Procurement

How to Choose the Right RFP Software for Your Business

29.08.2023

Every organization must go through a procurement process to acquire goods and services that are required to sustain, expand, or grow the operations of their businesses. It involves identifying the needs of an organization, finding potential suppliers, negotiating prices and terms of purchase, and finalizing the transaction. 

During this process, organizations need to effectively communicate their requirements to suppliers so they can deliver and meet the organization’s standards. Although for low-volume and low-cost transactions, managers can share the requirements informally with the selected supplier, products and services with high value and unique specifications require more detailed information.

There are various ways that organizations can solicit quotes or bids from suppliers. One standard method is to issue a request for quotation. An RFQ is a formal document that outlines the specific goods or services the organization is looking to purchase, and asks suppliers to provide a quote for the total purchase cost.

Another method is to issue a request for proposal (RFP), which is a more detailed document that outlines the specific requirements and objectives of the procurement, and asks suppliers to provide a proposal outlining how they will meet those requirements and achieve those objectives. Organizations use RFPs when purchasing more complex goods or services, or when there is a need to evaluate multiple suppliers based on a set of criteria. Learn the difference between RFI vs. RFP vs. RFQ

Preparing and issuing an RFP can be complex and time-consuming, particularly if done manually. Each RFP is created by a team of 9 individuals on average for businesses. When the pandemic began (2020), this average significantly increased from the prior standard of just seven people. Many organizations are now looking for the right RFP software to automate their RFP process.

What Is RFP Software?

RFP software assists organizations in streamlining the process of creating, sending, receiving, and reviewing bids. Sales and procurement teams can produce bids and proposals using these tools, collaborate on them, and submit them to internal and external stakeholders. RFP management software enables customers to communicate their company needs to suppliers, assess all submitted offers, and choose the best RFP software.

Why Do Businesses Need RFP Software?

According to a survey,  the majority of teams questioned feel that adopting RFP software improves content storage (65 percent), saves time (63 percent), and automates manual and tedious jobs (53 percent). There are several reasons why businesses may benefit from using RFP software:

  1. Efficiency and collaboration

    RFP management software can help organizations streamline the process of creating and issuing RFPs, and managing the proposal submission and evaluation process. It includes collaboration tools that allow team members and stakeholders to work together more effectively. This can help ensure that all relevant parties are included in the decision-making process and that the RFP reflects the organization's needs. As a result, this saves time and resources, and allows the procurement team to focus on more strategic tasks.
  2. Consolidation of data
    When issuing an RFP, organizations typically request a variety of information from potential suppliers, including product descriptions, specification sheets, terms and conditions, and other documents. Receiving and managing this information can be challenging, particularly when done manually and in hard copy form.
    RFP software helps streamline this process by providing a central location for storing and organizing all of the information related to the RFP. This makes it easier for stakeholders to access the information they need, and helps ensure that all relevant parties work from the same data set.
  3. Transparency

    The process of screening ideas for acceptability involves several checkpoints. Utilizing RFP software tools, users may swiftly assess variables like bid value, supplier credibility, geography, and delivery time to narrow the field of bids and choose the top proposals. 

    RFP software can help organizations be more transparent and fair in their procurement processes. Organizations can ensure that all suppliers are given equal consideration by using standardized evaluation criteria and online submission and review processes.

  4. Data-driven decision making

Instead of forwarding proposals back and forth and compiling feedback from multiple stakeholders, everyone involved in the review process can use the same platform to review, comment, accept/reject, or send proposals back for revisions. 

RFP software often includes evaluation and scoring tools that allow organizations to compare and rank proposals based on specific criteria. This can help organizations make more informed, data-driven decisions when selecting suppliers

Top Features of RFP Software

Here are some key features that you might look for in RFP software:

    • RFP software template: This can help organizations create professional and accurate RFPs quickly and easily.
    • Content library: This feature lets you store important information from your past data that you may require to generate an RFP.
    • Collaboration tools: These tools allow team members and stakeholders to work together and share information, and can help ensure that the RFP reflects the organization's needs.
    • Evaluation and scoring tools: These tools allow organizations to compare and rank proposals based on specific criteria, and can help inform data-driven decision making.
    • Negotiation and contract management tools: These tools can help organizations negotiate the terms of the purchase with the selected supplier, and manage the contract throughout the procurement process.
    • Reporting and analytics: RFP software often includes reporting and analytics tools that allow organizations to track the progress of their procurement processes and make data-driven decisions.
    • Integration with other systems: It can be helpful to choose RFP software that integrates with your organization's other systems, such as financial management or project management software.

