What is strategic response management?
Strategic response management (SRM) is an emerging category of software technology that allows response and sales teams to respond to complex information requests quickly and accurately.
The most robust solutions are built on an AI-enabled platform that delivers core capabilities that include content management and automation, project management, collaboration, content accessibility and business intelligence.
SRM takes a holistic view of an organization’s response management. It delivers:
- Demonstrable benefits that reverberate through business ecosystems, not just response teams
- A democratized single source of truth that transforms the ways organizations share and exchange information
- Greater intelligence, better collaboration, efficiency and trust
- Improved scalability
SRM enables organizations to always put their best foot forward.
The time is right for change
Between an uncertain economy, mounting budgetary cuts, minefields of security concerns and an evolving regulatory landscape, earning and retaining a buyer’s business has never been more complicated or involved more stakeholders.
While requests for response (RFP), requests for quotes (RFQ) and requests for information (RFI) are still vital parts of the buyer journey, the volume, breadth and complexity of those questionnaires and more, are adding pressure to proposal teams and organizations as a whole.
Far more than RFPs
Data collected from Responsive’s annual customer event, Responsive Summit23, illustrates that although RFPs continue to lead, information request needs are expanding to include multiple use cases.
The most common information requests attendees respond to are:
- RFPs — 85 percent
- RFIs — 81 percent
- RFQs — 62 percent
- Vendor security questionnaires (VSQs) — 43 percent
- Due diligence questionnaires (DDQs) — 38 percent
- Compliance documentation — 31 percent
- Risk assessments — 28 percent
- Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)/Environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) questionnaires — 26 percent
- Other — 14 percent
Note that totals are more than 100 percent because most organizations respond to multiple types of information requests.
Organizations will continue to see more third-party risk assessments, such as security questionnaires, due diligence questionnaires (DDQ), environmental, social and governance questionnaires (ESG), and so on. Each will require accurate and thoroughly vetted responses.
Responses impact diverse teams and use cases across the organization
Furthermore, information request challenges extend beyond proposal teams to sales, marketing, procurement, operations, and touch almost every function in a company. Whether it’s sales and proposal teams looking to streamline RFx responses, IT/InfoSec teams handling vendor security questionnaires or investor relations and HR teams responding to ESG or DEI questionnaires, organizations that invest in SRM as a go-to-market solution experience greater efficiency, improved productivity, increased win rates, better morale and higher profitability.
Strategic response management vs. traditional response management
Traditional response management processes are siloed, inefficient and ad hoc. The strategic approach streamlines the external request lifecycle by leveraging:
- Content management — A single source of truth for all company knowledge
- Project management — Automate workflows and assign tasks
- Collaboration — Bring teams together within projects to streamline input
- Content accessibility — Access trusted pre-approved content from the tools you work in every day
- Analytics — Measure and track the metrics that matter
- Powerful integrations — A world-class suite of integrated solutions that enhances an existing technology stack
All of this is powered by an AI engine that drives smart content recommendations and responses, helps create intelligent workflows and recommends collaborators for each project.
What sort of outcomes can companies expect?
A recent research note from Aragon Research found that companies that adopt SRM experience:
- Higher win rates — Faster and better responses to winnable requests enable companies to put their best foot forward
- Increased productivity — Tools such as artificial intelligence and project management help even small teams accurately respond to numerous requests at the same time while keeping them accountable and on track
- Scalability — Faster more efficient processes help companies scale without adding resources
- Better morale — The right information at their fingertips lets employees focus on rewarding, instead of repetitive, tasks
“Strategic Response Management is quickly emerging as the next “must-have” category of enterprise solutions for go-to-market teams. An organization’s ability to effectively and efficiently respond to (information) requests directly impacts its ability to win deals, mitigate risk, and enhance employee engagement and satisfaction.” — Aragon Research
Companies investing in strategic response management outperform competitors
A survey commissioned by Responsive for the 2023 Strategic Response Management Maturity Report asked 700 executives and managers responsible for strategic responses around the world questions about their approach to response management at their organizations. The data is compelling. Organizations that are SRM leaders drive better business outcomes–they win more deals and generate more revenue.
Response leaders who invested in the skills, platform, processes, and sponsorship to improve the speed and quality of responses for mission-critical information requests achieve significantly higher win rates and revenue.
Strategic response leaders win 58% of their responses, which is a whopping 16% higher than laggards. Leaders also generate 34% greater revenue than laggards.
What happened when one of the world’s largest companies embraced SRM?
Before partnering with Responsive, Microsoft realized that their response solution didn’t meet their needs. Its search functionality was clunky, there was no project automation and it wasn’t scalable.
Additionally, it was vital to Microsoft that its company knowledge became accessible to everyone who needed it, not just RFP response personnel.
After achieving far better outcomes with Responsive, they opened the platform to more than 17,000 field users worldwide for a myriad of use cases. The company experienced impressive results. They became more efficient, lowered risk, enabled a better employee experience, and most importantly, took time back to spend with customers.
They also saved a significant amount of money.
“Based on the estimated time team members saved looking for content using (Responsive), we saved $4.2M in FY22 in the self-serve libraries alone.”
— Rhonda Nicholson, Microsoft Sr. Business Program Manager
Please watch the Director of Proposals for Microsoft’s Center for Excellence share their story if you’d like to learn more about Microsoft’s successes.
What about smaller organizations?
Certainly, SRM helps enterprise organizations put their best foot forward, but what about smaller organizations?
Mambu, a SaaS cloud banking platform in the SMB (small and medium-sized business) space, felt like they were drowning under tight deadlines for all types of questionnaires.
For them, each proposal felt like Groundhog Day, with having to copy/paste repetitive questions and answers over and over again without the ability to adequately search for the answers they needed. It was even worse for solution engineers because their responses were manual. Today, Mambu has a library of curated responses that enable them to make better decisions.
Mambu’s content is searchable, customizable and up-to-date. Employees are even using Responsive outside of the proposal realm. Now, security teams can directly answer individual questions through Responsive’s Slack integration.
“We also use RFPIO in other parts of the organization, including information security, and assurance teams. They use it to keep their content up to date. Now when we get something like a due diligence questionnaire, it’s easier for those teams to manage as well. It’s game-changing for not just the sales team, but the company as well.” — Louise Fahey, Senior Proposal Manager at Mambu
Louise no longer feels as though she is drowning and she spends a lot more time with her family.
Read more about Mambu’s experiences.
Microsoft’s and Mambu’s experiences aren’t unique. If you would like to learn more about how SRM can help your teams put your company’s best foot forward and deliver better outcomes, we’d be happy to set aside some time.
Responsive (formerly RFPIO) is the global leader in strategic response management software, transforming how organizations share and exchange critical information. Our innovative, best-in-class platform empowers companies to accelerate growth, mitigate risk and improve the employee experience. With Responsive, frontline teams deliver superior responses using intelligent technologies to quickly, accurately and automatically manage RFPs, RFIs, vendor security questionnaires (VSQs), due diligence questionnaires (DDQs), risk assessments, business presentations and all other complex information requests (RFXs).