blog post

Your Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best RFP Software

Gaurav Baheti
Jan 02, 2024·15 min

Requests for proposals are positioned at the beginning of the procurement process and play an important role in shaping the trajectory of the entire procurement process. Each step in the process builds upon the success of the preceding one. If the beginning falters, the ripple effect of inefficiency and missed opportunities can reverberate throughout. A poorly implemented RFP process can set the stage for a suboptimal procurement outcome.

With the rise of the digital evolution in the world of procurement, it is time for the tools that power these processes to also evolve. This is where a request for proposal software comes into focus. An effective RFP software sets the tone of efficiency right at the inception. The positive impact of using RFP automation software in the beginning of the procurement process can have a lasting impact on the entire process, extending much beyond the purview of the RFP stage.

What is RFP software?

An RFP software is a tool designed to facilitate the creation, management, and evaluation of Request for Proposals. An RFP software helps in driving the RFP process forward, providing a centralized platform for collaboration, document management, and analysis. Some standard features of a RFP software include template creation, document versioning, collaborative editing, and response tracking. What once was a tedious and time-consuming task, RFP software has successfully simplified the process.

What to include in a request for proposal?

When creating a request for proposal, it’s essential to incorporate important information pertaining to the project, its goal, specific needs, etc. The aim of the RFP is to function as a comprehensive outline for prospective vendors to understand the scope of the project and bid accordingly and accurately.

Some key information to include in your RFP are:

  • Company overview
  • Goals and objectives of the project and required services
  • Submission guidelines with detailed tasks and deliverables
  • Clear timelines for receiving bids and announcing the chosen proposal
  • Evaluation and qualification criteria
  • Estimated budget
  • Specific questions you need the vendor to answer in their proposal
  • Terms and conditions, if any

Why does a business need RFP software?

Businesses need request for proposal software because outdated methods struggle to cope with the demands of modern enterprises, leading to bottlenecks, delays, and missed opportunities. The benefits of RFP software extend beyond mere automation. The real-time collaboration capabilities empower teams to work seamlessly across geographies, fostering a more agile and responsive procurement ecosystem. Moreover, the analytics tools embedded in RFP software provide valuable insights, enabling data-driven decision-making.

Procurement businesses often grapple with the manual nature of RFP processes. The traditional pen and paper approach comes with its own limitations, which not only costs valuable time but also results in inefficiencies and errors.

RFP software are strategic allies that help overcome the challenges of traditional and manual RFP processes. RFP automation results in significant improvement in efficiency. With the built-in validation checks and collaboration features of a RFP platform, businesses can minimize errors, maximize efficiency, and significantly reduce the turnaround time.

What are the benefits of RFP software?

RFP software marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of procurement processes. Navigating the complexities in today’s day and age requires a strategic investment in RFP software.

Here are some of the benefits that RFP software promises:

1. Time Savings

RFP software drastically reduces the time spent on creating, editing, and reviewing proposals. This time efficiency translates to faster decision-making and a more agile procurement process.

2. Enhanced Collaboration

RFP software allows teams to collaborate in real-time, irrespective of their physical location. It breaks down silos and ensures that the collective intelligence of all the stakeholders is utilized effectively.

3. Error Reduction

Manual processes are more prone to errors. Mistakes in supply chain management can be quite costly. RFP software mitigates these risks, incorporating validation checks, and ensuring compliance and transparency.

4. Customization and Standardization

RFP platform offers standardized templates that ensure consistency across proposals, while also giving organizations the flexibility to tailor documents to their specific procurement scenario unique to their organizational needs.

Steps in the RFP process

The RFP process typically involves several key steps, which organizations may tweak to fit their unique needs:


The RFP process starts when an organization identifies a need. The first step in the RFP process is the discovery stage where you discover the what, why, who, when, how of the RFP with the help of key stakeholders. Key stakeholders collaborate to define project scope, goals, and budget.

Creation & Release

The next step in the RFP process involves the procurement team creating a detailed RFP that clearly defines what is expected from the vendors with essential information around guidelines, timelines, evaluation criteria, terms and conditions, etc. The RFP is then released for vendors to bid on.


