Do you need an RFP SaaS?

Written by
Joe Kopyt
Joe Kopyt
Updated on
  9 min read
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Without an RFP SaaS (Software as a Service), responding to information requests like RFPs, RFIs and DDQs is often tedious, inefficient and costly. Manual processes and scattered resources can bog down any response process, hindering the potential for rapid business growth.

A lot is at stake. Globally, $11 trillion of revenue is won every year through RFPs. They can be a gateway to new partnerships, high-value clients and explosive growth. However, most companies – regardless of size – struggle to meet tight deadlines and craft winning proposals, especially in today’s environment where RFPs are only increasing in length and complexity.

Current approaches are unsustainable. Though they are highly capable, proposal management professionals are tasked with an enormous amount of work to complete in a short amount of time. An RFP SaaS solution is a complete game-changer. Powered by features like AI-driven content creation, collaborative workflows and intelligent insights, the right RFP SaaS platform will significantly boost your win rate while decreasing the amount of time it takes to craft a winning proposal to mere hours – without adding headcount.

In this article, we’ll explore how an RFP SaaS solution can give your company a key competitive advantage in an increasingly competitive business landscape. We’ll cover:

The necessity of RFP response automation

On average, it can take more than 40 hours to respond to an RFP. That’s because organizations that issue RFPs want to do their full due diligence to ensure they choose the right partner.

From the issuing organization’s point of view, asking many detailed questions of potential vendors makes a lot of sense. For companies responding to RFPs, this unfortunately means having to put together a proposal that answers as many as a thousand questions in little time.

Without the right RFP SaaS solution, the response process is manual and scattered. Proposal managers need to search through disparate systems and content repositories to find the most accurate information, organize collaborative input from sometimes as many as a dozen SMEs (subject matter experts) and produce a visually impactful document that ensures your organization puts its best foot forward every time.

This inefficient process leads to disjointed collaboration, pieced-together answers and rushed response submissions. And a poor RFP response can have lasting negative impacts: not only are your chances of winning threatened, but your brand reputation can also suffer long term damage.

An RFP SaaS solution will bring much-needed automation to your response process, so you can craft better proposals and bids – faster. Take Jumio, an AI-driven identity verification platform, as an example. For this California based company, RFPs impact 80% of all sales. Jumio’s bid management team handles up to 350 questionnaires per year, and reports a 40% growth in questionnaire volume.

After switching to Responsive, the #1 RFP SaaS solution according to G2, Jumio saw the following benefits almost immediately. The company was able to:

  • More than double their capacity to simultaneously work on RFPs in flight, from 5-6 per week to 11-14 per week
  • Respond to more RFPs, RFIs, DDQs, GDPR and security questionnaires annually, scaling responses from about 150-200 questionnaires per year to 350, without adding any headcount
  • Increase win rate by more than 20%

Learn about how Jumio revamped its proposal management function and streamlined collaboration across multiple teams.

What are the benefits of using an RFP SaaS?

There are many operational advantages associated with adopting software for RFP responses.

In 2023, Responsive and Callan Consulting group published a global research study that identified many RFP response trends and benchmarks. The report found that businesses using RFP SaaS platforms to their full potential see a 16 percent greater win rate, winning 58 percent of responses. This increased win rate translates to more revenue: companies with the most mature response functions and robust usage of RFP software generate 34 percent more revenue.

Here are some additional benefits you’ll unlock with the right RFP SaaS.

Decrease the time spent responding to RFPs

A core advantage gained by adopting an RFP SaaS solution is automation. Responding to an RFP is a complicated undertaking when it comes to project management: there are many different collaborative workflows that need to deploy simultaneously.

Manually orchestrating the process is incredibly time consuming and full of friction. With an RFP SaaS solution, these workflows are seamlessly automated, so each response process flows smoothly. Responses to repetitive questions are auto-populated, novel answers are automatically written by AI that’s integrated with your content library and collaborators are automatically tagged when their input is needed.

See how leading global supply chain company GEODIS reduced SME review effort by 80% with response management software. 

Submit better deliverables

A key feature of standout RFP SaaS solutions is a robust content library, which centralizes knowledge management for your organization. That way, disparate files from any number of teams are all stored in a single repository, making it easy to find the most up-to-date support for any RFP question in seconds with a simple search.

With this single source of truth, proposal managers can always be sure that they are providing the most accurate information. Additionally, RFP software will enhance your answers with visuals like tables, images and charts, making proposals easy to read.

These benefits result in better proposals that are more likely to make a winning impact. Additionally, they give significant time back to proposal and sales teams: See how Data Axle gained up to 50% in productivity with dynamic response management. 

Increase your win rate

With automation, AI and many other efficiency-boosting features on your side, an RFP SaaS solution will have an unequivocal impact on your bottom line.

The Strategic Response Management Maturity Report 2023 found significant differences in the win rates between organizations leveraging RFP software to the fullest and those that are lagging behind with manual processes. According to the report, companies with the most mature RFP functions (and highest use of RFP SaaS) generate 55 percent of their revenue from strategic responses, while lagging companies generate only 41 percent – a 34 percent difference.

See how Belgian medical device manufacturer IBA was able to increase its RFP win rate by 15% by improving response and bid quality with an RFP SaaS solution.

How an RFP SaaS works for you

We’ve touched on how an RFP SaaS equips organizations with key efficiencies to improve their RFP response processes. Let’s dive deeper into how the right RFP solution will address common pain points in any strategic response management (SRM) process.