Ultimately, the specific features you should look for in RFP software will depend on the needs and goals of your organization.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Choose the Right RFP Management Software

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you choose the right RFP (request for proposal) management software for your organization:

  1. Define your needs and goals

    Start by identifying the specific needs and goals of your organization. Consider factors such as the size and complexity of your procurement processes, the types of goods or services you typically purchase, and any specific challenges or pain points you are looking to address.
  2. Research and compare different options
    Many different RFP management software options are available, so it's essential to research and compare other options to find the best one that meets your needs. Look for software that has a proven track record and positive user reviews.
  3. Consider the features and functionality
    Look for software with the features and functionality needed to streamline your procurement processes. This might include templates and wizards for creating RFPs, collaboration tools, online submission and review of proposals, and evaluation and scoring tools.
  4. Evaluate the user experience
    Consider how easy it is to use the software and whether it will be intuitive for your team. Look for software that is well-designed and easy to navigate. This will help your team to adopt the software more efficiently and leverage it effectively.
  5. Consider the cost
    Determine your budget and consider the cost of different RFP management software options. Make sure to factor in any ongoing subscription fees or maintenance costs. Ask questions to the software provider regarding the cost of additional features and factor in the scalability costs. 
  6. Get demos and choose
    Most RFP management software providers will offer demos or free trials, so take advantage of these opportunities to get a feel for the software and see how it works in practice. Once you have gathered all the information you need, it's time to decide. Choose the best RFP software that fulfills your requirements and meets your budget, and consider implementing it in a pilot project before rolling it out across the organization.

Important Questions to Ask RFP Software Vendors

Here are a few essential questions that can help you choose the best RFP software:

  • Does the vendor have any references or case studies demonstrating their software's effectiveness in similar organizations?
    The most advanced company in the world chose Kissflow Procurement Cloud and is a trusted choice of 1000+ procurement leaders. You can access multiple case studies relevant to your organization to explore the success stories.
  • How do you train new employees and onboard them?
    Kissflow provides a smooth onboarding process by helping you through every transition step. It also offers on-demand training courses so your teams can learn expertise relevant to their user role.
  • What kind of integrations do you offer?
    Kissflow lets you automatically push, pull, and schedule data transfers from internal and third-party tools like Google Docs, Dynamics 365, Salesforce, SAP, Oracle, etc.
  • Does the software offer any customization or configuration options?
    Kissflow Procurement Cloud offers a variety of options for customizations and configuration so the solution can better meet your organization's needs.
  • What import and export options do you provide for data?
    You can easily import and export data to and from Kissflow easily. This feature lets you easily upload your data in bulk and helps you get started quickly.
  • Do you provide lifelong updates and improvements?
    As technology advances, Kissflow Procurement Cloud upgrades its platform to deliver you best-in-class features, so you stay ahead of the competition.
  • What distinguishes you from the competitors in the market?
    Kissflow is a low-code cloud platform with multiple extendable features, ensuring you have options for scalability whenever you require it.

The most advanced company in the world chose Kissflow Procurement Cloud and is a trusted choice of 1000+ procurement leaders. You can access multiple case studies relevant to your organization to explore the success stories.

Automate Your RFP Process With Kissflow Procurement Cloud

Kissflow Procurement Cloud is a sophisticated RFP software that helps organizations automate their request for proposal (RFP) process. It offers a range of features and tools to help organizations create, issue, and manage RFPs more efficiently, including RFP software templates and wizards for creating RFPs, online submission and review of proposals, and evaluation and scoring tools.

Kissflow Procurement Cloud includes collaboration tools that allow team members and stakeholders to collaborate and share information, improving communication and coordination during the RFP process. Try it out yourself by booking a demo with us.