The Avengers of Sales Efficiency: Inside HubSpot’s High-Performing Team
When Joe McGlinchey joined HubSpot, his first project was one that would keep most people up at night: he was tasked with streamlining the Request for Proposal (RFP) process for a global organization of more than 5,000 people. 😱
It was a serious mission. One that required steering HubSpot’s massive sales team away from an ad hoc approach to answering RFPs. At the time, reps used Google Drive and Slack messages to try to find answers to questions—which slowed down the sales process.
So Joe developed a plan: He assembled an elite sales efficiency squad with cross-functional expertise to help him improve the RFP process for his global team.
Here’s how Joe’s team empowered the right people with the right tools to scale sales efficiency at HubSpot—and seriously decrease the time it takes to turn around RFPs.
Sales Efficiency Tools HubSpot Uses to Scale Their Response Process
HubSpot’s team believes that power is gained by sharing knowledge, so that’s how they approached their new RFP response process.
They looked for a tool that would give the whole team access to a company-wide sales content library and help automate tedious parts of the RFP process (like copy and pasting answers, over and over again). So they started working with Loopio, an RFP response software, that could help reps speed up RFP responses.
With Loopio, the HubSpot team can organize all their content, make it easily searchable for reps, and get intelligent answer suggestions automatically when they upload a new RFP.
A strong RFP library and automation tool is just one piece of the pie. Joe says he “lives in” several tools that are vital to streamlining a cross-functional sales process. If you want to build an efficient process like his team has, here’s what he recommends using in your tech stack.
8 Sales Team Efficiency Tools HubSpot Loves:
- Sales Navigator: A LinkedIn tool that helps sales teams find the right prospects.
- Snowflake: A marketing analytics tool that helps sales team efficiency by developing consistent customer messaging and offers.
- Jira: Project management software for agile teams who need issue tracking.
- Seismic: A single-source content management system for managing, automating, and distributing sales enablement content.
- HubSpot CRM: An all-in-one inbound marketing, sales, and service software that helps businesses generate leads, close deals, and create remarkable customer experiences.
- Loopio: RFP response software that centralizes content, automates responses, and tracks progress.
- Looker: Business intelligence software that centralizes company metrics.
- SetSail: Sales team software that captures emails, calls, and conversations and maps them back to your CRM.
Empowering The Right People: HubSpot’s Advice for Improving the RFP Process
Research shows that the more contributors you involve in your RFP responses, the higher likelihood you have of increasing your win rate. (On average, enterprise companies involve 12 people in their RFP response process.)
This is why Joe assembled a large team to co-own the RFP process. He involves cross-functional stakeholders with a variety of expertise to improve answer quality.
Here are all the members of the team Joe united to solve the RFP process and what each member brings to the table to make it successful.
- Sales operations: Connecting teams and strategies
- Security: Handling complex questions with ease
- Legal: Safeguarding compliant standards
- Solutions architects and engineers: Performing technical wizardry
- Sales reps: Closing deals at the speed of light
Five Key Stakeholders in the RFP Process:
As HubSpot’s sales strategy and operations analyst, Joe works closely with the sales team to set-up the right tools and processes that encourage their best work. His team enables everything from lead generation tools to RFP process efficiencies—basically, implementing anything that helps the sales team close more deals, faster.
He aims to maximize efficiencies for HubSpot’s teams throughout the entire sales cycle (Joe is the lynchpin who connects stakeholders for all sales efficiency activities). For the RFP process in particular, he acts as the project owner, shepherding the team with best practices for setting up their RFP library.
In the sales process, security team members are often tasked with answering detailed infosec questions from other companies interested in purchasing HubSpot. When the team receives a proposal or security questionnaire, it often means a lot of repetitive copy and pasting from past projects.
However, with RFP response software, the security team can save their knowledge in a centralized library that non-technical team members can access. This allows reps to answer basic, repetitive security questions with confidence and create strong first drafts faster.
Similar to the security team, legal is responsible for fact-checking compliance details in each RFP response. Their review is an absolute must for compliance and accuracy––or, in other words, safeguarding their company’s reputation.
For the HubSpot team, their legal lead (affectionately called the “legal eagle”) oversees every new RFP response for compliance. But luckily, Loopio’s software allows legal team members to simply review a single source of truth (the RFP answer library) instead of reviewing every individual RFP document.
Solutions Architects & Engineers
“Solutions architects and engineers are the backbone of our Loopio projects,” says Joe. They are a key contributor to the architecture of their sales content and answer all the technical questions about HubSpot’s products. Basically, the content library couldn’t exist without them—their expertise is that critical.
Involving a solutions lead helps Joe structure HubSpot’s RFP library in a clear way that reflects their company’s product for all stakeholders. Often, solutions teams bridge the gap between sales and technical experts—so they’re the team that’s best suited to determine how information should be organized to maximize sales team efficiency. (For example: using different tags for each product line to label RFP answers clearly at a glance.)
HubSpot’s sales reps are usually the first to learn about an upcoming RFP.
But they’re also responsible for so many other sales activities: prospecting, managing pipeline, and negotiating with clients (to name a few responsibilities). So when working on an RFP, they need a straight-forward process to get through the document quickly and tag the right team members for support.
Unlike the teams above, sales reps don’t contribute to the RFP library. But they do use it a lot. Having a central location to access on-brand, accurate RFP answers helps reps move faster to complete the document—and spend less time fact checking with internal experts.
In order to build a successful RFP process, HubSpot created a system that’s easy for sales reps to self-serve. But like any change at big companies, it can take some effort to get all team members on board with a new way of working. Read on for tips from Joe on stick-handling any pushback on a new RFP process…
Tips to Encourage Adoption Across a Large Sales Team
Joe knew he could do all the work in the world to evaluate tools, plan a rollout, and prepare a content library—but it would all be for naught if his team didn’t adopt the new system. There’s five main tips Joe recommends for encouraging adoption of a new RFP process.
1. Explain How This Process Helps in the Not-so-Distant Future
You can try to explain how a new process will help people in the ‘future’, but team members may tune you out—especially at high-growth companies where roles often change in less than a year.
Don’t reference vague timelines. Instead, anchor to the benefits that people will see benefits in a month from now, or 6 months from now.
“The clearer picture you can paint, the better,” explains Joe. “If they put in a little bit of work today, they’ll make their next RFP response that much easier.”
2. Host Bi-Weekly Check-ins Among Key Stakeholders
As they are building out their sales content library, HubSpot’s cross-functional team leads meet every other week to track their progress.
So far the team has created dedicated stacks in their RFP tool, which each stakeholder is responsible for maintaining, so ownership is clear and communication is consistent.
3. Lean on Your Vendor’s Team for Support
Don’t be afraid to lean on your friends for support. If you’re new to RFP software, your vendor should set you up with an onboarding lead to assist you in all phases of implementation, including:
- Developing an RFP process map
- Setting up your answer library
- Helping to train your team
- Building your first RFP project
During HubSpot’s implementation, Joe worked very closely with his designated onboarding manager for advice and best practices to guide his team.
4. Lay the Foundation for Ongoing Success
One of the most important parts of an RFP process lives at the end of it: saving past answers for future use in a sales content library.
To get your team comfortable with using the RFP library, Joe recommends explaining how it will lay the foundation for ongoing sales efficiency. Through centralizing RFP responses, HubSpot can work towards automating tedious parts of the response process (like copy and pasting answers) so they can soon prepare first drafts in minutes instead of hours.
Consider that mission accomplished.
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