After the issuing organization receives responses from vendors, the procurement team sits down to shortlist and evaluate the RFPs based on agreed upon criteria.


With a list of shortlisted vendors, the procurement team sets out to find the winning proposal through final presentations or additional demos.


In the last step of the RFP process, the procurement team announces the vendor and proceeds for the final negotiation.

Steps for choosing the right RFP management software

Here is a detailed step by step roadmap on how to choose the best RFP management software tailored to your organization’s unique needs:

1. Evaluate your RFP process

Engage relevant stakeholders to deeply understand your current RFP process. Determine the frequency of RFPs, any budget constraints, overarching goals, and existing workflow gaps. This will set the stage for aligning the chosen RFP automation software with your specific requirements.

2. Understand pain points and opportunities

Identify pain points within your existing RFP process to determine areas for improvement. Common pain points include scattered information across departments, content uniformity and governance, time-intensive processes, disjointed workflows, etc. Understanding these pain points allows you to prioritize features that directly address these challenges.

3. Drive decision-making with data

Quantify time and resource allocation for RFP processes and calculate the ROI to determine potential savings with the adoption of RFP automation tools. Clearly define objectives against which the success of a RFP software will be gauged. Data can show you the right path and make a compelling case for the implementation of RFP software.

4. Engage with and assess potential vendors

Compare RFP software and narrow down your choices by engaging with potential vendors. Take demos and interact with the team behind the software to find synergies. Go with a prioritized feature list, ask the right questions from the vendors to ensure the RFP software aligns with your requirements.

This strategic roadmap goes beyond just features. By assessing your current process, understanding pain points, exploring comparisons, defining KPIs and success metrics, and engaging with potential vendors, you can make an informed decision that elevates your organization’s procurement capabilities.

Essential RFP software features & important questions to ask RFP software vendors

Procurement professionals, entrusted with the responsibility of selecting the right RFP software, play a pivotal role in steering their organizations toward procurement excellence. To make an informed choice, you need to assess and compare different RFP software vendors using a set of well-defined criteria.

As you evaluate RFP software vendors, remember that your choices today will shape the future of procurement in the digital age.

Here are essential features and important questions to ask RFP software vendors:

1. Integration and Compatibility

Can the RFP software seamlessly integrate with our existing procurement tools and systems?

Your RFP software should act as a cohesive element within your procurement ecosystem. Compatibility with existing tools and systems ensures a harmonious workflow without disruptions.

Does it support integrations with key enterprise tools like CRM, ERP, or collaboration platforms?

In the interconnected digital landscape, your RFP software should be a team player. It should effortlessly integrate with your CRM, ERP, and other collaboration tools. Without this capability, you risk data silos and inefficiencies that can hinder your procurement team’s effectiveness.

How does the software handle collaboration in multi-cloud and hybrid environments?

Procurement today operates in diverse environments, from on-premises solutions to multi-cloud and hybrid setups. Your RFP software should bridge these diverse landscapes, offering a unified view of your procurement processes. This ensures that your team can seamlessly collaborate, irrespective of the cloud or on-premises infrastructure.

Integration and compatibility are the bedrock of an effective RFP software solution. They determine the agility and efficiency of your procurement processes, impacting everything from collaboration to data accuracy. Emphasizing these aspects in your evaluation is crucial to selecting a solution that truly aligns with your organization’s needs.

2. Customization and Scalability

How customizable is the RFP software to adapt to our unique procurement processes and workflows?

Procurement processes vary across organizations. Your RFP software should not be a one-size-fits-all solution but a flexible tool that aligns with your unique workflows. Customization ensures that the software adapts to your processes, enhancing rather than constraining your procurement operations.

Can it scale to accommodate changes in our procurement demands or organizational growth?

Procurement, like any other business function, experiences changes. Your RFP software should be resilient, scaling effortlessly as your procurement demands evolve or your organization experiences growth. Scalability is not just a feature; it’s a necessity in today’s dynamic business environment.

