What are the Best Practices for Responding to Buyers on Cloudscene?
When you receive a lead through Cloudscene, this means you’ve been invited to bid on an RFQ created by a buyer on Cloudscene’s Marketplace.
The lead you’ve received could be a public listing for the open market, a private listing for a select group of providers or a quote request meant just for your organization.
Alternatively, you could be an approved vendor for the organization, receiving a direct request from your customer through Cloudscene to help the buyer streamline their procurement process.
Whichever way you receive a lead, the RFQ has been through an initial qualifying process with the Cloudscene Customer Success team and is now being sent to you because the buyer is ready to receive budgetary pricing.
In this guide, we cover best practices and tips for submitting a high-quality response that will deliver a customer-first experience for the buyer and, importantly, increase the likelihood of you being awarded the opportunity.
#1 How to Submit a Bid
To submit a bid on Cloudscene, you first need to ensure you have a Cloudscene account. It’s free to join; click here to set-up an account with us.
If you’ve been invited to bid on a Marketplace listing, you will have received a link to the RFQ details. Simply click on the link (you’ll be asked to log in if you haven’t already) and read through the buyer’s requirements to ensure you can service the customer.
You can also bid on public listings simply by browsing Cloudscene Marketplace for requirements your organization can fulfil, clicking on a listing link, and following the steps to first register your intent to bid and then provide a quote.
If you can fulfil the requirements, responding to the RFQ is as easy as completing the form at the bottom of the listing and attaching any additional documentation requested by the buyer. It’s important to enter a complete, clear, detailed and valuable response for the buyer in all four fields and to attach all requested documentation.
Responses to buyers that do not meet these requirements may be rejected by Cloudscene. If your response is rejected, we will email you explaining why to give you the opportunity to rectify it. If you have any questions about a listing being rejected, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: you can also upload up to five attachments at 5MB per file. If you require any support during the bidding process, please email email@example.com. We’re here to help!
#2 Hot Tips for Successful Bids
Respond in a timely manner
Try to respond as quickly as possible to the Marketplace listing. We recommend providing your intention to bid to the buyer within two business days and submitting your bid 2-3 days before the closing date. Service providers who bid quickly with a high-quality response and competitive pricing increase the likelihood of being shortlisted.
You’ll see the “Submit Bid” button in the top right hand side of a listing. This will appear when you have clicked “Intend to Bid” and will take you down the page straight to the bid submission form so you can submit a bid right away if you wish.
Be sure to check the expiry of the Marketplace listing at the time of receipt to ensure you don’t miss the deadline for receiving bids. You can see down to the minute when a listing is going to expire; hovering over the time remaining will display the end date and time relative to your timezone.
If you first need some time to plan and organize your quote for a listing (whether you’re invited or have found it on Marketplace), you can indicate your intent to bid to show the buyer you’re serious about providing a quote and will do this as soon as possible.
If you are unable to fulfil the service, we highly recommend letting the buyer know by indicating that your organization is a ‘no bid’ for the listing.
If you’re invited to quote a listing, you’ll be given the option to select the ‘No Bid’ button for the opportunity in My Marketplace. Remember to select a reason as to why you’ve decided to decline to bid so the buyer has transparency over this.
Consider each requirement specification
Please ensure you read the buyer’s requirements carefully and construct a response to each point. If there are multiple services listed in the RFQ and your organization is not able to bid on all services, you can indicate which requirements you cannot fulfil by selecting the ‘Unable to bid for this requirement’ checkbox in the bid form and submit a ‘Partial Bid’.
Be sure to supply attachments if requested and address the budgetary price, lead time and terms and conditions in your response based on the buyer’s requirements.
Provide accurate and competitive pricing
Provide specific, detailed, accurate, and competitive pricing in your response. Responses that do not include specific, detailed, and accurate pricing may be rejected by Cloudscene. If you have any questions about a listing being rejected, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buyers on Cloudscene are more likely to select a service provider who supplies a detailed and accurate quote for services within their response. If necessary, you can provide an estimated quote (provided you are transparent about the estimation) and then follow up later with a more accurate quote.
Supply specific information around installation and lead time
Provide a realistic estimate on the installation date and lead time needed to fulfil the buyer’s requirements. State whether or not you can fulfil the RFS date clearly in the response form.
Include need-to-know information on terms and conditions
Ensure you address any additional information that is critical to fulfilling the buyer’s listing requirements. This might include the terms of the supplied quote, any additional options you can provide, or specific exclusions that you want to call out. You can attach terms and conditions that apply to your quote within the response form, as well as including terms in the response form itself.
Be clear, coherent, and structured
When writing your response:
- Use plain language to ensure the buyer knows exactly what you can offer
- Structure your text in a way that is easy to read – for example, in a similar order to the listing requirement specifications
- Be as precise as possible, especially when stating numerical data, e.g Monthly Recurring Charges
Note: You do not need to include contact information as this will automatically be shared with the buyer as part of your response.
For reference, here is an example of a high-quality Marketplace listing response:
If the listing mentions submitting a bid with specific documentation, please ensure you supply the necessary information before you respond. Responses that do not supply required documentation may be rejected by Cloudscene. If you have any questions about a listing being rejected, please email email@example.com.
