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Best RFP Response Tools

Updated: Aug 6, 2021


Best response tool

Once you realize that the scope of work has increased so much that you can’t handle everything on your own, you will start looking for help from the technology. This is seen across all industries and all types of jobs, so responding to requests for proposals is no exception.

Lucky for you, there is a wide range of response tools out there that you could use to speed up response and business processes, a smart solution that can ensure you respond to each request for proposal you receive promptly. They all can be divided into several categories, and here we will bringing you ones that have shown the best results in practice.

Everyone included in the team project can use each proposal tool - from the sales team, over administrative assistant, to SMEs (subject matter experts). Therefore, it is important to identify the specific sectors' needs and choose the right tools for your team. In addition, choosing the right proposal response software can be crucial for not running the risk of losing relevant opportunities.



Project Management

Before starting with the response tools, the first and the most obvious thing you will need is a project management tool that will help you keep everything organized in one place. Since the request for proposal is like a human being that’s constantly moving around and changing, the workflow management of the project is also very fluid and dynamic.

When project teams have 1-3 projects, it is easy to keep control of everything and oversee each task. However, once your project numbers jump over this magic number of 3, you may start losing track of things that have to be done, and careful task management is required, especially when many repetitive tasks are involved.

To avoid this, you can try using a software suite or some of these tools to ease up your job.



response software

RACI Matrix

RACI stands for Responsible Accountable Consulted Informed matrix. It represents a system that is supposed to assign and organize roles and responsibilities of everyone in the proposal team who’s working on the project (proposal manager, proposal writers, etc.)

This table shows the RACI index for each person involved, so it is easy to keep the communication clear when you know who the person you are looking for. This will shorten the time needed for you to look for the contact of the person in charge.




ProofHub

This tool has granted its place on this list mostly because it is a perfect combination of a planning and organization tool in one place. Since it comprises both features, it is easy to plan all the steps connected to an RFP response and easily organize the further actions that need to be taken.



team collaboration

Collaboration Management

Team collaboration is strategic for the success of the overall government bid process, either you are a small business or deal with government agencies or partner agencies. Writing an effective request for proposal response is not a one-person job. There are so many proposal professionals involved in this process that it can be hard to count them on, and the lack of management could affect the entire proposal process. The high rate of RFP response that fails to meet the set deadlines is mostly due to a lack of collaboration between the colleagues working on the project.

To reduce this risk, it is important to have a tool to ease up the communication and keep all the parties in one place, where everyone will have easy access to the scheduled meetings, for example. This way, you can also prevent overlapping, which can cause further delays later on.

Google Docs

One of the best things about working with Google Drive and particularly Docs is their accessibility. As a user, you can use a shared folder to put important documents you can access from wherever you have an internet connection.

It is also a good way to keep everything in place. When you have a habit of sending everything via emails, it is hard to track who received what document and when. Google Docs makes your life easier.

Also, it is a good tip to create a Google Doc where you will include everyone’s schedule and keep the group meetings clearly marked so that every person involved can be aware of the other person’s time and availability for consultations.



Boomerang

If you choose to keep the communication going only via emails for whatever reason, then the Boomerang is the right tool for you. However, as already described, sending too many emails can become overwhelming, and you can easily lose track of the schedule and the stakeholders who were supposed to receive them in the first place.

To avoid someone being left out, Boomerang is offering an automated tool that will solve this issue - it has an option of sending automated emails, so you can schedule when an email is supposed to be sent and to whom. This way, you will never miss sending an email before the deadline.


time management

Time Management

Being able to meet the deadlines is imperative when you are writing an RFP response. However, the goal is to keep track of how much time you spend on specific tasks and learn how to make that time shorter.

There is no way to increase your efficiency if you don’t know how much time you plan to spend on an activity and how much time you are actually spending. For this purpose, there are several time-tracking tools and apps you can use to analyze your time consumption.

TimeCamp

If you have any external collaborations working on the RFP response with you, using a TimeCamp tool will come in very handy. The tool can keep track of the billable hours, and it can also analyze productivity and show areas for improvement.

The data collected by this app can be exported into reports, so you can easily read and interpret all the insights provided. Also, it is a good thing to know that the tool works in the background without you having to turn it on every time you start your system manually.


Knowledge management

Knowledge Management

Nowadays, information is the most valuable asset in the proposal writing process, so spending a lot of time finding one that turns out to be irrelevant for your RFP response can cost you precious time and money. To avoid this, it is good advice to look for tools that can scan the knowledge base and mark the sources relevant for your requests for proposals.

Bloomfire

Bloomfire is a good search tool because you can search based on many parameters backed up with some actual tangible data (PDFs, other documents, audio files, etc.). Then, all you have to do is formulate your question and let the AI do the work.

The answer that has been formulated by this tool should not be taken for granted and just copy-pasted into the RFP response. You still need to check the source and take only the data that is really relevant to your project. However, it is a great tool to gather as much information as you need, and it can do it very fast.

With Bloomfire, we have finished with the proposal writing software presentation, and we are ready to jump into the Content Management part.



Content management system

Content Management

Once you finish formulating your RFP response, it is important to know the possible grammar mistakes and types you could have made in the document. It would seem very unprofessional to send a document just like that without even proofreading it first.