Does the software offer flexibility in tailoring to specific procurement scenarios or industries?

Procurement scenarios vary, and industries have unique requirements. Your RFP software should provide flexibility in tailoring to specific procurement scenarios and industry needs. A solution that understands and adapts to your industry’s nuances enhances its effectiveness.

The right RFP platform should be a partner that evolves with your organization adapting to changes and empowering your procurement team to navigate the complexities of the procurement landscape.

3. User Experience and Accessibility

Is the platform user-friendly for both procurement professionals and stakeholders involved in the process?

In the digital procurement landscape, user experience is not just a bonus; it’s a necessity. The platform’s interface should be intuitive and user-friendly, minimizing the learning curve for procurement professionals and stakeholders involved in the process.

Does the RFP software offer self-service options for stakeholders to submit and track proposals?

Self-service options are a cornerstone of efficient procurement. The RFP software should empower stakeholders to submit and track proposals without unnecessary complexities. A user-centric design fosters positive interactions, reducing the burden on your procurement team.

Can it support mobile access for procurement professionals on the move and stakeholders outside the office?

Mobility is no longer a luxury; it’s an expectation. Your RFP platform should support mobile access, enabling procurement professionals to manage processes on the go and allowing stakeholders to participate seamlessly, even outside the office. This capability enhances responsiveness and agility in procurement operations.

User experience and accessibility are pivotal factors in the success of your RFP software implementation. A platform that prioritizes user-friendliness, self-service options, and mobile support not only streamlines procurement processes but also contributes to the overall efficiency and satisfaction of your team and stakeholders.

4. Data Handling, Privacy, and Security

How is sensitive data handled within the RFP software?

Data handling is a critical aspect, especially when dealing with sensitive information in the procurement process. Inquire about the mechanisms in place for data storage, transmission, and access control to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of your procurement data.

What measures are implemented to ensure data privacy compliance?

In a landscape with ever-evolving data privacy regulations, it’s imperative that your RFP software adheres to compliance standards. Seek information on the measures the vendor has implemented to comply with data protection regulations relevant to your industry and region.

How robust is the security infrastructure of the RFP software?

Security is non-negotiable. Assess the security protocols and infrastructure of the RFP platform. This includes encryption standards, access controls, and measures against potential security threats. A robust security framework is paramount to safeguarding your procurement data.

5. Training and Onboarding

What training resources and programs does the vendor offer for users and administrators?

A smooth onboarding process is crucial for the successful adoption of any software. Inquire about the training resources and programs provided by the vendor for both end-users and administrators. Adequate training ensures that your team can leverage the full potential of the RFP software.

Is there ongoing support and training as new features are rolled out or as your team evolves?

The procurement landscape is dynamic, and your team’s needs may evolve over time. Ensure that the vendor offers ongoing support and training to keep your team abreast of new features and functionalities. This ensures that your team remains proficient and can adapt to changing requirements.

6. Maintenance and Updates

What is the vendor’s approach to software maintenance and updates?

Regular maintenance and updates are essential to keep the RFP software running smoothly and to address any potential vulnerabilities. Inquire about the vendor’s approach to software maintenance, including the frequency of updates, the ease of implementation, and the level of support provided during the process.

How are system downtimes or disruptions managed during updates?

Updates are necessary, but they should not disrupt your procurement operations. Seek information on how the vendor manages system downtimes or disruptions during updates. A well-planned update strategy minimizes disruptions and ensures continuous availability of the RFP software.

13 Best RFP software to choose from

1. Procol: The best RFP automation software

No more cumbersome spreadsheets and long hours of manually sifting through vendor quotations and information. With Procol’s request for proposal software, operational excellence is non-negotiable. Procol transforms RFP processes into streamlined, collaborative, and transparent endeavors.

