Establish a Go/No-Go Protocol

A method to determine where to put your marketing efforts when it comes to RFPs.

Wendy Ruyle 10.19.2021

Deciding when to put marketing time and money into new business opportunities can be difficult. You want work, right? But which work will be best for building the organization you want? A go/no-go protocol can help you choose where to spend your resources.

This process works for decisions about which RFPs your marketing staff should prioritize, but it also works for decisions about starting a new business line or offering to your brand. Think about what your aspirations are for your brand and how the clients you go after can help you achieve these goals.

Start by making a chart with your top criteria and fill it in. Here are some questions to consider. What is important to your business may differ from others. Choose the criteria that is important to you.

Does it fit your bigger purpose?

Your bigger purpose should guide all your business decisions. This is your reason for existing so any new opportunities should align with it. Does it fill your soul or your employees’ souls? Will it build your portfolio to do more work that is similar? Is it on brand?

Is it in your wheelhouse?

We all have tasks that we excel at and tasks that we can accomplish but we don’t knock them out of the park. Look at what the RFP requires. Are most of the deliverables within your area of expertise? Or are you just going to do an ok job at them? If it’s an area where you want to grow, then by all means, go for it. But if you will just be cranking out mediocre work with no end game, take a pass.

Is it a cold, warm, or hot lead?

The temperature of the lead will also help you decide how much effort to put towards it. Is it an existing client? A former client? A referral? A prospect with whom you’ve had productive conversations? Or is it an organization that has already chosen its preferred partner but must issue a formal RFP for legal or appearances reasons? Have you had success with this type of prospect before? If you don’t know, start tracking some metrics about which jobs you do and don’t get.

Is the client ready, willing, and able?

A client that is ready for your process will make for a more successful outcome. Do they have the right staff on board to guide the project internally? Do they have the right budget? Is leadership on board? Do they have respect for your expertise? Make sure they are ready, willing, and able to manage their responsibilities in the project.

Do you have the capacity?

Do you have the right staff and equipment in place to make this project successful? If you don’t, you’ll end up burning out yourself and your staff which damages your culture and ultimately your work product. If the project ends in failure, it does nothing to build your brand. If you don’t have the capacity or can’t build it quickly, you have to say no.

Do you need it to stay in business?

We don’t always have the luxury of saying no. Sometimes you need to put marketing efforts into projects that aren’t a perfect fit to stay afloat. When this happens, just make sure it doesn’t become habit. When your organization is back to a steady stream of work, focus on what is the best fit going forward.

Creating a protocol using questions like these will help you build consensus about which leads to follow. When you follow the right leads and get them, you create an organization that is doing its best and most fulfilling work.

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