Proofreading an RFP proposal serves two purposes - you will scan the document for typos. At the same time, you will scan the document for any data or information conflicted with one another.

Content management tools are there to ease up the proofreading process and help you put the document together, especially when there was more than one writer. Different people have different writing styles, so it is important to make everything uniform.

Grammarly

One of the most popular and most widely used content management tools is Grammarly. The convenience of having it in the browser or the document while you are typing is great because it will help you correct your mistakes on the spot.

Readable

This tool will also help you correct grammar mistakes, but it will also suggest the tone used. It is important to keep the tone friendly and not too harsh -, and this tool will be able to analyze the proposal content and suggest corrections where needed.

This is important because when you are writing an RFP response, you want to sound compassionate - you want to show the potential client that you understand the issue he’s facing and that you can provide a solution.




Visible Thread

When writing an RFP proposal, it is normal to expect that documents written by different people will have different writing styles and tones. However, once you are finished writing it, it is important to make the whole document uniform.

However, instead of doing that at the end of the project, it is better to set grounds before writing the response. That’s where the Visible Thread jumps in. It is a sort of marketing tool which will help you solve the aforementioned problem.

This tool can give you suggestions on which words to use and what the tone should be. Also, it can analyze already written content once you set the parameters (for example, you want to use the word client instead of customers). Finally, it can point out the changes needed to align with the content strategy.

Board Studios

Not many companies will use board Studios as a particular tool, but something like this will be significant. The thing is that sometimes the solutions the vendor is offering can be so complicated, yet necessary, that they need to be explained in person.

When that is not possible, the Board Studios jump in to help you engagingly create video content so that you can present your idea in the best possible way. Sometimes, you can even use this tool as a part of your RFP response if you want to give the personal touch and make a really eye-catching proposal.


project management

Design Management

Writing an RFP response is not all about typing everything in one boring document and sending it away. If you really want to stand out from the crowd, you should think about using some design management tools. These tools will help you add a positive and creative twist to your proposal by adding a visual element. Studies have shown that visual elements are the ones that will grab the reader’s attention first, and then they will read the rest.

ChartBlocks

One of the best ways to grab the reader's attention is to translate all the boring sentences about statistics and results into charts. This tool will help you create nice charts that are visually appealing and very readable.

You can use premade spreadsheets to export data to this app, from where you will continue to select the design, the placement, etc. You can also select the chart format - do you want it to be exported as a picture or other document type and so on.

Canva

It can be understandable that you want to have the best RFP proposal possible but don’t get too carried away and start creating some sections and paragraphs in Photoshop. After all, looks are important, but in the end, what is written in the proposal is what matters.

However, there is nothing wrong with using free tools like Canva to add a twist to your RFP responses. Canva is great for designing and creating a proposal template you can use later on to fill it with data.

Also, it can help you with other fine adjustments, like inserting your company's logo into the documents, adding heather and footer, etc. For these purposes, Canva can do a great job.

Qwilr

If you really want to stand out, the Qwilr is the tool you need. It is a design tool companies use to make their analysis more dynamic since it allows you to create interesting reports while following your company’s brand identity.

There are numerous templates in the app you can use, and all of them are easily customizable to add your brand colors, logo, etc.

However, this tool shows the best result when you use it for proposals that allow you to have freedom. On the other hand, if the proposal is supposed to fit a preset form, this tool may not be the best for you since it will be hard to implement it in the solution.

Chart Blocks

As the name says, if you need to include charts and graphs in your proposal (and in 99% of cases, you will have to), this tool will easily import data from a spreadsheet and then fit it into a selected one chart template.

Of course, you will use these design tools only if you feel that the potential client will not consider it unprofessional. So always make sure to keep that professional tone and look in your mind.


software

RFP Management Software

All of these aforementioned tools are offering help and support with some part of the RFP proposal process. However, many software on the market offers you comprehensive support, with most features gathered in one place. For example, you may need cloud-based proposal management software or proposal automation software.

Using such software will significantly reduce time in the bidding process, and it is usually used by someone who’s just entering this RFP world. More experienced. However, more companies like to customize everything by their needs and may opt-out to craft their own software or use tools they find very useful.


software

RFP360

The thing that makes this software uniques is that it can be used both by investors and vendors. In a situation where both parties have chosen to use the same software, the whole proposal process will flow seamlessly.

The communication will be straightforward since all the questions and answers will be available to both parties through the software. As a result, efficiency will increase, and the project goal would be met with better results.

RFP360 is a software that comprises the following elements:

  • Knowledge management

  • Time management

  • Reporting

  • RFP automation

  • Communication management

  • Project management

As you can see, this is a comprehensive all-in-one tool, and it has no limitations in regards to the number of users or projects.


last minute

Last-minute Management

Even though we live in an era where almost every business proposal or document is being sent and received by all forms of digital media (mostly email), some companies and institutions require you to send a hard copy.

If you are applying for a job not close to your physical location, sending a hard copy may require several days, which you don’t have if you managed to craft the proposal last minute.

Mimeo

To solve the aforementioned problem and give companies more time to work on their proposal, Mimeo has created a solution. They have specialized in delivering any urgent documents. They promise you will not feel the difference between sending a digital copy and delivering it in person.


For receiving more specialized consultancy, call us or schedule a free consultation. We are ready to assist you at every stage of the process.




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