What is the difference between an RFP and a Proposal?

In RFP360, you can create RFPs and respond to them by writing proposals. The first thing you need to identify is what type of user you are. Either way, we have tools to help you in your efforts!

While sometimes used as synonyms by mistake, RFPs and proposals are distinctly different.

RFPAs the name suggests, an RFP is a request for a proposal. RFPs are issued by buyers and published to vendors for a response. Vendors (or suppliers) create proposals in response to RFPs.

  • Are issued by buyers or procurement organizations
  • Ask questions about vendor/supplier capabilities
  • Allow the issuer to compare the capabilities among potential vendors

You can create RFPs in RFP360. You can also create RFIs, RFQs, and vendor profiles . For simplicity, we refer to RFPs in a very broad sense. 

ProposalsProposals are prepared by new business teams (sales or marketing) to respond to new business opportunities. A proposal may be prepared in response to an RFP you've been invited to via RFP360 or can be unsolicited. Unsolicited means the request didn’t come through a formal RFP (competitive bidding) process. 

There are also proposals that your client sends to you for a specific need that can be uploaded into RFP360 and worked by your team. We often refer to these as self-initiated.  

  • Are prepared by sales and marketing teams
  • Address questions from an RFP and/or contains statements about a company’s capabilities
  • Allow a potential client to learn more about the proposing company


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