Software Advice has helped many SMBs find the right RFP software so they can define workflows and gather relevant documentation to create and/or respond to RFPs. How does it work?

RFP Software


 
PandaDoc Proposals logo
 
PandaDoc is cloud-based document management software that helps users in creating proposals, quotes, human resources documents, contracts and more. The solution is mostly used by sales and marketing teams and company leadership. PandaDoc... Read More
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PandaDoc is cloud-based document management software that helps users in creating proposals, quotes, human resources documents, contracts and more. The solution is mostly used by sales and marketing teams and company leadership. PandaDoc... Read More
 
Loopio logo
 
Loopio is a cloud-based request for proposal (RFP) solution that is suitable for midsize and large businesses. Primary features include content management, content libraries, team collaboration, import and export and advanced search. It... Read More
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Loopio is a cloud-based request for proposal (RFP) solution that is suitable for midsize and large businesses. Primary features include content management, content libraries, team collaboration, import and export and advanced search. It... Read More
 
CallidusCloud Configure Price Quote logo
 
CallidusCloud Configure Price Quote is a cloud-based CPQ product for organizations of most sizes and industries. CallidusCloud CPQ can be used on any device with a web browser. Side-by-side comparisons enable users to view and compare... Read More
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CallidusCloud Configure Price Quote is a cloud-based CPQ product for organizations of most sizes and industries. CallidusCloud CPQ can be used on any device with a web browser. Side-by-side comparisons enable users to view and compare... Read More
 
Qwilr logo
 
Qwilr is a cloud-based sales documentation and request for proposal (RFP) solution. It offers audit trail features, sales and marketing document storage, a content repository and analytics functionalities. Qwilr features a template... Read More
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Qwilr is a cloud-based sales documentation and request for proposal (RFP) solution. It offers audit trail features, sales and marketing document storage, a content repository and analytics functionalities. Qwilr features a template... Read More
 
EndeavorCPQ logo
 
EndeavorCPQ is a cloud-based configure price quote (CPQ) and proposal management solution for midsize and large companies in manufacturing and distribution. It offers configuration, guided selling, pricing automation and quoting. EndeavorCPQ... Read More
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EndeavorCPQ is a cloud-based configure price quote (CPQ) and proposal management solution for midsize and large companies in manufacturing and distribution. It offers configuration, guided selling, pricing automation and quoting. EndeavorCPQ... Read More

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Qvidian RFP & Proposal Automation logo
 
Qvidian RFP and Proposal Automation is a cloud-based sales and RFP-response enablement platform. The solution includes a searchable content library, where all assets are stored in approved language and branding. Using this library... Read More
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Qvidian RFP and Proposal Automation is a cloud-based sales and RFP-response enablement platform. The solution includes a searchable content library, where all assets are stored in approved language and branding. Using this library... Read More
 
RFP365 logo
 
RFP365 is a proposal management solution that helps teams to manage end-to-end request for proposal (RFP) management and proposal creation. Key features include proposal creation, publishing, collaboration, advanced search, task management,... Read More
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RFP365 is a proposal management solution that helps teams to manage end-to-end request for proposal (RFP) management and proposal creation. Key features include proposal creation, publishing, collaboration, advanced search, task management,... Read More
 
Proposify logo
 
Proposify is a cloud-based proposal software suitable for web design and marketing companies of all sizes. Proposify allows users to select proposals from a range of templates or customize proposals as needed. The proposal editor... Read More
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Proposify is a cloud-based proposal software suitable for web design and marketing companies of all sizes. Proposify allows users to select proposals from a range of templates or customize proposals as needed. The proposal editor... Read More
 
infoRouter logo
 
infoRouter is a business documentation and request for proposal (RFP) management solution designed for small and midsize companies. It offers search tools, various document formatting options, a content repository, requirements management,... Read More
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infoRouter is a business documentation and request for proposal (RFP) management solution designed for small and midsize companies. It offers search tools, various document formatting options, a content repository, requirements management,... Read More
 
WinCenter logo
 
WinCenter is a cloud-based proposal management solution designed for government contractors and commercial operations. It features asset management, proposal workflows, scheduling and review management functionalities within a suite. Users... Read More
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WinCenter is a cloud-based proposal management solution designed for government contractors and commercial operations. It features asset management, proposal workflows, scheduling and review management functionalities within a suite. Users... Read More

