What exactly IS RFP software?
Anyone who has responded to Requests for Proposals (RFPs) Requests for Information (RFIs), Security Questionnaires, or Due Diligence Questionnaires (DDQs) knows the process can be fraught with complications and frustration. Difficulties with document and version control, storing and finding content between multiple tools and systems, and too much time spent chasing after answers from busy Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are just some examples of the daily grind. Ultimately RFP software helps reduce the chaos in the response process and allows you to respond to these requests quickly and efficiently.
Most solutions focus on making it easier to centralize, find, and use content in responses. They also help to keep content well organized and up-to-date, so none of it goes to waste. RFP solutions also help to make collaboration on requests easier, more streamlined and provide better visibility into who's doing what.
The use of RFP software can extend beyond completing responses. Other use cases for RFP software include:
- Improving alignment across teams through knowledge sharing
- Training and onboarding new team members quickly and efficiently
- Getting answers to one-off sales questions
There are always hesitations when considering an automated solution, but to assess if it is the right fit for you, you need to be armed with accurate information. We’ve addressed the most common misconceptions we hear about RFP software, in hopes you may find a little clarity on your journey to optimizing your response process!
Common Myths About RFP Software
RFP Software Will Take Over My Job
If you are responsible for the response process, you offer strategic thinking that software cannot replace. It can be difficult to leverage your more strategic side when you are wasting time searching for content or chasing after SMEs. Using an RFP tool will eliminate these barriers and enable you to focus on your expertise. Ultimately, you will be empowered to work more efficiently.
RFP Software Can Only Be Used for Responding to RFPs
RFP software is designed to optimize the response process to RFPs and other information requests. In addition to RFPs, it can also be used to respond to:
- Requests for Information (RFIs)
- Due Diligence Questionnaires (DDQs)
- Security Questionnaires (SQs)
- any other Q&A-type information requests your company receives in the sales cycle
While responding to these requests is the primary use of RFP Software, the content stored within its central repository or library is valuable for all teams in an organization. This repository can be used as a central source of truth across departments for training, supporting customers, creating proactive proposals, and storing internal content. For example, Bugcrowd uses Loopio to not only respond to Security Questionnaires but also as a knowledge sharing platform to train and onboard new Sales Engineers.
RFP Software is only Relevant to Proposal Managers
Proposal Managers find a ton of value in using RFP software, but its uses extend beyond proposal management – to security teams, sales teams, sales operations, and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) as well.
- Sales can source product data for their face-to-face meetings with prospects
- Sales enablement can find technical information for onboarding and training
- Security can pull information for Security Compliance applications
At Healthx, different teams leverage Loopio as a repository of company knowledge. The right software is designed to encourage and enable collaboration across multiple teams.
Content Management Systems like Sharepoint, Google Drive, or Wikis Do the Same Thing for Content Management as RFP Software
There are many systems designed to store and share content among groups of people, but none of them are designed specifically to help you manage content for RFPs, Security Questionnaires, DDQs, etc. While these other systems are great at general content storage and sharing, RFP software is purpose-built to organize, find, and frequently update content that is used for responding to these information requests.
Some challenges faced when using these other systems are that:
- You still have to search manually to find the information you need and copy content into your response
- You can't automatically feed in new or updated information from your final response into your content repository
- You can’t report on important metrics to gain insight into the efficiency of your process and where you could improve
Instead, you have to pull content from different sources and manually stitch together a response. With an RFP software like Loopio, you can bring content management, collaboration, and automation into a single platform.
Using RFP Software Means You Won’t Have to Review or Update Your Content Anymore
Using RFP software will remove some of the manual labor involved in the process, but it doesn’t mean the end of content revisions and maintenance entirely.
Intelligent workflows to automate reviews will notify the right people at the right time when they have to review content. The software will also help to selectively feed new content back into your central repository each time you complete a response. This way you don’t have to tackle content maintenance in bulk or risk losing your content.
Remember that library content management is not a set it and forget it strategy. Spending the time to curate your content and regularly maintain it will ensure that quality and accurate responses are used.
Leveraging RFP software also gives you much deeper insights into your content, its use, and effectiveness. You’ll see how fresh your content is – how often, and when it was last used. This way you can remove outdated and rarely used content and prioritize the maintenance of what is used most frequently.
Our RFPs are Highly-Customized and Cannot be Automated, So RFP Software Isn’t Useful for Us
While every RFP is different, there might be more repetitive content than you think. There are usually some repetitive questions or requests for information that can be automated such as company names, company information, contact details, etc.
The benefits of RFP software extend beyond reusing content; it will help you save time by streamlining collaboration with SMEs, centralizing your content, building and storing new answers, and establishing an easier content revision process. If even 50 percent of your RFP can be completed with reusable content, think about how much time you could spend tailoring content for the rest of the request.
RFP Software Implementation Takes a Really Long Time
Implementation timelines are flexible– you can move as quickly or as slowly as you want. The most involved part of your implementation process will be setting up your library. Most software vendors will work with you on an implementation plan that addresses your personalized needs and goals. At Loopio, our Customer Success team has gained knowledge and expertise from hundreds of previous implementations and will support your process from day one.
Some organizations start small and build on processes over time, and some like to do more upfront work. As an enterprise company, IBM Watson Health Imaging introduced Loopio to teams in stages, and leveraged internal endorsements to eventually roll out the new RFP response process using Loopio across multiple departments. Change management takes time, but having an established content management process and an organized, central content library will help to reduce friction internally. Ultimately, it depends on your team and the best solution for you. Make sure you’re picking an RFP software that provides the flexibility to work in a timeframe that’s comfortable for you and your team, and best practices to help you succeed.
Learn more about different approaches to implementation in our Guide to RFP Software Implementation
Navigating the landscape of RFP software can be tough. When evaluating which solution is best for you, we recommend making a list of the parts in the process causing the most friction for you and your team. It could be that you are spending too much time searching for content, are frequently asking SMEs the same questions, or are struggling with keeping your content up to date. Most RFP solutions focus on alleviating these pain points and will have a friendly team willing to work with you to find the best fit for you and your organization’s needs.