How to write an RFP (Request for Proposal) for training management software

How to write a request for proposal (RFP) for training management software by accessplanit

So, you've had issues arising within your training business, and you’ve realised that training management software is the ideal solution. Maybe you've outgrown the software you currently use, or your staff are finding the level of administrative tasks overwhelming.

You’ve tried search engines, review sites, social media, asking for recommendations and every other information gathering method available to you but you just can’t find what you need.

It sounds like you need to go back to the beginning and collate all of your requirements and problems that you want to solve. Enter, the RFP (Request for Proposal)

So, what actually is a Request for Proposal? And what is the difference between an RPF, an RPI and an RFQ?



What is an RFP?

An RFP stands for Request for Proposal. It is a formal document that organisations use to solicit proposals from potential providers or contractors to provide goods or services. An RFP outlines a project's requirements, timeline, budget, and evaluation criteria for potential suppliers to submit their proposals.

The RFP process enables companies to evaluate and compare proposals from different software providers, and select the best one that can fulfil their needs at a competitive price.

An RFP can be used to gain proposals for partnerships in any sector; but this guide will focus on acquiring training management software specifically. However, the information is still relevant for anyone wanting to use the RFP process!

What is an RFI?

An RFI stands for Request for Information. It is a formal document used by organisations to request information from potential software providers or suppliers about their products, services, capabilities, or pricing. Unlike an RFP, an RFI does not request a proposal or a bid; instead, it seeks general information to help the organisation understand the marketplace and identify potential software providers for a future RFP. An RFI may ask questions about the software provider's experience, qualifications, certifications, and references, as well as their approach to a specific project or their understanding of the industry.

The RFI process allows organisations to gather information, assess market trends, and identify potential software providers before issuing an RFP. An RFI is commonly used in the pre-procurement stage of a project, and it is usually less formal and shorter than an RFP.

What is an RFQ?

An RFQ stands for Request for Quotation. It is a document used by organisations to request a formal quotation or proposal from potential suppliers for goods or services. An RFQ typically includes the product or service specifications, delivery requirements, payment terms, and any other relevant details. The primary purpose of an RFQ is to invite suppliers to submit their quotations for the goods or services requested by the organisation.

An RFQ is usually used for simple and straightforward procurement of goods and services, such as supplies, equipment, and services. RFQs are often used in conjunction with RFPs for large-scale procurement projects where software providers are requested to submit detailed proposals for the supply of goods and services.

How to write an RFP for training management software

Here are the key steps to write an RFP for training management software:

1. Define the project scope

Clearly define the scope of the project or service you are seeking to improve your training management. This should include what you need from training management software, the objectives, deliverables, timeline, budget, and any other relevant details. The scope or description should be easily interpreted and relatable to the training management software providers that you are procuring from, to ensure that they submit a proposal.

2. Determine the evaluation criteria

Decide how you will evaluate the proposals you receive. This can include criteria such as software functionality, how well the TMS (training management software) fits your requirements, the level of ongoing support your team will receive whilst using the software, training, pricing, and timelines.

3. Write the RFP document

The RFP should be written in a clear, concise, and specific manner. It should include the following sections:

  • Introduction: Provide an overview of the project and the purpose of the RFP.
  • Scope of work: Detail the project requirements, deliverables, timelines, and budget. This usually includes a list of requirements or questions that relate to the functional and non-functional features that the chosen software would need to include. This is probably the most important section of the RFP, and needs input from all departments.
  • Proposal guidelines: Provide instructions on how to submit a proposal, including the deadline, format, and any other requirements.
  • Evaluation criteria: Detail the criteria that will be used to evaluate proposals.
  • Contract terms: Include information on the contract terms, such as payment, termination, and any other relevant details.
  • Appendices: Include any additional information that may be relevant to the project, such as technical specifications or sample contracts.
4. Review and finalise the RFP

Before issuing the RFP, review it to ensure that it is clear, accurate, and complete. You may also want to have legal counsel review the document.

5. Issue the RFP

Distribute the RFP to your chosen training management software providers. You may choose to issue the RFP through a bidding platform or through a direct email to potential software providers.

6. Evaluate proposals

Once you receive proposals, evaluate them according to the criteria you defined in the RFP. You may want to involve a team of experts to help evaluate proposals.

7. Select a software provider

After evaluating proposals, select the software software provider that best meets your training business' needs and negotiate a contract.

Are you currently evaluating software for your training business?

Download our free RFP template with functional and non-functional example questions in here!

Download a template request for proposal for selecting training management software

How to request responses to an RFP

To request responses for an RFP, you should follow these steps:

1. Determine the appropriate channels to distribute the RFP

You can use various channels to distribute the RFP, such as email, online portals, or mailing. Some UK-based training management software providers (like us!) will be listed on the UK Government's list of approved software providers, G Cloud, which is suitable for public sector organisations. Determine which channels you'd like to use and reach out your chosen training management software providers through them.

2. Define the timeline and deadline

Establish a timeline for the RFP process, including the deadline for submitting proposals. Make sure the timeline is realistic and gives software providers enough time to prepare their proposals.

3. Provide instructions for submitting proposals

Clearly state the instructions for submitting proposals, including the format, required documents, and contact information for submitting questions or clarifications.

