The “Go/No Go” decision at an architecture, engineering or construction firm is arguably one of the most important and challenging marketing decisions a company faces. For the uninitiated, “Go/No Go” decisions simply refer to a firm’s decision to go after a project or not. It can happen as early as when one first hears about a project (even if it is years off), or it most typically happens when the Request for Qualifications or Proposals hits the street. Some firms have an incredibly rigorous process, answering dozens of questions, and assigning points to them that equate to a “Go” or “No Go” answer. On the opposite side of the spectrum, firm leaders loosely debate the proposed project and make their decision based on what their “gut” tells them. Either extremes can be flawed – one might be too rigid, not allowing for nuances or variance, while the other relies more on emotion than logic. So how does a firm implement and execute an effective “Go/No Go” process?
I strongly believe having an established process is a good thing. Overhead resources are limited and pursuing work takes money, so a firm cannot go after every opportunity out there. And submitting a proposal just to get in front of the client when you know you won’t win is not an effective use of your marketing dollars (making a visit to the client is far more efficient).
The most important Go/No Go questions vary depending on type of work and the firm’s values. Some questions might be:
- Does this project support our sustainable design goals?
- Do we have recent and relevant experience?
- Did we know about the project before the RFQ was issued?
- Is the project funded and will it be profitable?
Asking such questions in a formal manner helps bring clarity to the tough decision about whether or not you are the right fit for a potential project or whether or not you have a shot of winning it. I also recommend having certain criteria that are “deal breakers,” such as not knowing about a project before the RFQ is issued or not having the staff resources to effectively complete the proposal.
Yes, any process will have flaws. You might pass on work that you could have successfully brought in, while you will chase work that it turns out you had little chance of winning. But the more you stick to a process, the less likely it is you will chase too much. The motto of many marketing professionals in the industry is “pursue less, win more.” This is easier said than done, and a good “Go/No Go” process is an effective tool for using your overhead resources wisely and not chasing rainbows.