Here at Redonk, we’re lean, small and agile by choice. We wear many hats, we collaborate to the extreme, and we throw our passion for improving the customer experience into our client’s business. We also value work-life balance with realistic working hours, Summer Fridays, and the occasional Redonk day. This is the type of environment we thrive in, it’s what attracts and retains the talent we have and keeps them fresh and inspired, which in turn produces measurable success for our clients.
People, the antithesis of the RFP
Meeting with a potential client partner before entering an engagement is important. We love meeting with new teams, learning about their goals and sharing experiences to see if there is good chemistry to make some really amazing things happen. But when we’re asked to jump through the many hoops that a typical RFP process entails it often becomes a soul-sucking experience. For us, it’s about people – we thrive on building trusted relationships with our clients and that has to start with human connections vs. forced documents.
No B-Team, only the A-Team
You see, we don’t have a ‘new business’ team. The team you meet is the team you’ll be working with long after contracts are signed and the “fresh off the win” label expires. When you ask an agency like ours to dedicate the resources to respond to an RFP (which are almost never short and almost always request some form of free work) it pulls us away from our current clients or our families and personal lives.
We recognized long ago that we can’t be everything to everyone. We’re lean by choice and that allows us the opportunity to more deeply engage with our small roster of clients. While some agencies are focused on topline growth we’re more focused on building long-lasting partnerships.
Moving beyond the RFP
We weren’t treating every RFP the same because that’s not how we approach the work we do with our clients. We’d do our due diligence in crafting the responses, conducting preliminary research, brainstorming ideas that would maybe catch the attention of a CEO but might not actually be best for the organization based on the lack of a thorough discovery. These activities all take time. And it seemed like RFPs were focusing more on low-cost bidders or style vs. substance. So, we made the decision to no longer participate in them. Instead, we rely on referrals from our past and present clients and a selective process for new business development focused on finding right-fit clients who share our philosophy of putting customer experience at the heart of the brand. We’ve found we’re happier, more productive and engaged when new business opportunities come our way as opposed to the beat-down you feel after just reviewing an RFP. We take more ownership and carry more passion in our new business efforts because the time we dedicate will prove more valuable to ourselves and the potential new client than responding to a 60 page RFP document.
This is what works for Redonk. We realize there are engagements and projects that call for an RFP, we just don’t really operate in that realm anymore. We believe that great business relationships should be people and not process focused and great work is the outcome of collaborative relationships with trusted partners. Do you rely on the RFP process to win or award business? Let us know in the comments below.