Accruent is an SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) company dedicated to helping customers and clients with their physical space and asset management. In recent years, the company has seen notable growth as they’ve acquired other companies to increase their share in the space. They now have nine different products—all of them technical in nature.
Between all those products, the proposals team has a lot of RFPs (request for proposals) to manage and is regularly juggling several at once. According to Jack Pearce, Manager of the Proposal Team, the technical nature of Accruent’s products means the proposals team doesn’t have the knowledge required to answer all the questions themselves. But the company’s subject matter experts (SMEs) are busy people, and the team has to be cautious how much of their time they ask for.
Before Jack became the proposal manager at Accruent, he was a proposal writer. As such, he knew the company had access to Responsive. But he never used it himself. “None of us did,” he explained. “It wasn’t really rolled out properly. No one was trained on it, everyone just thought it was another system they had to learn.”
They had some content stored in it, but none of it was organized. As a proposal writer, Jack hadn’t fully understood the value of Responsive. But as a proposal manager, his view changed. Suddenly, he saw how much potential the tool had to make all their lives easier.
Making Responsive’s potential a reality
In 2020, Jack embarked on a project to re-roll out Responsive at Accruent. He worked with his colleague James May, at that time a Proposal Writer new to the organization, to better organize the content already contained in Responsive’s Content Library. They reworked the collections the content was organized within, and created a better tagging structure. They now have nine content collections—one for each product—and another collection for security questions.
Beyond that initial project of getting the Content Library in good shape, they make a point of performing ongoing content maintenance. Whenever James—now considered the company’s resident Responsive guru—isn’t busy working on an RFP, he devotes time to cleaning up the tags, makes sure the moderation queue is at zero (or close to it), and works with SMEs to keep all content up to date.
Responsive is now central to Accruent’s RFP process
The proposals team now knows to start the RFP process in Responsive, and to complete as much of it as they can using the content available. That creates a better relationship with the company’s SMEs, who now know that anytime the proposals team asks for their help, it means they’ve already done as much as they can on their own. Even better, they know each answer they provide will go in the Content Library, saving them that much more time on future RFPs.
In addition to the Content Library, the team also gets a lot of value from Responsive’s collaboration features. Between everyone involved in the proposal process, they often have 3-8 SMEs working on RFPs at a time. Enabling efficient communication between the various people involved is important.
Before Responsive, “Every time someone didn’t like an answer, we’d have to have a call about it,” explains Jack. “Now we just use the comments function in Responsive to facilitate that conversation.” That makes for a more efficient process, and keeps all the correspondence in one place.
The proposals team aren’t the only ones who feel the difference. Chris Low, a Senior Account Director at Accruent, has also shared his feelings on the change: “Responsive and the processes the team created around it make collaborating with our amazing proposals team even easier. From a simple intake form, to answering questions at a canter with the library, it’s been a huge help and certainly attestable to winning new business.”
The result: submitting more RFPs, with more confidence
With the help of the Content Library in Responsive, the proposals team is now able to complete around 50% of all RFP questions on their own. That increases efficiency to the degree that they’ve gone from working on 5-6 live RFPs at a time to tackling 15-25 live projects at once. “That is simply because we can do more because of the platform,” Jack says.
Completing more RFPs has also made them better at determining which ones are worth their time. In practice, that has meant fewer no-gos than before. “It’s given us the confidence to take on more opportunities,” Jack shared.
They’ve also seen a big difference in how they handle security questionnaires. The responsibility for those has generally fallen to one person—and it was really too much work to put on him alone. Now, the proposals team is generally able to get 75% of the questionnaires completed on the first pass. That’s cut the response time from ten days to five.
|Answering RFP questions meant asking busy SMEs to give up their time
|The proposals team is able to answer around 50% of all questions on their own, giving SMEs that time back
|They juggled 5-6 live RFPs at a time
|They handle 15-25 live RFPs at a time
|Security questionnaires were primarily the responsibility of one SME, and took around 10 days to complete
|The proposals team can answer 75% of the security questionnaire before they send it on to the SME, and they’re completed in half the time
|They were limited in how many RFPs they felt comfortable responding to
|Replying to more RFPs has increased their confidence in which ones they believe they can win, meaning an increase in the number they submit
Jack and his team don’t mince words when they talk about the difference Responsive has made. “A life without Responsive would not be worth living,” he says. “It would be bloody difficult. And you can quote me on that.”
According to T.C. Kaiser, SVP – Global Solution Consulting at Accruent, “Our proposals team has a high volume of projects live and Responsive enables them to deliver with speed while maintaining a high level of quality. Our team relies on the platform to deliver value to our organization and make the best impression with our customers.”
When it came time for Jack to make the case to superiors for renewal last year, he reports, “I said, ‘this is non-negotiable. If we don’t have Responsive, we cannot do as much work as we do currently.’”
Not that anyone needed much convincing. The proposal process is so centered on Responsive that people have taken to referring to the proposals team as the “Responsive team.” According to Jack, “that is probably the biggest compliment we can give the system.”