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XaitPorter logo
 
XaitPorter is a cloud-based collaboration and RFP platform that allows different sets of users to simultaneously create and edit different parts of the same document or proposal. This solution offers version control, which prevents... Read More
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XaitPorter is a cloud-based collaboration and RFP platform that allows different sets of users to simultaneously create and edit different parts of the same document or proposal. This solution offers version control, which prevents... Read More
 
Huddle logo
 
Huddle is a cloud-based request for proposal (RFP) and project management solution. Key features include integration with Microsoft Word and a dashboard where users can see all aspects of a project. This solution is geared toward large... Read More
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Huddle is a cloud-based request for proposal (RFP) and project management solution. Key features include integration with Microsoft Word and a dashboard where users can see all aspects of a project. This solution is geared toward large... Read More
 
Qorus Breeze Proposals logo
 
Qorus Breeze Proposals is a document management system (DMS) designed with marketing, sales and competitive bidding teams in mind. Its functional focus is on the creation, distribution, tracking and management of a variety of business... Read More
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Qorus Breeze Proposals is a document management system (DMS) designed with marketing, sales and competitive bidding teams in mind. Its functional focus is on the creation, distribution, tracking and management of a variety of business... Read More
 
Traverse logo
 
Traverse is a cloud-based network monitoring solution that offers tools to monitor hybrid cloud and network infrastructure. The solution is designed to help service providers and enterprises manage their data flow across multiple networks... Read More
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Traverse is a cloud-based network monitoring solution that offers tools to monitor hybrid cloud and network infrastructure. The solution is designed to help service providers and enterprises manage their data flow across multiple networks... Read More
 
PMAPS logo
 
PMAPS is a cloud-based and on-premise request for proposal (RFP) solution that is suitable for businesses of all sizes. It caters to companies in financial services, technology, asset management, health care, law and manufacturing.... Read More
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PMAPS is a cloud-based and on-premise request for proposal (RFP) solution that is suitable for businesses of all sizes. It caters to companies in financial services, technology, asset management, health care, law and manufacturing.... Read More

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ConnectWise Sell logo
 
ConnectWise Sell is a quote and request for proposal solution suitable for businesses of all sizes. Primary features include quote and proposal, product sourcing, workflow automation and sales reporting. It allows users to create... Read More
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ConnectWise Sell is a quote and request for proposal solution suitable for businesses of all sizes. Primary features include quote and proposal, product sourcing, workflow automation and sales reporting. It allows users to create... Read More

 

Buyer's Guide

by Eileen O'Loughlin,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: August 25, 2017


An RFP, or request for proposal, is a document created as part of the procurement process, wherein a business (i.e., buyer) identifies a need for a product or service and solicits proposals from suppliers and/or vendors (i.e., seller) asking them to offer solutions and bid for the job.

The suppliers/vendors then create and submit proposals (i.e., bids), in which they outline their ability to deliver on the buyer’s business objective, with the goal of winning the bid and turning the proposal into a contract and the requester into a client.

We’ve created this guide to help you better understand the RFP and proposal management software market. Whether you’re looking to invest in RFP software for the first time or looking to upgrade your current system, this guide can help you make a more informed purchase decision.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What is RFP Software?
Key Purchase Considerations
Common Capabilities of RFP Software

What is RFP Software?

RFP and proposal management software helps buyers and sellers manage each side of the bidding and procurement process:

  • Buyers can streamline and automate the generation of RFPs
  • Sellers can quickly receive and respond to RFPs with professional and detailed proposals, ultimately helping them win more bids

These tools act as a centralized workspace, helping to increase the transparency of the workflows involved with issuing and responding to RFPs and facilitating collaboration among users.

Another key function of these systems is centered around making critical information more easily accessible:

  • Teams creating RFPs can connect with and share key information with internal and external stakeholders
  • Teams responding to RFPs can gather the appropriate information from across departments into one cohesive proposal

Key Purchase Considerations

It’s important to note that “RFP software” is an umbrella term that refers to the tools used on both sides of the RFP process:

  • Those used to issue an RFP (on the buyer’s side)
  • The tools used to respond to an RFP (on the seller’s side)

While these processes are absolutely related, they are on opposite sides of the transaction process, and it’s not common to find them together in one integrated suite.

