Every sales manager knows how difficult responding to an RFP can be. From wrangling subject matter experts to formatting your responses, getting everything together without an efficient process feels like a race against the clock.
The pressure is enough to make you think about abandoning the proposal altogether. But before you give up, there is a way to help things go smoothly without pulling your hair out. RFP software helps you manage the process without having to start from scratch with each new request that comes in.
Benefits of RFP software
The best RFP software:
Saves time in generating answers to common questions. Since your company is likely to work on several similar proposals, you'll be able to reuse past responses.
Keeps you organized. No more merging multiple documents, copying and pasting from emails, or having to transcribe verbal answers. Responses are saved in a common library where you can tag and organize them in a way that makes sense.
Accommodates multiple users. Your RFP response is a team effort. You'll likely have multiple contributors, as well as reviewers who need to approve things before submission. Being able to collaborate seamlessly in the software is critical.
Makes it easy to update outdated content. The right RFP tool shows you how old your answers are, so you can update responses as needed to keep content fresh. Some software gives you the ability to create review cycles so you don't have to think about how often to update information.
Tips for a successful RFP
Even the best RFP management software won't fix a broken proposal process on its own.
If you're looking to improve the procurement process, here are some tips on how to make your next RFP a success.
1. Have a kickoff call
Start the process with a call that includes all members involved in the procurement process. This includes SMEs, reviewers, and marketing team members formatting the final proposal.
2. Set clear expectations
Make sure everyone knows what their role is and how to do their job. This includes training new members on RFP software.
3. Stick to the plan
Don't overcomplicate things by straying off-course. Every member has a job to do, and they need to be willing to follow the same process and timeline as everyone else.
4. Create internal deadlines ahead of the RFP closing date
Plan for the unexpected. Internal deadlines should be far ahead of the final due date. This way, problems can be addressed before submission.
5 Best RFP Softwares to Choose From
1. PandaDocRating: 4 stars and above
PandaDoc offers RFP generation software and eSign technology. The RFP software offers reusable proposal templates, customizable design elements and custom pricing tables. The software also integrates with Hubspot, Salesforce, PayPal and Insightly.
2. QwilrRating: 4 stars and above
Qwilr RFP software offers design blocks with text, videos and other embeddable features that can be saved and reused in every proposal. The software also includes interactive pricing, so prospects can learn about additional line-items and upsells related to their initial proposal. Teams can use real-time collaboration features to coordinate on a proposal, and the software offers several integrations and security features.
3. ProposifyRating: 4 stars and above
Proposify offers templates, e-signature capabilities and a content library with case studies, product descriptions, images and bios. It also offers interactive quoting capabilities and analytics metrics on which proposals were viewed and when.
4. ClientPointRating: 4 stars and above
ClientPoint also offers templates and a master content library to quickly pull RFPs together. It integrates with Salesforce, HubSpot, ZOHO and other CRM tools. A live dashboard tracks whether proposals have been sent, viewed or signed. Analytics data shows how long a prospect viewed a document and if they shared or downloaded it.
5. LucidpressRating: 4 stars and above
Lucidpress is a brand templating platform that makes it easy for sales teams to quickly create on-brand proposals. The software offers pre-designed templates, a brand asset library with saved colors, fonts, logos and images and you can quickly auto-populate information with data automation features.
Creating on-brand proposals for your RFP
While RFP software is great at orchestrating the process and saving time, one thing it may not be so great at is creating branded proposals that match other company documents.
Your marketing team invests a considerable amount of time into building your brand. Instead of creating a generic proposal using templates provided by your RFP software, tap into their creative genius and use a branded proposal instead.
Lucidpress makes it easy to create beautifully branded proposals, and getting started is easy. You can design a new template from scratch, choose one from the template library, or import an existing file from InDesign.
Next, add smart fields to your document. These dynamic fields auto-populate information (like name, job title and contact details) to save proposal creators time.
Once you have all static elements and smart fields in place, lock down the parts of your proposal that don't change (e.g. brand logo, fonts and colors). This keeps editors from accidentally changing information that is essential to your brand identity.
After document setup is complete, save your template so others can use it.
Proposal editors can now access the files they need and share proposals directly with the client when complete.
Creating RFPs is hard work. Using RFP management software streamlines response time by providing a knowledge base to reuse winning answers and empowering team members to collaborate in real-time.
Once you have your responses in order, ditch the cookie-cutter files provided by your RFP software and create beautiful, on-brand proposals with Lucidpress.