An RFP, or a request for proposal, can be time-consuming and challenging to navigate, even if you are already using software to make the RFP process go more smoothly.
Not all RFP software offers the same features and related benefits, and some RFP software will stand out from others, and what works for you and your business might be different than what works for someone else. There are some general attributes you should look for as you peruse RFP software reviews, and then there may be specific features that you should look for when it comes to what works best for your company.
Read on to learn more about different types of RFP management software and how you can reach a decision that’s best for your company.
What Should All RFP Management Software Have?
A request for proposal is when a business, agency, or nonprofit outlines a specific project’s requirements. They send the RFP to qualified vendors to understand capabilities and related costs to help make the best decision.
The RFP process has many layers, so having the best RFP software is advantageous when navigating this end of procurement management.
Some of the aspects of every piece of RFP management software should include is:
- Usability and collaboration. You are likely not the only person accessing the system or in charge of procurement management. Thus, your RFP management software should be easy enough for all participants to use and access it—including those not in purchasing and procurement. If your suppliers or colleagues require training to use the software that is supposed to save you time, it can cause headaches, and your ROI will be less than expected.
- Integrated dashboards. Similarly to everyone being collaborative, you want RFP tools that include dashboards that everyone can access. That way, other team members can see the progress of their projects and those of other members or departments. This avoids unnecessary question-asking, emails, and phone calls.
- A knowledge library. You want your RFP tools to enable knowledge transfer and knowledge sharing across your company’s teams or divisions. It should be easy to find relevant content (templates, suppliers, products, services) that a colleague has used similar to the project you’re working on. It can be time-consuming to go on a wild goose chase for something you know was done a few years ago. A powerful, searchable library will find it for you quickly and save you time in creating your RFP.
- Automation. You want your RFP tools to streamline the process, in an automated fashion to focus on more of the strategic tasks in the process. In addition, good software can also help with supplier reminders, RFP Scoring, or bid analysis, not to mention [award optimization].
What Are Different Types of RFP Management Software?
There are different types of RFP software that perform different functions.
Common types of software include:
- RFP project management tools. These can be collaborative and bring everyone together who’s working on the RFP process. These let others view your tasks, calendars, and dashboards concerning RFPs.
- Proposal collaboration tools. These can be as simple as Google Docs (which you can work on together collaboratively) or paid software that’s designed with RFP functions in mind. As you’re making an RFP software comparison, you can decide which works best for you. Ultimately, these tools should have a knowledge library and be searchable.
- Time-tracking software. This is a great way to look at both productivity and billable hours (and anyone working as a freelancer or independent contractor, or IC). Using this type of software as you build RFPs is a good way to boost your efficiency.
- End-to-end RFP management software. This is a dedicated type of software that is meant for RFP managers and their teams to enable a more efficient process and can also be used by the rest of the company. If you’re in search of an overhaul, this may be a good option.
- Proposal content and design tools. Content and design are equally important, and there are different types of software geared for each. Content will help you with your writing and design will help you with the layout of your proposals.
To learn more about RFP management software or to request a demo, contact EC Sourcing Group at call 866-353-9737, option 1 to hear about how we can help streamline your procurement process.