In fact, you’re more likely to find proposal generation tools tied with your sales and CRM systems than with those used to issue RFPs.

As such, it’s important to understand the differences and similarities between each process and tool set to ensure you’re choosing the right RFP software for your business:

Issuing an RFP: Businesses issuing an RFP are seeking proposals from a supplier/vendor for a product or service that will help them solve a specific problem and/or achieve a specific business objective.

RFP’s often come after an exploratory request for information (RFI) and before soliciting an invitation to tender (ITT) and request for quote (RFQ) from a shortlist of approved suppliers/vendors.

The core steps within the RFP creation process include:

  • Identify a business need
  • Assemble an RFP team (responsible for internal and external stakeholder management)
  • Gather requirements
  • Draft the RFP
  • Submit the RFP and invite suppliers/vendors to bid
  • Review and compare suppliers/vendors and their proposals
  • Enter into negotiations
  • Award contract
  • Contract gets transferred into a project
Issuing an RFP in RFP365
Issuing an RFP in RFP365

Responding to an RFP: Suppliers/vendors responding to an RFP are being asked to deliver a product or service to help the buyer achieve a strategic business objective. As such, they need to propose a solution that will outshine their competitors and help them win the job.

To do so, they need to create a detailed, professional proposal that meets the requirements laid out by the buyer. But first, they need to receive and review the RFP before deciding whether or not it is a worthwhile investment to pursue the sale.

As such, it’s important that suppliers/vendors actively take steps to identify the prospective customers in their space and let them know they are open to receiving RFP requests. They should also create a standard RFP response template that they can modify according to the request at hand.

The core steps within the RFP response and proposal generation process include:

  • Receive RFP
  • Vet RFP request and evaluate the potential ROI to see if it makes a good business case
  • Identify internal stakeholders to contribute to the proposal (and if you win the bid, subsequent project)
  • Gather required materials (may involve opening a dialogue with the buyer’s procurement team and asking additional questions)
  • Create the proposal
  • Submit the proposal for review
  • Enter into negotiations
  • Win the contract
  • Contract gets transferred into a project
Responding to an RFP in RFP365
Responding to an RFP in RFP365

Common Capabilities of RFP Software

Look for the following functionality as you evaluate RFP software and proposal management solutions:

Contact management Maintain a catalogue of important contacts within your industry.
  • For buyers this can include contact info and profiles for suppliers/vendors you have done business with in the past or who you may want to create a partnership with in the future.
  • For sellers this can include the contact info and profiles for potential customers as well as current clients.
Task management Create and assign tasks to resources. Schedule start and due dates and track progress to completion. Set up alerts to notify users when assignments are nearing their due date or are overdue.
Requirements management Assists users in performing stakeholder analysis to capture, document and prioritize requirements during the initial planning stages, then managing change and tracking communications regarding those changes over the project life cycle.
Workflow management Define structured workflows for various business processes via rule-based decision making, to better manage and control the flow of work through the system. Users know where a work item has been and where it needs to go next, which increases transparency and accountability. Assists with performance monitoring and process evaluation, so business units can identify inefficiencies and strive for continuous improvement.
Document management Create and edit documents, share with other users, track changes and different versions. Often includes the ability to create and save templates, set up custom fields, add approval workflows and electronic signature. Buyers need document management for RFP creation and sellers need this capability for generating proposals.
Content management Create and manage digital content. Maintain a centralized repository of past RFIs and RFPs (for sellers, this would include proposals in response to the RFPs), allowing stakeholders to easily access important information and potentially even reuse documentation for future needs. Organize content using tags, categories, filters and attributes, making your content management system easily searchable.
Contract management Once a job has been awarded, both buyers and sellers need to track and manage the contract throughout the project life cycle. This includes authoring the contract, getting approvals, tracking requirements and obligations, then maintaining compliance with the contract commitments during project execution.

Additionally, RFP response systems may include applications for, or integrations with, your sales pipeline management and customer relationship management (CRM) tools.

Both RFP creation and response systems may include applications for, or integrations with, project management tools, so that if or when proposals are awarded, the job can be transferred appropriately.

 

 

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