As an educational content, technology, and services company for the higher education, K-12, professional, and library markets worldwide, Cengage was responding to over 120 RFPs per year. Not to mention juggling complex data for product lines. But when each new RFP meant 100 project management emails flooding inboxes, they knew something had to change.
✓ No longer losing previous RFP responses
✓ Faster turnaround
✓ More accurate, consistent answers
✓ No longer spending hours project-managing RFPs
School districts were getting more leeway to choose their own education tools. Meaning Cengage -- a provider of digital learning solutions, Higher Education eBooks, courses, resources & services, was responding to more RFPs than ever.
They had also recently partnered with several other companies, which created more work and more RFPs, but not more resources to do it with. Cenage was now responding to about 120 RFPs per year. The skyrocketing RFP influx completely overwhelmed the small team, who were managing the myriad of responses all via email.
“Before RFP365 we had no RFP response management. If someone happened to remember that they had responded to a similar RFP, we’d go find it and reuse it. But there wasn’t any real management process, just long strings of emails. Having multiple versions of several RFPs floating through inboxes was just a mess.
We were trying to solve the problem: ‘Mark did this, but he’s not here, where do you think he filed it?’”
It was even trickier because our RFPs are very complex. One request often covers multiple subjects and/or products, so one RFP would require 4 separate responses.
It all came to a head as managers kept getting kickback, the product SMEs and Marketing team were tired of answering the same questions over and over. They knew there had to be an easier way to manage our RFP responses. Finally, we started looking for a solution.”
Cengage's strategic goals:
“We looked into multiple RFP management platforms, but RFP365 just stuck out. It looked easy to use -- it looked like exactly what we were looking for. We began with a pilot and were hooked. We said to ourselves, we like this, this works, we can do this.
RFP365 is incredibly easy to use. Whenever we hire a new Marketer or product person, we send them our recorded training, quickly walk them through it, and they’re onboarded very quickly. I haven't had any complaints from anyone that uses RFP365.
It’s much more efficient and clean than managing RFPs via email. Now there’s no version confusion, and we can make sure content was updated and approved recently. We have the security of knowing our knowledge is safe and consistent.
We don’t have to worry that we’ll lose any SME expertise if someone quits or takes a vacation. We’re saving tons of time not having to go back through email strings to find content. We no longer have to print out responses and try to keep track of everything. Not to mention we’re saving some trees.”
Another thing I love about RFP365 is that they didn’t just sell it to us and forget about us. They continually keep up with us and check in. The couple of times I’ve needed customer support, I’ve always gotten it very quickly. They’ve been great.
Our favorite features are:
“Our absolute favorite thing is we’re no longer getting 100 emails for each RFP. We're not spending hours hunting down previous answers and trying to figure out who is doing what. Because all the questions and answers are right there in RFP365.
We’re no longer getting two answers to the same question and wondering which version to use. It has cut down on organizing and putting RFPs together like you would not believe.
To be really honest, when we first started looking at RFP365, I didn’t want to use an RFP software. You have a way of doing things that you’re comfortable with, you’re busy, and you don’t have time to take a break. So how do you find time to learn a new software? How are you going to get the time to find it, implement it, and get everyone else to use it?
But then we piloted RFP365 and saw the benefits. We saw how many emails it would get rid of, and easy it would be to find things once all the knowledge was in one place. Now, 2+ years later, I'm amazed by how much easier this is. Not only for the person putting the RFP together, but for all the people answering the questions.
If someone were on the fence about trying RFP365, I'd say you have to try it and see how much it can do for you. Try it and then tell me you don’t like it, because that’s just not going to happen. I can’t see anyone not liking it, I really can’t.
Beverly Blakely Jones