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Our approach to
Winning the unwinnable

It's not every day that an RFP (request for proposal) falls into your lap unexpectedly, particularly an RFP on behalf of a behemoth of an employer; an RFP that clearly signaled that the buyer would give equal weight to creativity, quality, capacity and price; an opportunity that had some interesting complications and  a unique twist.

Question: How could we distinguish ourselves from the incumbent and other competition at a time of (our) organizational transition?

Answer: By winning every stage of the race, without (appearing to) break a sweat and while looking brash and fast.

The opportunity before us

The buyer in this situation decided to put an important element of their total rewards partner eco-system out to bid. It had been a long time that the incumbent had been in place and with new players at the buyer the organization decided it was time to take a thorough look at the market.

Translation: The buyer wanted to kick some tires but went into the process with no intention of changing providers.

Even without this knowledge, we knew that any chance we had at securing this client would require demonstrating:

  • Our ability to be creative and deliver high-quality work.

  • Our capability to scale our team to meet their demands.

  • Our commitment to competitive but realistic pricing that would ensure there would be no surprises for the client while delivering to our firm (a prior employer) a reasonable profit margin.

We decided that our approach, starting with our RFP response and throughout every stage thereafter, would demonstrate at every step and in every way what it would be like to work with us. This meant that:

  • All of our pursuit deliverables were creative and high quality, demonstrating our attention to details.

  • We met every deadline, despite the compressed timeframe.

  • We negotiated pricing and contract terms in a transparent manner.

  • When it came time to the finalist presentation, we went in with our #1 goal being to have fun and be ourselves. Why? Because we knew that if we did that, we'd be irresistible. And as with all of our prior deliverables, we developed a creative, swing-for-the-fences approach. Why not? If we weren't going to be selected at least we'd go down swinging.

Having to do all this against the backdrop of a change in our firm's ownership, while continuing to meet other commitments made the situation all the more "interesting."

Of course, as the headline says, we won this multi-year engagement, having demonstrated that we could deliver on creativity, quality, capacity, and price, while being a great fit with the client team. 

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