Your Guide to RFP Software
RFP management software is your best friend if you’re trying to streamline your way through the sometimes-complicated process of the RFP (request for proposal) world. If you think about the overall supply chain and how procurement is just one link in the chain, the RFP process is but one link in the procurement chain, but a very important one.
Quite often, it is the most common way organizations source their goods and services, and for certain industries, such as those tied to the government and military, it is the preferred method.
RFP software is nothing new, but you want to make sure you have a suite or software type with the best features that match your company’s goals and objectives. Read on to learn more about the best RFP software and what features you should consider.
RFP Software: The Basics
If you’re new to RFP automation software or you’ve just been using spreadsheets or word processing documents, it’s good to be familiar with the basics of what you need. All of this type of software should speed up and automate your sourcing process. At the very least, you want your software to have features such as:
- Response reminders
- Knowledge base and template library
- Vendor evaluations
- Data analysis and reporting
- Progress tracking
- Task management
- Pricing or bid tables
- Vendor profile review
- Survey & Scorecard or evaluation capability
- Multiple capabilities
- Auction options
Another vital thing to note about this software is you want it to be user-friendly across your entire team and very easy for suppliers.
You may be using it daily and well-acquainted with it; however, other members of your team may not. They need to log periodically (or however often they intend to use it) and have the software be intuitive enough for anyone to use.
RFP Software: Features You Should Have
There is a big difference between the basics and the best RFP automation software. Better software has richer features and better functionality that will, in turn, make your procurement management process run more smoothly.
You may think that automation would be the driving force to make team collaboration more difficult when in actuality, good RFP software with robust features does the opposite.
Your software’s collaboration features might include team notifications, knowledge sharing, task assignment, alerts, request building, cross-functional scoring and permissions, and transparency.
The biggest collaboration feature might be that all team members are always viewing the latest version of everything and anything.
Gone are the days of who has the latest spreadsheet version or Joe has ten questions because he is looking at an older spreadsheet. All of these features allow your entire team to collaborate better and allow you to build better relationships with internal customers and your suppliers.
RFP and ERP Integration
ERP integration is another feature that you might consider for your RFP software. This is because the integration of supplier data or item data might be helpful or necessary if you are sourcing thousands of items on a regular basis. You might find that without integration, some buyers will resist using the software regardless of the automation it provides.
Finding software with built-in CRM integration is the most accessible road, and most people in the field are already familiar with it. Cloud-based software is another important feature to consider. This is what helps your knowledge base and answer the library be so expansive, so it’s a must as we advance in the RFP world.
RFP Software: Full Suite
You may find that you want RFP software as part of an overall suite, where you have other e-procurement tools, such as procure-to-pay, inventory management, and other features at your disposal.
If you’re interested in learning more about RFP software and other types of e-procurement software or would like a demo, contact us today at EC Sourcing Group by calling 973-936-9672 to speak to us to set up an appointment.