Responding consistently during a merger : an investment firm’s SRM story

Key results

“We want Responsive to be the place for content for the firm. Not only RFP writers and product managers, but the folks that develop the fact sheets, and anyone else.” – Manager, RFP Content Strategy

This U.S.-based global asset management firm has $1.4T assets under management (AUM) and more than 7,500 employees located around the world. With more than 400 products and 2,000 annual response deliverables, the firm requires a content management system to support responders to RFPs, RFIs and other questionnaires. By the time they discovered Responsive, they were using a solution that was not as user friendly and could not scale with new acquisitions.

When the looming acquisition of a competitor escalated the need for a system upgrade, they started with two problem statements:

  1. “How can we store and have a golden source of information for every user?”
  2. “How can we make sure that the content we’re sharing is consistent?”

These are common challenges at investment management firms that navigate privacy, legal and compliance issues in each response. Here’s how this firm overcame these challenges.

Key Takeaways:

  • Created a single source of content truth from which multiple teams respond to RFPs, RFIs, DDQs, PQQs, and ad-hoc and internal requests.
  • Implemented Responsive quickly enough to allow continuity of business when users from a newly acquired firm came on board.
  • Integrated Salesforce so sales team members can start projects from there and RFP efforts can be tied to revenue results.

The challenge

When the firm acquired another large asset management firm, the Manager of RFP Content Strategy realized they would have to upgrade their response management solution. Their existing solution was showing signs of instability. Proposal writers and subject matter experts (SMEs) were frustrated with its outdated user interface and receiving repetitive requests for the same information. Hidden, expired content invalidated searches, adding time to each response and forced proposal writers to work out of the system to chase down accurate information. There was no visibility into content utilization, how long it took to complete projects or where process bottlenecks existed.

With the impending acquisition, the firm had to integrate a whole new set of products and supporting content in addition to another group of proposal writers and SMEs. The need to upgrade to a strategic response management platform (SRM) escalated to mission-critical status because the existing solution also lacked automation features that could streamline content intake and deduplication.

After extensive research and examining the leading industry solutions, the Manager of RFP Content Strategy compiled a list of requirements that included:

  • Out-of-the-box functionality that would allow for fast implementation to train new writers coming over in the acquisition.
  • A golden source of information that could be trusted by all proposal writers, product managers and SMEs to ensure consistency across all responses.
  • Salesforce integration to extend visibility and connect response efforts to revenue opportunities.
  • AI-enabled automation to increase efficiency, enable scalability and eliminate repetitive tasks.
  • A modern, intuitive UI in which users would enjoy searching content and developing proposals.
  • Support and expertise to help with implementation, onboarding, establishment of best practices and ongoing training.

Of all the solutions they tried, the firm found only one SRM platform that met all requirements: Responsive.

The power of a single system for everyone

By the day the acquisition was completed, all proposal writers and SMEs were working from the Responsive Strategic Response Management Platform. The Manager of RFP Content Strategy was able to onboard the new users quickly. There was no interruption to the continuity of business. “Part of the appeal is that it’s an out-of-the-box solution,” she said.

More than 60 users — including RFP writers, product managers and SMEs — use Responsive on a regular basis. By optimizing the full functionality of the SRM platform, the firm is able to respond to RFPs, RFIs, due diligence questionnaires (DDQs), and pre-qualified questionnaires (PQQs and ESPDs, or European Single Procurement Documents, are European standards), and ad-hoc and internal requests — all from an accurate, up-to-date single source of truth.

The Salesforce integration enables RFP response team members to connect Responsive Projects to Salesforce opportunities. This makes it possible to capture opportunity outcomes and tie revenue to response efforts. It also adds transparency and visibility, which will help organize response strategy and identify templates that will need to be used for each project.

For the RFP response team, Responsive has supercharged their efforts to improve quality and consistency in responses. “I live in Responsive,” said the Manager of RFP Content Strategy.

With the Content Library established and processes in place for ongoing content review and governance, the team is working on automating more processes. They have already started automating the creation of RFP response first drafts for their “standard” RFPs. These are RFPs that require minimal customization and are seen as being a pre-qualification for taking the next step in the sales process.

Impact of Responsive at the investment management firm

Multiple teams work efficiently and productively from a single content hub to respond to RFXs, DDQs, ESG and DEI questionnaires, fact sheets, presentations and more. The Manager of RFP Content Strategy curated her “golden source of information” by removing 5,000 records from the system through an exhaustive content audit. The audit also helped her determine how long response projects took and identify the location of bottlenecks in processes.

Responsive saves the team time, helps onboard new users fast and enables the creation of consistent responses to internal and external information requests.

As other teams learn about Responsive’s efficiency and productivity benefits, they find a way to jump on board the platform. InfoSec was the most recent addition. “Even just having the Content Library was a game changer for our InfoSec guy,” said the Manager or RFP Content Strategy. “He asked, ‘Can I just load my questionnaire so I can have the answers?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ The fact that we can restrict access made him very comfortable — we can share the tool without sharing the content.”

Next up:  the compliance team is expressing interest.

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