This is the 3rd in a series of items about some of the marketing actions A/E/P/CM/Environmental firms take that are most often a waste of staff time and other resources.
How many times has one of your firm's principals elected to respond to an RFQ or RFP issued by a client nobody in the company had ever spoken with? perhaps a client nobody in the company had ever heard of?
I bet this sounds all too familiar to every marketer in every marketing department of every A, E, P, CM, Environmental or multi-service firm there is. We look at these choices about how to commit our staff time and other resources, and we shake our heads. We have to wonder if the person who made the choice is just "shooting at everything that moves" because he's desperate for to win a new project and thinks this is the way to get one.
One alternative is that your decision maker truly believes your unknown firm has a chance of winning the project even though the client probably has an incumbent and five or six other firms that have been visiting and courting him for a while.
A second alternative is that the decision maker wants to "put your name in front of a new potential client" and thinks this is a good way to do this. I know we've all heard this one befo0re.
But this can be dangerous! If a prospective client has issued an RFQ or RFP, submitting a document that is either non-responsive or a weak response is a waste of the client's time. And since , a selection process adds to the client's workload -- his other work doesn't just go away -- he has even less time to waste than usual. Branding your firm as a non-responsive time-waster is probably not the first impression you want to make.
A better approach is to wait until the selection is made, assemble an SOQ, visit the client and talk with him about what your firm really CAN do for them. Communicate that you didn't submit on his RFQ or RFP because you didn't want to waste his time with a non-responsive submittal (perhaps your major services are not what he was looking for at the time, but could truly bring him value on other projects). Such a truth can help you establish your credibility and integrity.
People give work to people they know, like and trust. They only give work to a stranger as a last resort. The concept of "best value" has made this easy even in the public sector, as the value of the relationship (previously a subjective input) can now get objective points in the ranking of responses.
So what's the answer? We've all said it before, so let's all say it together:
Pursue the client, not the project.