4. Conduct a pre-bid meeting

Host a pre-bid meeting to answer training management software providers' questions, and provide clarifications about the RFP. This meeting will ensure that the software providers understand the requirements and have a clear understanding of what is expected.

5. Respond to software providers' questions

Respond to software providers' questions in a timely manner to avoid delays in the proposal submission process. Consider sharing the answers with all suppliers to ensure transparency.

How to evaluate RFP responses

Evaluating RFP responses is a critical process, as it helps to identify the most qualified and suitable software provider for the project. Here are some steps to help you evaluate RFP responses effectively:

1. Develop an evaluation team

Create a team of individuals who have the expertise and knowledge to evaluate the responses objectively. The team should include members from various departments, such as project management, legal, finance, and procurement.

2. Define evaluation criteria

Establish evaluation criteria based on the RFP requirements and project objectives. The criteria should be clear and measurable, and should reflect the importance of each requirement.

3. Score the responses

Assign scores to each software provider response based on the evaluation criteria. You may want to use a numerical scoring system, a letter grading system, or a weighting system to allocate points.

4. Conduct a review meeting

Bring the evaluation team together to discuss the scores and review the software provider responses. Ensure that all members have the opportunity to express their opinions and concerns.

5. Shortlist software providers

Based on the scores and the evaluation team's feedback, shortlist the software providers that have the highest scores and meet the project requirements.

6. Conduct a final review

Conduct a final review of the shortlisted software providers and their proposals. Schedule meetings with each software provider to clarify any questions or concerns.

7. Select the software provider

Based on the final review, select the software provider that best meets the project requirements, has a track record of success, and provides value for money.

8. Notify software providers

Notify software providers of the outcome of the RFP process, whether they are selected or not. If selected, provide details about the next steps, such as contract negotiation and finalisation.

Why should I write an RFP?

An RFP, or Request for Proposal, is important for several reasons:

It defines project requirements

An RFP outlines the specific requirements of a project, including the scope, deliverables, timelines, and budget. By doing so, it ensures that all parties involved have a clear understanding of what needs to be done.

It invites competitive proposals

An RFP allows businesses to solicit proposals from multiple software providers, which encourages competition and ensures that the best possible solutions are considered.

It establishes a fair evaluation process

An RFP typically outlines the evaluation criteria that will be used to assess proposals, which ensures that all proposals are evaluated fairly and objectively.

It mitigates risk

An RFP can help to mitigate the risk of project failure by ensuring that software providers have the necessary expertise and resources to complete the project successfully.

Things to consider when writing an RFP to acquire training management software

When writing a Request for Proposal (RFP) to acquire training management software, a training company should consider the following key factors:

Scope of requirements

Clearly define the specific functionalities and features required in the training management software. Consider aspects such as course scheduling, registration and enrolment management, resource allocation, tracking and reporting, online learning capabilities, certification management, and integration with existing systems, among others.

Technical specifications

Specify the technical requirements, such as the desired operating system compatibility, hosting options (cloud-based or on-premises), scalability, security protocols, data backup and recovery processes, and any specific integration needs with other software or hardware.

Customisation and configuration

Determine whether the training management software should be customisable to align with your company's branding, workflows, and specific needs. Specify any customisation options required and assess the flexibility of the software to adapt to changing requirements.

User interface and experience

Evaluate the user-friendliness and intuitiveness of the software's interface. Consider the ease of navigation, user roles and permissions management, accessibility features, mobile compatibility, and multi-language support.

Training and support

Enquire about the software provider's training and support offerings. Determine whether they provide initial training for administrators and end-users, as well as ongoing technical support, documentation, and access to an online knowledge base or community forum.

Implementation process

Understand the software provider's implementation process and timeline. Determine whether they offer assistance with data migration from existing systems and how they handle system setup, configuration, and testing.

Data security and privacy

Assess the software's data security measures, including encryption protocols, user authentication, access controls, and compliance with relevant data protection regulations (e.g., GDPR, CCPA). Seek information on how the software provider handles data privacy, storage, and backup procedures.

Pricing and licensing

Request a detailed pricing structure, including any upfront costs, ongoing subscription fees, and additional charges for modules, customisation, or support. Clarify the licensing model (per user, per course, etc.) and enquire about any potential future pricing changes.

Software provider experience and reputation

Request information about the software provider's experience in the training management software domain, including their track record, client references, and case studies. Consider their reputation, customer reviews, and financial stability.

Scalability and future roadmap

Evaluate the software's scalability to accommodate potential growth in your training company. Enquire about the software provider's product roadmap, their commitment to ongoing software updates, and the incorporation of emerging technologies in their solution.

Evaluation criteria and timeline

Clearly outline the evaluation criteria you will use to assess the proposals, such as functionality, technical capabilities, software provider experience, pricing, and support. Set deadlines for proposal submission, software provider presentations or demonstrations, and final decision-making.

By considering these factors and tailoring the RFP to your specific requirements, you can effectively evaluate potential training management software software providers and choose the solution that best aligns with your company's needs and goals.


Overall, an RFP is an important tool for organisations looking to undertake a complex project or procure goods and services from external software providers. It helps to ensure that the project is completed on time, within budget, and to the required specifications.

Are you currently evaluating software for your training business?

Download our free RFP template with functional and non-functional example questions in here!

Download a template request for proposal for selecting training management software