Where there are Requests for Proposals there should be bidders’ conference calls. Yes, they should be a best practice (See my post of March 18, 2007: basics of teleconferences for bidders; May 21, 2007: auctions and call-ins; Nov. 30, 2007: ten tips for better competitive bids; Aug. 13, 2008: good practices for competitive bids; Jan. 28, 2010: administrators can orchestrate conference calls; and April 19, 2010: reasons for silence when firms dial in.).
After bidding firms have had an opportunity to read the RFP and collect questions they would like to ask, host a teleconference for all the bidders. During it they can all hear the same answers to questions and ask follow-up questions. No one obtains privileged information though sidebar conversations.
Another advantage is that a bidder’s conference makes better use of your lawyers’ time, since they answer questions once and are done, rather than having to field the same question from different firms.
In a recent article I describe conference calls in more detail and recommend ways to conduct them. You can click here to
my article in the National Law Journal.