Before working with PitchPerfect, McCarthy Tétrault would rely on a very small team to manually develop proposals, whilst battling tight deadlines and a steadily increasing high volume of pitches.
Armed with a bank of standardized pitches and content stored in an old SharePoint site, which didn’t have a properly working search function, Vidya Ledsham, Director of Clients and Markets at McCarthy Tétrault, and the team tried to stay afloat by reverting to similar past proposals re-customizing them the opportunity at hand. This left them with an inefficient, unsustainable process.
Vidya, says: “It just got to the point where we were doing proposals all the time without break. We couldn’t rely on our broader business development team to help with volume as much because for people who weren’t working on proposals regularly, it was difficult and inefficient without knowing where to find up-to-date content.
“We wanted an automation technology that would be sophisticated in what it can deliver but intuitive in use. We decided to build out a dedicated, expert team of proposal writers to form a centre of excellence that could develop templates, content, and work on majority of the pitch volume. And we wanted to ensure that their time can be spent where their skills shine – improving content and personalizing pitches, not looking for the basic building blocks.”
The Pinnacle Solution
Needing a solution, McCarthy Tétrault chose PitchPerfect, after favoring the highly customizable workflow that smoothly sat within Microsoft Word and PowerPoint.
Working closely with Johnny Jones, Principal Consultant and PitchPerfect Team Lead, throughout the process, Vidya and the team first set up PitchPerfect in Microsoft Word and then they moved on to PowerPoint.
Vidya adds: “Working with Johnny as our point-person made implementation and progress seamless that we were able to channel every question, update and idea through one person and know that Johnny will always find the best next step and involve the right people from across the team. He really got to deeply understand our needs and know our people.
“We just had to say what we want, and they would find a way to make it happen. It was like they made dreams come true.”
PitchPerfect was integrated with the marketing team’s existing SharePoint site and their brand new website CMS to pull content from. A Salesforce integration was also built which allowed the team to store a link to the proposal document associated with an opportunity in their CRM.
The final solution was rolled out to the core proposals team and the business development leads responsible for specific sectors or practice areas. This meant the proposals team could act as a ‘centre of excellence’, but if volume became an issue, other business development team members could have access to the right content, easily and efficiently.
Reaching the Heights of Success
Vidya says: “Honestly, we just built out PitchPerfect to support every aspect of our proposal workflow and it freed up so much time. Before we spent all the time trying to find the right content, meaning we did not have the time to spend on customization and quality and not being able to customize it so much. Now our proposals team can pull together a first draft really fast and basically spend all their time strategically customizing it to the opportunity. The quality of our proposals has just skyrocketed.”
Clients also commented on their proposals, Vidya adds: “Clients say that our proposals are beautiful and higher quality than other proposals they typically see.” This feedback was also evident in the increase of their win rate which currently sits over 50% – way higher than the industry average.
Today, the team feels better placed to manage the workflow of content. They follow a very diligent process of capturing and feeding every new piece of content back into the SharePoint repository, using PitchPerfect’s Content Manager feature, and ensuring content is updated regularly.
An unexpected benefit is that they are able to attract higher caliber talent to the team because of PitchPerfect, sometimes even showing candidates the system during the hiring process.
“A big thing about really good proposal writers is that they want the final draft to be perfect. When we really like someone in the recruitment process, we like to talk to them about how our proposal automation technology, PitchPerfect, shows that our firm invests in the tools that help them focus on quality and skill development versus volume.”
Thinking about the future between McCarthy Tétrault and Pinnacle, Vidya says: “I really appreciate that we get to keep working together with the Pinnacle team. It really feels like a partnership where we get to say what we want and they do their best to make it happen and even iterate PitchPerfect in line with our feedback to make it more relevant.”
Johnny adds: “Working with McCarthy Tétrault has been a truly collaborative project. I’ve enjoyed and relished every challenge they have thrown at us, from being our first client with multi-lingual templates, content and user interface to integrating with many of their other internal and third-party tools.
“I love that they don’t stand still with the product and they’re never afraid to ask us for the impossible, whilst keeping their feet on the ground. The solution that we have set up together, and the impact it is having, is something I’m immensely proud of.”