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Part 4: Managing Questions and answers (Q&A)

In this part, we talk about best practice when it comes to your Q&A process.

Generic Room with Question Icon

Key takeaways

  • Set daily question limits for bidders
  • VDRs automate your Q&A process
  • Set up advanced workflows to members of your team

In our experience, newcomers to the VDR landscape find Q&A to be the most time-consuming parts of a due diligence process. This is usually because they were unprepared for the sheer volume of questions that bidders send through.

If you’ve read the other parts in this series then you’ll know what to do to minimise the number of questions you will get (not to say you still won’t be receiving a few!)

Top tip! It’s worth being aware that some bidders use Q&A to put the seller on the backfoot by bombarding them with questions. If you ever think this could be the case, you can set daily question limits on a bidder, case-by-case.

How did Q&A work before virtual data rooms?
Before the life-saving introduction of the VDR, each bidder would traditionally send an excel spreadsheet full of questions to the co-ordinator on the seller’s team. They would then forward the relevant topics to the subject matter experts (SMEs) and await their answers to be sent back to the bidder. This was all done through e-mail.

This process is both inefficient and unreliable. It relies on one individual to ensure that SMEs only receive questions intended for them. More importantly that each bidder only receives answers to the questions they’ve asked, all while making sure nothing was missed.

Doesn’t sound that bad… right? Right... If you receive 10 questions a day, when you’re receiving multiple of this every day then you can see how the process became messy and unfit for purpose.

How does the VDR manage Q&A?
Your VDR will automate this process. It’s able to integrate with excel (keeping everyone happy). At the simplest level, bidders can bulk upload their questions from excel to the VDR. The seller will receive them and can assign them directly to the SMEs who will receive an alert to notify them.

Once your SME has answered the question, the bidder is immediately notified – no room for human error!

Top tip! If your Q&A requires a more advanced workflow, we have a robust tool with features that ensure even a multi-step workflow is simple and easy to track.

What Q&A features should I be aware of?

  1. Auto-routing questions: If you know your tax questions will all go to one individual, you can cut out the middleman and have them automatically sent to the right SME

  2. Bulk answer upload: Some of your senior employees might not log into your VDR – you can download questions to e-mail to them, they can answer in excel which can be bulk-uploaded back into the system.

  3. Workflow approval: If you’d like questions and answers on both sides to be approved before they’re sent, you’re able to add a workflow to the Q&A process easily.
  4. FAQs: If you’re getting the same questions, or you’d like to add some competitive tension you can mark questions to be added to your FAQ section, so all your bidders can see what’s been asked frequently.

  5. Document Assign: documents can be attached to questions and answers as a point of reference.

  6. Threading: If an answer is received and there’s a follow-up, the bidder can simply ask a secondary question, underneath the umbrella original

All of these features can be implemented for you by your project manager and their customer service team. If you’d like to find out more about what you could be doing to speed up your Q&A process, simply give them a call.