Key Features of Procol’s request for proposal software:

  • Customizable Templates: Procol empowers you to craft templates tailored to your specific needs. With a sectional weightage mechanism, these templates adapt to the nuances of your procurement processes, ensuring a perfect fit.
  • Initiate Real-Time Events: With Procol, you can kickstart real-time events with just a click and seamlessly add internal evaluators, ensuring collaboration and efficiency in the process.
  • Shortlist Qualified Suppliers: Procol’s intelligence goes beyond the ordinary. It shortlists qualified suppliers based on rankings, bidder participation, and accurate information, ushering in a new era of precision in supplier selection.
  • Enable Approval Workflows: Procol’s approval workflows streamline documentation and communication, ensuring a seamless journey from initiation to approval.

Why should you choose Procol’s smart RFP software?

  • Improved Operational Efficiency: Experience a transformative shift with Procol’s centralized, automated, and digital RFP automation tools. Witness operational efficiency like never before.
  • All-in-One Procurement Hub: Run techno-commercial bids, RFIs, RFPs, RFQs, and auctions seamlessly under a single project. Procol RFP automation tools bring diverse procurement needs under one roof.
  • Accelerated Turnaround Time: Procol ensures the swift monitoring, auditing, and ranking of supplier bids, accelerating your procurement timelines.
  • Transparency and Risk Mitigation: Procol brings clarity and transparency to your procurement processes by minimizing the risk of missing critical information.
  • Unlock Savings Through Smart Supplier Selection: Procol empowers you to make informed decisions about choosing the best suppliers, based on quantitative and qualitative analysis, thereby unlocking potential savings.
  • Real-Time Collaboration, Real-Time Excellence: Procol transforms collaboration at every step, both for internal and external teams, in real-time.

Embark on a new era of efficiency and precision with Procol’s state-of-the-art RFP software. Request a demo.

2. Responsive

Responsive, formerly RFPIO, transforms information exchange, streamlines RFP processes with intelligent technologies, and boosts frontline team efficiency through document automation and collaboration.

3. Loopio

Loopio helps scale and automate response processes for RFPs, RFIs, etc. and ensure faster completion rates, highr win rates, and significant time savings. With tools like Magic and Response Intelligence™, Loopio streamlines the manual and time-consuming process of RFP response management.

4. Proposify

Proposify is a proposal management system that aids sales teams in drafting, sending, and securing e-signatures for proposals and contracts. Proposify accelerates deal finalization and closure for sales teams.

5. RocketDocs

RocketDocs offers efficient solutions for RFP, RFI, and proposal creation, leveraging an integrated content hub. RocketDocs empowers users to create faster responses, better proposals, and achieve more wins.

6. PandaDoc

PandaDoc revolutionizes document handling for small and medium-sized businesses. It provides a modern platform for creating, managing, tracking, and e-signing documents, leading to decreased creation time and increased deal closure rates.

7. RFP360

RFP360 supports sourcing and procurement teams by centralizing and streamlining the RFx process. It enhances efficiency, mitigates risk, and promotes collaboration through a unified digital workspace. RFP360 empowers buyers and sellers to make informed decisions throughout the purchasing lifecycle.

8. TYASuite

TYASuite’s procurement-to-pay software simplifies and accelerates the procurement process, providing features like smart requisitions, flexible POs, dynamic invoicing, and instant approvals.

9. QorusDocs

QorusDocs is an AI-powered proposal management software. It automates RFP responses, helping enterprise teams produce more proposals faster, and increase win rates.

10. Catapult

Catapult is an all-in-one RFx platform that streamlines procurement, RFP, and contract-sourcing processes. It offers automated responses, team collaboration, progress tracking, and 24/7 support, enhancing efficiency for organizations handling various RFx projects.

11. Promena

Promena provides SaaS solutions for digitized procurement processes, offering modules for supplier base management, e-sourcing, e-procurement, and spend analysis. It transforms procurement with transparency and efficiency.

12. Kissflow

Kissflow is a comprehensive purchase and vendor management solution designed for small to large organizations. It facilitates approval workflows, purchase requisitions, invoicing, and analytics, empowering organizations to manage procurement efficiently.

13. Qvidian

Qvidian automates RFx response and proposal processes, enabling sales and proposal teams to collaborate seamlessly. Their comprehensive suite of 25 cloud-based software products address specific organizational challenges, providing operational support across all sectors.

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