6 Unexpected Ways to Leverage Technology in Your RFP Process

Written by
Wendy Gittleson
Wendy Gittleson
Updated on
  4 min read

Managing requests for proposals (RFPs) probably isn’t how you’d spend your time given the choice.

Between gathering requirements from internal stakeholders, gathering vendor responses, and evaluating each proposal, there are a lot of moving parts … and those parts always seem to move in the wrong direction.

(Learn how RFP360 can simplify your organization’s RFP process.)

Fortunately, technology can make RFP management more … well, manageable.

Below, we’ve compiled advice to help you make the most of technology during your RFP process.

6 little-known tricks to make RFPs a little less infuriating.

It’s tempting to rely on all-in-one solutions to simplify your procurement process. Who wants to use multiple solutions when one will do the trick, right?

Not so fast.

Depending on what kind of procurement software or vendor resource management tool you’re looking for, it’s often wiser to go niche.

Why? Because no one is the best at everything … and if you really only need to solve one or two problems, you shouldn’t pay a suite price.

Consider trying a newer or smaller player who offers more functionality or more competitive plans than their legacy counterparts. Websites like Capterra are great for finding specialty purchasing software (and the reviews can help you learn just how viable these solutions are).

How to use it in your next RFP: Identify your top procurement needs and look for a best-of-breed solution that specializes in solving that problem.

Use collaboration outlets like LinkedIn Groups and industry-based forums like Procurious (for procurement professionals) to ask colleagues for feedback on topics you’re struggling with.

Because discussions are web-based, you’ll often get a more global and comprehensive perspective. (It’s also a great way to network.)

Quora is another valuable resource. Simply post a question, and users will provide responses. You can also search to find questions that have already been answered.

How to use it in your next RFP: Use industry forums to get free advice on everything from vendor recommendations to procurement strategy tips.

Does 90 percent fewer internal emails sound nice?

That’s what the RFP360 team experienced when we adopted a team messaging system called Slack. It completely revolutionized our communication process.

Slack allows you to send direct messages to your teammates (similar to a Skype chat) and have group discussions according to topic (sales, marketing, funny cat videos, etc.) The robust search engine allows you to find past messages, including links, files, pictures, and attachments.

And best of all, the basic plan is free.

We’re not the only ones using it, everyone from global charities to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is using it.

Think it’s a nice idea, but not quite right for procurement? See why procurement teams love it.

How to use it in your next RFP: Use it as a platform for discussing project priorities, brainstorming RFP questions, or conferring with your colleagues.

We’ve all been there. You’re looking for that one RFP template, that one set of functionality requirements, or security questions.

Unfortunately, it’s scattered across multiple documents on several computers, and you’re not sure which version is most up to date or how to find it. If this has happened to you, it’s the perfect time to create a team repository of past work.

Whatever method you use, the goal is to get your data out of static documents (like Word or Excel) and into a one-version living document that multiple people can edit at the same time.

How to use it in your next RFP: Create a company Wiki, a Google Intranet, or a team collaboration platform as the final place to store and edit important RFP templates, projects, and files.

Did you know 67 percent of consumers have turned to social media for customer service?

That makes social media the perfect place  to see how potential vendors handle complaints and crises.

As our friends at Businessolver rightly stated: “In today’s Digital Age, nearly every company has social media profiles. In fact, it could be a red flag if a company doesn’t have an online presence. Just as you would check the social media activity of a potential new hire, it’s smart to see what your potential partner is doing online too.”

How to use it in your next RFP: Check vendors’ social media accounts as part of your standard RFP process, keeping a careful eye out for how they respond to complaints.

Your company’s needs are dynamic and changing constantly, just like your vendors’ offerings. Use some kind of calendar or task tracking (like Google Calendar or RFP360) to remind yourself to do ongoing vendor selection tasks like updating profiles, refreshing standard RFP questions, or checking in with key stakeholders.

Trying to remember to do this task yourself opens you up to the possibility of forgetting. And let’s be honest, we’ve all forgotten something important before.

When it comes to work, the possibility of forgetting is much more likely, as last-minute, high-priority tasks always seem to pop up at the least convenient times.

How to use it in your next RFP: Don’t expect yourself to remember to do updates. Assume you won’t and set automated recurring reminders at a pace that fits you.

How RFP360 can help

RFP360 — the only end-to-end RFP management solution on the market today — was designed to make the RFP process easier than ever.

“Using RFP360 allows us to focus on the most important aspects of the RFP and makes managing vendor information much more straightforward,” said Mark Rieder, SVP of HR technologies and benefits administration at NFP.

Learn how RFP360 can improve RFP management at your organization.

Wendy Gittleson

Wendy has more than 10 years experience as a B2B and B2C copywriter. She developed a passion for writing about tech from living in the San Francisco Bay Area and working for a technology school. From there, she transitioned to writing about everything from SaaS to hardware and cloud migration. She is excited to be part of the wonderful team at Responsive and looks forward to playing her part in building the future. Connect with Wendy on LinkedIn.