A request for proposal (RFP) is an important part of the procurement process for both vendors and clients alike. On the client side, it helps them find the best vendor for their business needs; for the vendor, it provides an opportunity to demonstrate why they are the better fit over competitors.
Responding to an RFP—and winning the bid—requires planning and a high level of attention to detail. Indeed, preparing a proposal can be challenging; the process is often complex, requiring extensive collaboration between teams and subject matter experts (SMEs) and involving myriad formatting issues and time-consuming error-checking and content searches. RFP proposal software can help by scaling and automating this process, cutting out the need to start every RFP from scratch.
But with so many vendors out there with different niches and specializations, how do you know which vendor has the best RFP proposal software? In this article, we provide a detailed analysis of the 10 things you need to pay close attention to when selecting the best RFP Proposal Software for your business: which features to look for, the questions to ask, and how to conduct your search.
What are the benefits of RFP proposal software?
RFP proposal software dramatically reduces the time spent responding to RFPs and helps identify the strongest content to help bid and proposal teams increase their chances of closing the deal.
Choosing the best RFP proposal software is essential if you want to scale your bid and proposal processes and improve collaboration across teams. Having the right software helps your teams take their RFP response process down from days to hours (and create proposals in minutes vs. hours!)—giving you time to take on more RFPs and create more opportunities for the business.
On the other hand, choosing the wrong type of RFP proposal software can be potentially disastrous, leading to lost time, inefficiencies, and frustration for your bid and proposal teams. To avoid these issues, ensure you start your search for the best RFP proposal software on the right foot and create an extensive list of pain points to address, as well as business needs.
How to choose the best RFP proposal software
While choosing the best RFP proposal software seems challenging at first, it’s actually straightforward once you get started. Here are the 10 steps you should consider in your search:
- Find the gaps: Meet with your bid, proposal, and sales teams to understand what pain points they’re currently experiencing with the RFP response process. They’ve likely already identified the gaps that can improve workflow and reduce the time spent responding to RFPs.
- Understand your business needs: After you’ve met with your teams to understand the gaps in your company’s RFP response process, take some time to outline what is most important to your business. Are you missing insights into how content is performing? What integrations do you need? Who are the stakeholders that need to be involved in the decision-making process?
- Content library: Past proposals should be stored in a centralized place, also called an RFP repository, available to be leveraged when any new opportunity arises. The best RFP software should enable you to search for specific content and insert it easily into the proposal, increasing the efficiency of the response process.
- Collaboration: The best RFP proposal software should always enable collaboration between your team, SMEs, and other key stakeholders. For example, being able to assign portions of a single document to specific people within the organization will speed up the process by eliminating dependencies that can take a toll on the time taken to complete a proposal.
- Easy export and integration: The best RFP proposal software should allow you to work from within the platforms you're already used to working with, and where most of the relevant data is available, such as Microsoft Office applications and your CRM.
- Artificial Intelligence: The best RFP proposal software is now equipped with cutting-edge features designed to help your team be more efficient. For example, Auto Answer is a feature offered by QorusDocs that utilizes machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) to speed up the more manual tasks of the RFP response process.
- Performance metrics: The RFP process doesn’t end when the proposal is submitted to the client. Best-in-class RFP proposal software enables companies to see performance metrics for their document, e.g., what sections have been viewed the most, how many minutes did users spend on specific pages, and what content is being shared with other stakeholders in the organization.
- See it in action: Seeing the solution live can help accelerate the decision-making process, as it helps answer key questions, gives you a feel for the technology, and helps define the final features your business needs.
- Consider ROI: An ROI calculator can help you understand the current cost of your RFP response process and what the potential savings would be if you used an RFP proposal software. Check out QorusDocs' user-friendly ROI calculator to calculate how much money you could be saving annually by streamlining and accelerating your response process with AI-powered RFP proposal software.
- Compare Vendors: Software marketplaces, like G2 or Capterra, feature the most highly-reputed vendor solutions available in the market, and offer the possibility to compare them side-by-side, based on reviews made by thousands of users.
Final thoughts on choosing the best RFP proposal software
With the vast amounts of information readily available online, trying to separate the wheat from the chaff to find a solution that best meets your organization's needs can seem daunting or overwhelming—but it doesn't need to be.
Take the time to conduct an honest assessment of your company’s processes and specific needs as outlined in the 10 steps above. You'll be able to navigate the process like a pro and select the best RFP proposal software for your business—and boost your win rate!
To learn more about how QorusDocs can help you deliver higher-quality RFPs to accelerate deal cycles and win more business, visit our website.