your value from the process? This insightful piece can be of great help in your understanding.

https://consultingquest.com/insights/focusing-efforts-to-maximize-value/

The first year of the COVID-19 pandemic walloped corporate travel spend. This insightful report from Deloitte dwells on the future of corporate travel in the upcoming months. #CorporateTravel #Recovery @Deloitte
https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/focus/transportation/business-travel-trends-outlook-2022.html

Load More

Helene Laffitte

Hélène Laffitte is the CEO of Consulting Quest, a Global Performance-Driven Consulting Platform. With a blend of experience in Procurement and Consulting, Hélène is passionate about helping Companies create more value through Consulting. To find out more, visit the blog or contact her directly.

You May Also Like…

Consulting Buyers
Consulting Market is booming for consultants: How to stay ahead as a consulting buyer?

Consulting Market is booming for consultants: How to stay ahead as a consulting buyer?

In this episode of the Smart Consulting Sourcing Podcast series, Helene shares some insider tips that consulting buyers can follow to stay ahead in this rapidly changing landscape and buy consulting services like a boss. Only a person with deep familiarity with the industry can coin these techniques and they can be very effective in earning a winning edge when it comes to hiring a consultant in a booming consultancy market. So, don't miss it.

Read more