Facilitates collaboration

Oftentimes, the most time consuming and frustrating task of drafting an RFP proposal is facilitating the collaboration of SMEs and other stakeholders. Especially with today’s flexible working conditions, work schedules are irregular and teams can be scattered across various times zones. This makes garnering the participation of key contributors a major challenge.

RFP software takes care of all of this wrangling for you, enabling SMEs to input their contributions with ease. In RFP SaaS solutions like Responsive, proposal managers can simply tag SMEs and stakeholders where their help is needed. Through native integrations with all productivity tools (e.g., Slack, Teams, etc.), colleagues are pinged with clear instructions and are then able to add their expertise directly into the RFP draft.

Centralizes internal knowledge

Regardless of how large the company, knowledge organization is always a challenge. Different people like to work in different tools and to store files in different places, with different naming conventions. For those tasked with crafting RFP responses quickly, this creates a muddied knowledge landscape that’s complicated to navigate.

A key benefit of an RFP SaaS solution is that it creates a single source of truth for all company knowledge. Every single file is stored in a centralized repository – one that’s easily searchable. That way, with features like Responsive LookUp, a user simply needs to state what they’re looking for to find every single piece of documentation available at their fingertips.

Robust knowledge management also provides significant advantages that extend beyond response processes. By giving every employee access to your RFP software – which doubles as a centralized repository for all organizational content – you can democratize knowledge sharing.

Customizes and automates responses

One of the biggest advantages offered by an RFP SaaS is the time saved with intuitive AI. RFPs can be very repetitive: up to 80% of questions will be nearly identical to those you’ve answered before. Because RFP software stores all company content – including past RFPs – in an easily searchable repository, you don’t have to answer these questions again. Instead, your RFP SaaS solution will populate the answers automatically.

However, customization is always important. After all, you want to ensure each proposal is as relevant to the specific opportunity and RFP as possible. The best RFP SaaS providers will offer native generative AI features that’ll automatically customize both repetitive and net new answers. With the click of a button, you can generate answers for any questions that integrate relevant data and information directly from your content library.

This key efficiency cannot be overstated. Today, some RFPs have as many as a thousand questions. Automated content generation takes care of the bulk of the work – answers can be auto-populated and then fine-tuned by AI or manually, if you prefer. Either way, you’ll save literally dozens of hours in each proposal process.

Produces consistent deliverables

An RFP proposal or bid is sometimes your single shot at making a lasting impression with a potential high-value partner. Because a lot is at stake, you want to ensure your organization is well-represented and that you uphold brand equity in each response.

RFP SaaS solutions enable you to seamlessly design a visually engaging RFP – every time. These platforms automate key processes of visual content production to enhance any proposal with relevant tables, charts, images and other elements that make your response scannable and impactful. The best solutions, like Responsive, will also allow you to easily export into a variety of source files, branded templates (which are generated automatically) or even website pages.

Essential RFP SaaS tools and features

While an RFP SaaS platform will undisputedly decrease your response time while increasing your win rate, not all platforms are built equally. As you’re evaluating how to choose the best RFP software, keep an eye out for these essential tools and features.

Robust integrations

RFP software will be most effective if it can plug directly into your existing workflows without the need for any custom integrations or engineering. Before you seek out and assess solutions, map your current tech stack: take stock of CRMs, productivity apps, cloud storage solutions, communication apps and so on.

That way, you can confidently onboard your new RFP SaaS solution by seamlessly integrating it into your current setup, avoiding potential headaches and maximizing efficiency.

Artificial intelligence assisted automation

Look for proposal software with built-in AI writing assistants. With a simple prompt, your solution should be able to automatically navigate your knowledge base, extract key points and then whip up compelling, personalized responses to complex questions.

Beyond content generation, the right RFP SaaS solution should be able to break through silos by centralizing content and facilitating seamless collaboration. The best platforms will orchestrate workflows on their own, tagging the right experts and stakeholders at the right time – all without any human intervention.

Built-in insights

While win rates remain a crucial success metric, measuring the holistic efficacy of your response process demands a more nuanced approach. This is where RFP SaaS solutions equipped with advanced analytics and reporting capabilities shine.

The best solutions will have at-a-glance dashboards that unlock proactive, data-driven insights to inform strategic decision-making. Top RFP platforms will also leverage built-in intelligence to automatically analyze incoming RFPs, RFIs and other information requests to make a predictive determination on whether you should respond at all based on your past performance. That way, you can focus efforts on opportunities with the highest likelihood of success and maximize your proposal management human resources.

Not just RFPs

The best RFP SaaS solutions will empower you to respond to any type of information request with efficiency and accuracy. These include RFPs, RFIs, RFQs, DDQs, security questionnaires and more.

Some RFP platforms were built as a point-solution, so they address just a single type of information request. Look for strategic response management (SRM) solutions like Responsive, which was designed from inception to work with any kind of RFX or questionnaire.

Responsive can help you generate more revenue with better RFPs

Responsive is the #1 RFP software solution according to G2 for four years and counting. It’s trusted by leading companies of all sizes across virtually every industry around the world like Adobe, ADP, Atlassian, BlackRock, Cigna, Dow Jones, Meta, Fujitsu, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, SAP and Shopify.

With a robust content library, intelligent automation features, effortless collaboration, built-in analytics and a plethora of native integrations, Responsive enables organizations to win more bids with significantly less effort.

Gain a major competitive edge: Schedule a custom demo to see how Responsive can energize your RFP response process.

Joe Kopyt

Joe Kopyt is a NYC-based B2B marketing leader helping companies shape their narratives and generate demand. Connect with him on LinkedIn.