Professional services firms come in many forms. Each striving to survive and thrive. If your business is RFP driven, you need to assert your authority in the field by providing the best services to clients. After all, professional services firms rely on reputation.
The services industry is one that requires quick adaptability to change. What this means is that things are in constant flux and you snooze, you lose. To stay ahead of your competitors, you need to be the best at what you do.
An RFP driven firm, is not exempt from keeping up with the ever-changing trends. To help you understand this, let’s start with an RFP definition.
What is an RFP?
RFP stands for Request for proposal.
Request for proposal is an invite by a client to submit proposals for a contract opportunity. In other words, it’s like an invite to a showdown of professional firms to see which comes out on top. The proposal you submit in response to an RFP helps the client gauge your level of qualification, price range and anything else they need to know about you.
When a client posts an RFP, you’re not the only one responding; therefore you need to stand out to captivate the client. You need to apply your best tactics here if you’re going to win.
How an RFP works
Ideally, an RFP is a client’s outline of what they’re looking for in a professional services provider. For example, if a client is in need of a good planner, their RFP will include details such as pricing, timeframe, and reasons for needing a planner. Through this, they can attract the right kind of service providers who they then shortlist and proceed to choose the most qualified one.
Request for proposal is common in the professional services industry as it’s a sure way for a client to outline their needs and for qualified firms to provide their response. This method doesn’t take power away from the client since they still get to choose and your firm still gets to present itself in a captivating way.
Why your RFP driven firm needs a new marketing strategy
Times are changing, and the industry is growing exponentially. To keep up, you need to adopt new marketing models that come with technological advancements. You can’t afford to be a conformist when you’re in the professional services industry.
Moreover, being a thought leader means people follow you. If you remain stuck in old ways, people will identify the new alpha and follow them. As a thought leader, you can’t be afraid of new ventures; you need to leverage all the advantages that come with new marketing strategies.
Therefore, your RFP based firm can’t just sit and let competitors take the lead. In addition to that, your firm needs a new and modern marketing strategy because:
1. New marketing strategies emerge every other day.
First, there was traditional marketing, and back then, it was the coolest thing ever then the internet came, and everything changed. Online marketing took over marketing in a sweep and now, things change every day, sometimes by the hour. To succeed in the professional services industry; your RFP driven firm needs to adopt new strategies as they emerge.
For instance, today strategic marketing is taking center stage. This is where you position your firm in such a way that you’re always at an advantage. You’re the fiercest competition for businesses in your niche. A carefully crafted marketing strategy should include strategic marketing.
2.Your customer’s purchasing behavior is changing.
With information as a powerful tool for many consumers, their behavior varies according to the information they find. For instance, if the top company last month said that washing your face with lemon removes acne, that’s what clients will go with. If that firm loses its top dog position and the new leader suggests adding garlic to the water, that’s what clients will do. Therefore, in professional services marketing, you can’t afford to be overthrown, know what clients want before they even know that they want it. A good marketing strategy will help you achieve that.
3. A weak approach is like handing the win to your competitors.
A professional services marketing strategy determines the firms that are in it to win and those that don’t have the big picture in mind. Depending on your marketing strategy, you will either win or colossally fail. If your marketing strategy is not better than that of your competitors, it’s like you’re letting them win without putting up a fight.
4. Pr is more important than you think.
It sounds like going back to basics, but it’s simply astonishing how many firms don’t use the trick of getting other companies with stellar reputations to say positive things about them so that their good reputation rubs off on your reputation. Reputation management is vital in order to move away from RFPs. People still like to do business with people who have a positive reputation!
5. Your firm is more than a 30 page proposal.
The biggest challenge with an RFP is that your unable to converse or ask the client key questions about their business, and likewise the client is unable to hear you explain your expertise in detail. RFP’s do not carry emotion, tone of voice, facial expression or a warm personality that a face to face meeting carries.
6. Selling a considered purchase.
Selling pack of gum is not a considered purchase, when it takes research to make the right purchase, and being wrong has serious ramifications, purchases become “considered”. That being said most companies issuing and responding to RFP’s are putting themselves at a disadvantage because they aren’t giving themselves adequate time to make a decision or enough information to do so.
7.Content Marketing is the new normal.
Content marketing should be a priority rather than an option for all knowledge-based firms. Selling an ‘intangible’ good like expertise is difficult enough, at least if your selling a product it’s easier to make a decision. Content is king, but for professional services marketing, it is immortal. Excellent content marketing will play a vital role in promoting your brand and making your work seen. On top of that, your site will be a platform to tell a story about your brand, the success stories, and the milestones you have achieved. Have look at a recent piece we published: Is Content Marketing Normal for Professional Services Marketing?
Professional firms often need to revamp their marketing strategy after some time. Consider this as the oil change for your business. We at E&A digital republic bring you reasons why your RFP driven firm needs a new marketing strategy to help you get the best out of your marketing efforts.