RFP management software: Explore the in-depth value

Written by
Graham McConnell
Graham McConnell
Updated on
  8 min read

Organizations often avoid investing in RFP management software because they neglect to consider the solution’s return on investment (ROI). But organizations that have implemented RFP360 — the only full-circle RFP management software on the market today — say it brings measurable results.

“There are a lot of people out there who know that RFP software exists, but they think they’re too small to have it or to make good use of it,” said Brandon Fyffe, business development associate at CareHere. “All they see is the cost. They don’t consider that if it saves them an hour or two per response, that really adds up. We need to focus on how much more business we can win with the time saved.”

Below, we’ll cover exactly how RFP360 improves the RFP process for issuers and responders.

RFP management software for issuing effective RFPs

RFP360 empowers organizations to find right-fit vendors by making it easier than ever to create effective RFPs and evaluate responses.

Create effective RFPs

Creating an effective RFP requires significant collaboration between several internal stakeholders. But getting everyone to work together can be a challenge. Especially when they’re using manual tools like Word, Excel and Outlook.

By empowering users to work on the same document from any location, RFP management software eliminates version-control issues. The solution’s knowledge library also makes it easy for users to store, organize, search and reuse past RFP content. Consequently, users don’t have to reinvent the wheel with every RFP. RFP360 even contains a library of proven RFP templates that gives users a head-start when writing RFPs.

At Lockton — a property and casualty, employee benefits, and retirement brokerage firm — that feature saves significant time, which benefits them, their clients, and their vendors.

“We had templates in Excel, but we’d always have to add customizations. Then, we’d send multiple copies of those spreadsheets via email, and we’d have to track those emails individually,” said Eric Hollenbach, HR technology consultant. “RFP360 helped us streamline our templates so we don’t have to add as much. We’re a billable-hour practice, so that reduction in time is great for clients. Additionally, we now have time to ensure our vendors understand the questions.”

Gather proposals

By providing insight into vendor progress, RFP360 empowers users to ensure the procurement process is on track with their timeline. This capability helps users at NFP — a leading insurance brokerage and consulting firm — save time and avoid unnecessary emails.

“Now, we know exactly when they open their RFP invite and if they’re working on their response,” said Mark Rieder, SVP of HR technologies and benefits administration. “It doesn’t take six emails to see their completion status.”

Mark also touts RFP360’s ability to store and organize vendor information ahead of time, which helps NFP more quickly identify the right vendors for their clients.

“We have all our core vendors fill out a general RFP/RFI in advance of our projects and store their information in RFP360. Then, we send out a few targeted questions that are specific to that group,” Mark said. “It makes it much easier for them to respond, and it makes scoring much simpler for us.”

Lockton takes a similar approach, using RFP360’s vendor profiles to store and organize up-to-date information on vendors’ capabilities.

“I have two colleagues who work more closely with profiles than I do, but I know they’re now able to keep an organized database of vendor responses and find answers more easily,” Eric said. “I think that’s made their lives easier because we get questions from the other Lockton offices, their clients, and prospects every day about vendors they’re working with, and now we can easily answer those questions.”

Score vendor responses

Finally, RFP360 makes it easy for organizations to evaluate vendors and make the right selection.

Using automated weighted scoring, users can quickly compare vendors side by side, section by section, and question by question.

At ihouse — a consulting firm specializing in HRIS analysis and system selection, project management, and systems consulting — users find this feature particularly helpful.

“What’s been most helpful about using RFP360 is the automated scoring,” said Ronni Beckwith, principal, HR technology consulting practice leader. “Before, when using an Excel template, we would have to go through each category to ensure there were no errors from all the copy and pasting. The Excel formulas would often break in the process. It took a lot of time to reconcile.”

RFP360 also ensures ihouse’s selection process is defensible.

“The new electronic process ensures full transparency,” Ronni explained. “If there’s ever a question of how we came to a decision about a selection, we have a full record of the event.”

RFP management software for creating winning proposals

Most organizations view proposals as a necessary evil. They’re not exactly fun, but they’re part of the game if you want to win new deals.

But much of the hate for proposals comes from organizations’ reliance on archaic and cumbersome processes.

RFP360 brings the RFP response process into the Digital Age, empowering a much better experience for users.

Quickly craft winning proposals

One of the biggest problems with proposals is that multiple employees have to invest tons of time to create them. Fortunately, RFP360 users experience significant time-savings when responding to RFPs.

The time-savings even allow companies like CareHere — an organization that specializes in providing on-site healthcare through employers — to take a more strategic approach to sales.

