What is RFP Response Software?
A Request for Proposal (RFP) is one of the most important documents for winning big ticket clients.
When done manually, responding to an RFP is a lengthy, time-consuming process. RFPs often come with a set of specific requirements that must be addressed in great detail via many subject matter experts—all of whom express themselves in different ways and represent different company interests.
RFP response software streamlines the RFP process through automation, collaboration, and content management systems. According to Loopio’s survey across 160 teams in North America, people who use RFP software see:
- 35% reduced response times
- 37% more RFPs answered
- 10% shorter sales cycles
Keep reading to find out more about RFP response software, including what it is, how it’s used, who uses it, and the key features of a solid response management tool.
What is RFP Software?
RFP software is a digital platform used by proposal managers, sales teams, and security teams to automate the response process for RFPs, Requests for Information (RFIs), Due Diligence Questionnaires (DDQs), and Security Questionnaires. RFP software stores and organizes the information most commonly used in responses, while automatically filling in answers based on past documentation and proposals.
RFP response software also acts as a collaborative digital workspace that makes it easier to track project status, streamline communication, and ultimately, speed up handoffs between subject matter experts (SMEs) who are contributing to the RFP.
How is RFP Software Used to Benefit Teams?
The benefits of RFP software fall into two main buckets: saving time and improving response quality.
RFP software replaces the need for working documents that are passed back and forth over email or other channels. Teams use RFP response software by centralizing the RFP process to a platform where common responses are auto-populated for common questions, then updated with each new RFP. Teams are then able to collaborate in one space to finish the RFP and oversee proposal quality and cohesion.
How RFP Response Software Saves Time
- Automates manual, low-impact tasks—like copying and pasting answers—so contributors can focus on how to respond to an RFP faster
- Allows contributors to complete more RFP responses in a short amount of time—no matter how tight the deadlines are or how many subject matter experts are contributing
- Builds a searchable RFP content management system so contributors can find the right answers and easily update responses for accuracy
How RFP Response Software Improves Response Content Quality
- Engages contributors to improve existing responses with every new RFP round
- Centralizes responses to improve collaboration and transparency for all SMEs
- Assigns questions and sets deadlines to provide clear direction for all proposal contributors
- Provides usage stats for a comprehensive understanding of the RFP process
Who uses RFP software?
This team is responsible for quarterbacking an RFP response. They determine response strategy, manage schedules and subject matter experts, and write content for business proposals. Proposal managers benefit from RFP response software because it acts as a command centre that improves proposal management, personal workflow, and smooths out the RFP process for their entire organization.
Sales Engineers are essential consultants throughout the RFP process. They’re savvy contributors who fulfil technical components of RFPs. A centralized system of answers within RFP software eliminates the need to repeat answers for non-technical team members.
This team is responsible for ensuring that an organization has processes in place to maintain the security of their technology and data. They act as subject matter experts to sales, and communicate the security elements in place for the organization. Proposal software helps busy security teams focus on the main function of their role by equipping others with knowledge and answers to technical questions.
Sales Operations supports sales teams and sales-adjacent teams (like business operations).They focus on gaining revenue-related efficiencies in the sales process—which RFPs can play a big part in. (Research shows an average whopping 41 percent of revenue is generated from RFPs.)
Sales teams are usually the first to learn about an upcoming RFP. They’re usually focused on submitting each RFP response quickly and efficiently, so they can get back to other high-impact sales activities (like closing other deals).
SMEs are considered the go-to person for a subject matter in their organization. They can be anyone from product marketing, to legal and compliance, or even the CFO. SMEs contribute occasionally to RFPs—but their input is essential to ensuring each company submits up-to-date, accurate information.
What Are the Key Features of RFP Software?
Effective RFP software comes with features in three key areas: Content management, automation, and project management.
1. Content Management
RFP software unlocks efficiencies in content management because of centralization. When RFP libraries “live under one roof”, it becomes easier to update information, delete duplicates, and flag when responses require some updating.
✓ RFP answer libraries house the most reusable and relevant content in a way that can be easily found, repurposed, or customized for each project. (The best content libraries are organized and intuitive.)
✓ Smart search options save time and quickly return the most relevant results through categories and tags.
✓ Content maintenance should automate review cycles and let contributors know when content was last updated.
RFP software automates repetitive tasks, such as copying and pasting answers, by auto-generating answers based on the contents of a library. RFP automation tools can save loads of time, so your teams can focus on other high-impact work.
✓ Easy RFP importing and exporting auto-detects questions in uploaded documents so contributors can build projects quickly in a variety of formats, including Word, Excel, and PDF.
✓ Auto-fill or auto-suggested answers use filters and Natural Language Processing (a technique of AI) to improve match accuracy among your RFP responses.
✓ Branded templates set company branding guidelines so managers can export beautifully designed proposals without help from a designer.
3. Project Management & Collaboration
Nothing derails a project like lack of oversight. Through intuitive project management solutions and collaboration features, RFP software makes it easier to keep projects on track so deadlines are never missed.
✓ Streamlined reviews and approval workflows assign tasks and send requests for approvals or reviews from legal/compliance teams and subject matter experts.
✓ Project tracking shows the RFP’s status in a helpful dashboard, so managers can see each contributor’s work and project milestones at a glance.
✓ Reporting displays data on content and platform usage for a comprehensive understanding of the RFP process—and any possible inefficiencies.
Ready to try RFP response software for your team? See how Loopio works.
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