#3 Tracking and managing opportunities
Assigning / being assigned an opportunity
If you have ‘Sales Management’ permissions on Cloudscene, you’ll have the ability to assign opportunities to your team members so you can streamline the way your organization manages listing responses.
What can I do with ‘Sales Management’ permissions?
With this level of access on Cloudscene, you have comprehensive capabilities for managing the leads your company receives and collaborating with your sales team. Specifically, you can:
- – Receive email notifications on behalf of your company that alert you to new opportunities (you can set this by region, so you only receive notifications most relevant to you/your role)
- – Assign incoming quote requests to team members for them to action
- – See your company’s opportunities by team members including the status (intend to bid, awaiting bid, no bid, bid received) and the details of the bids submitted.
When you’ve assigned an opportunity, this listing is then taken on by that team member and they are responsible for following through with the quotation process.
If you’re looking to assign an opportunity to a colleague that doesn’t have a Cloudscene account, you can add them at the assigning stage – simply click on ‘Assign’ and you’ll be guided on how to invite your colleague to join Cloudscene. The opportunity will then be automatically assigned to them when they verify their account.
Alternatively, you can go to your corporate team, navigate to the “Team” tab and select the “Invite team member” button.
If you’re a team member who’s been assigned an opportunity, you’ll become the owner of this opportunity, and you’ll be responsible for responding to the buyer’s listing. You may receive reminders to bid if it gets near to the expiration date.
Bid progress and performance
You can track and manage your opportunities in My Marketplace via the ‘Sell’ tab within Cloudscene Marketplace.
You’ll be able to see which listings you’ve been invited to quote and are awaiting your bid, which listings you’ve bid on, when you’ve been shortlisted by the buyer to fulfil their requirements for a particular listing, and which listings you’ve given successful or unsuccessful quotes on, as well as any listings that are completed.
To take an action on a listing, simply click on its link. It’s particularly important to keep tabs on listings where you’ve accepted the buyer’s invitation to bid and/or you’ve ‘intended to bid’ and you’ve not yet provided a quote. Once you do so, the listing will move from the ‘Opportunities’ section to the ‘Pending Buyer Decision’ section until it reaches ‘Completed’.
Pending and completed opportunities
A ‘Pending Buyer Decision’ opportunity means that your bid on a listing is in review by the buyer. Buyers will strive to give you feedback (and notify you on whether your bid was successful or unsuccessful) as soon as possible. However, this may take until the listing expiry date is up.
A ‘Completed’ opportunity is one that has moved from the pending stage and where the buyer has selected a service provider to fulfil their requirements. You’ll find complete opportunities organized into this section of My Marketplace whether you’ve been successful or unsuccessful with your bid.
What if the buyer on the listing is already a customer?
You may find that your existing customers may request pricing from you via Cloudscene’s Marketplace. Responding through the Cloudscene platform will help your customers streamline their sourcing processes by receiving pricing and managing communications with you in an entirely digital way.
Therefore, it’s important to support the customer’s decision to use the platform to collate their bids, please ensure you respond with a quotation via the response form even if you have the buyer’s direct contact details. Some buyers may even enter their account manager’s details to ensure the invitation to bid goes directly to the person managing their relationship with your organization.
What if the buyer edits or ends a listing before its expiry date?
If a buyer edits their listing to update their requirements and you’ve already communicated that you intend to bid on the listing, or have already submitted a bid, you’ll be notified and invited to re-submit your quote if the changes require a new quotation.
Sometimes a buyer may end a listing before its expiry date – this may be because they don’t wish to receive any further quotes. If this happens and you didn’t bid on the listing in time, you’ll be notified and often provided with a reason from the buyer, but unfortunately, you won’t be able to submit a bid on that listing. Please contact the Cloudscene team for more information and support if needed.
Do we pay commission on leads through Cloudscene?
Cloudscene does not charge a commission or referral fee for leads generated through our platform. Our role in this process is to bring together the buyers and sellers into one independent and neutral digital marketplace, which is backed by the most extensive industry data and market intelligence worldwide.
We’re here to support you in generating more leads and successfully winning new business on our platform.
How can I get the buyer’s contact details?
If a buyer has not listed their contact details on the marketplace listing, then we are not able to share this information with you. Rest assured when you submit an approved marketplace response that your bid is going directly to the customer, and if you’re successful, the buyer’s contact details will be exposed to you at the final stage.
I would like to qualify the buyer first – how do we do this?
The Customer Success Team at Cloudscene has taken the necessary steps to ensure that all of the information required in order to submit a bid is available to you. If you need more information on the buyer, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions and provide the link to the listing you’re referring to. A Customer Success Manager will be in touch ASAP to assist you.
How do I request more information on the buyer’s requirements?
If you’re in need of more information before submitting a bid, please contact email@example.com with your questions and provide the link to the listing you’re referring to. A Customer Success Manager will be in touch ASAP to assist you.
How can I get notified about future opportunities?
To receive marketplace invitations to bid, you need to be part of your organization’s team on Cloudscene and have the required permissions turned on in your Account Settings. Contact your team Administrator about your permissions or reach out to Cloudscene support for assistance with settings or team permissions.