“It’s definitely made us more efficient. RFP360 has given us back our time and allowed us to really pick and choose our projects,” said Brandon Fyffe, business development associate. “We’re not frantic anymore. We can take a deep breath, focus on being strategic, and make sure we’re choosing the right projects and providing quality responses.”

In fact, Brandon says RFP360 doubled his productivity.

“I can respond to twice as many RFPs in the same amount of time,” he explained. “The platform makes responding so fast, now one-week turnarounds don’t scare me a bit.”

Reuse past proposal content

One of the ways RFP management software makes it quicker and easier to create proposals is by ensuring users don’t have to reinvent the wheel with every RFP. Thanks to the knowledge library, users can easily store, organize, search and reuse past proposal content, giving them a head-start on RFP responses.

At Technolutions —  a higher education customer relationship management solutions provider — the Knowledge Base allows the proposal team to better manage RFPs during high-volume periods.

“RFP360 has really helped us handle dramatic influxes,” said Chief of Staff Laura Gardner. “For example, at one point last year, we had 12 RFPs due in one month, and we were able to submit responses to all of them.”

The RFP management software knowledge library also gives organizations peace of mind, knowing institutional knowledge won’t be lost when key employees leave, as leaders at National Geographic Learning | Cengage— an educational content, technology and services company — can attest.

“We have the security of knowing our knowledge is safe and consistent,” said Beverly Blakely Jones, supervisor at the organization. “We don’t have to worry that we’ll lose any SME expertise if someone quits or takes a vacation.”

Empower even your least tech-savvy users to leverage RFP360’s capabilities

RFP360’s development team made ease of use a high priority — a decision users agree paid off.

“RFP360 is incredibly easy to use. Whenever we hire a new marketer or product person, we send them our recorded training, quickly walk them through it, and they’re onboarded very quickly,” Beverly explained. “I haven’t had any complaints from anyone that uses RFP360.”

Thousands of users first discovered RFP management software after receiving an invite to respond to an RFP issued through the solution. Almost all of them were able to create their response in RFP360 without any training.

“We responded to an RFP from one of our now current partners who was using RFP360 as a buyer to collect and evaluate submissions. Before that, I wasn’t aware this kind of solution existed,” said Laura Gardner, chief of staff at Technolutions. “After doing some due diligence and looking at competitors, we realized it would really help our process.”

Take advantage of innovative new technology

RFP360 constantly monitors industry trends and solicits customer feedback. As a result, we’re always adding new features and functionality. These updates help users better manage the RFP process.

“My idea of a real partner is someone who listens to — and uses — customer feedback,” said Mark of NFP. “That’s exactly what RFP360 has done.”

Artificial intelligence

One key enhancement to the RFP management software was the recent addition of artificial intelligence (AI). Now, RFP360 provides more relevant responses to previously answered questions. The result is improved accuracy, increased time savings, and ultimately, more effective proposals.

“The addition of AI is the latest example of our commitment to drive the market forward and to provide our customers with innovative solutions,” said Stuart Ludlow, technical lead and co-founder at RFP360. “Our enhanced search engine will empower RFP responders to quickly and easily see the most relevant content, and most importantly, it will grow more effective over time.”

Client discovery

RFP360 also recently released the Client Discovery module. This tool stores vendor-submitted discovery information in the solution’s dynamic, searchable database. Client permitting, vendors can also access intel from discoveries within the RFP360-generated RFP. The new module was greeted with open arms at Lockton.

“We’ve tried multiple methods of managing discoveries in the past,” Eric explained. “First, we sent out a lengthy survey but found it wasn’t as effective as we initially hoped. Then, we switched and made a Word document, but it ended up consisting of 70 pages worth of questions.”

Using Client Discovery made the process much easier for his organization and his clients.

“Moving this process online — instead of asking clients or prospects to sift through a giant Word doc — is a huge plus,” Eric said. “They can add other members of their team and have them answer questions at the same time without having to worry about duplicating responses. That’s been a game-changer.”

Client Discovery also makes it easier for Lockton’s vendors to craft successful RFP responses.

“Vendors often feel like they’re not getting a lot of insights from what our clients and prospects tell us,” Eric explained. “We’ve always sent our discovery to them, but now, they can view it within their RFP as they’re answering questions. It’s much easier for them.”

Want to learn more?

Request a free, no-obligation demonstration to see first-hand how RFP360 can improve the RFP process at your organization.

Graham McConnell

Graham lives in the B2B marketing space. He dabbles in writing, usually about digital marketing, but has other interests like the Portland Trail Blazers, the Portland Timbers, sci-fi films, video games and of course, response management.