From Pre-sale to Kickoff


The following process is key to achieving sustainability in any business and we are no exception. Although the star aspect of our studio is design, our business wing also plays a crucial role.

Before we make any project official, we need to do an internal examination to determine whether or not we have the technical means to meet our clients’ expectations. Among the most important aspects of the presale process is ensuring that all projects are evaluated in a personalised way and that, as a studio, we contribute value from start to finish. We don’t only evaluate our clients, but also our team, who are the reason our projects are successful and of the highest quality.

We incorporate different key phases: first contact and identifying client requirements; establishing the “Lead” from the client’s side; proposal development: including estimated timeframes, available resources, tools and techniques to be used; proposal presentation and delivery; and then finalising the sale/formalising the project.

Here you will find the path we follow in each stage which, as we have mentioned throughout this Handbook, is a process that has been crafted by our studio and should be used as a guideline to help you adapt to the needs of different organisations.

The process that we follow once a potential client shows interest is as follows:


1. First Contact and Preparation

This presale stage starts when the lead is identified and finishes when a meeting to discuss the client’s needs have been agreed upon.

Different types of lead include:

  • Inbound: we are directly contacted via our web form. Someone sends their information and, if the information they have given us is sufficient, we can decide whether or not to start the estimation.
  • Referral: they are referred to us by a partner or client.
  • Outbound: we cold call them. This type of lead takes place because we have previously identified an interest in starting a business relationship with this client.

Remember to make your websites visible.
It’s also advisable to have a simple contact form that is quick for the lead to fill in, collects all the key information and gives us an idea of who the potential client is. For example, contact details, company description and a summary of their project.

The aim of this stage is to schedule an initial discovery call. We prepare ourselves with some information about the client that allows us to identify their field and choose some of our previous projects to use as reference to showcase our expertise.

It’s important that you hand in both the signed confidentiality agreement and NDA to ensure you don’t disclose any sensitive information about previous projects.

Some key points before initiating contact with a client:

  • Your presentation letter must be convincing, have a professional appearance, and clearly communicate your business identity. More often than not, this letter is your website! And therefore, includes previous projects that you have worked on.
  • Take time to keep up a good rapport with the stakeholders and clients that you are in contact with. More often than not, these are the people who will bring us more clients.
  • Do your homework. Research the leads that you will be meeting. If you do, you will save precious time during your meeting, which you can use to understand their specific needs and communicate your value proposition.

2. Meeting and Identifying Client Requirements

The main goal at this stage is to get to know the leads’ needs and create a relationship based on trust, where both parties have the opportunity to introduce themselves. Through the use of key questions, we identify what the client needs from us and learn the extent of the work.

This stage requires preparation beforehand. Knowledge of the field will be advantageous as we may have similar cases or projects which can be used as examples. These resources will help the lead understand the way we work and have an idea of what working with us would be like.

During the meeting

The meeting can take place through a video call or in person (less frequently nowadays though it is always a possibility).

We are willing to listen to their needs, which we internally share on a Notion template to record all the key points that come up during the call. This Notion serves as a base for our evaluation of the lead and project.

Meeting template

Once we have listened to our client’s expectations and needs, we can decide if it’s a service that we can provide, and we then proceed to send them a Requirement Form.[CSR2] If it’s a service beyond our area of expertise (which can happen), we thank them and explain our reasoning for thinking it wouldn’t be appropriate to proceed with the project.

Requirement Form

We have designed a Notion template to collect all requirements and details of a project so as to better understand our client’s business model. This helps us define the extent of the project and orientate our value proposition in an apt and assertive manner.

This form contains questions like:

  • Product – what is the product that we want to create?
  • Business model – how does it generate revenue?
  • Value proposition – what advantages does it give your clients or product users?
  • Opportunity and user behaviour – which of the users’ behaviours or actions will define success?
  • KPIs – project success indicators
  • References or visual and aesthetic inspirations
  • Limitations – legal aspects, deadlines, milestones, launch details
  • MVP functions – what are the minimum functions that we want to include?
  • Devices – what kind of device are you designing for?
  • Expectations of your collaboration with mendesaltaren

In this phase it’s very important to have all documents organised, to be prepared, to research different fields and to take notes for the next steps.

3. Establishing the client Lead

The aim of this stage is to determine if we are capable of meeting the client’s expectations. It is possible that, as a studio, we have a very high volume of work and ongoing active projects, making it impossible to take on new clients. On other occasions, it could be that the lead’s expectations and the extent of the project are out of our area of expertise, which would be another reason that we don’t accept the project. In that case, if we can think of a network partner who is better suited to the project, we will refer the lead to them, so they can evaluate the proposal.

Therefore, we first review the full extent of the project and decide if we are capable of completing it. The internal analysis is crucial within our studio culture as, through experience, we have learned that at times it’s better to say no. This may be because of our resource occupancy rate, the number of current or imminent projects, our employees’ availability (holidays, skillset or other factors that must be considered), and/or client technical requirements that we cannot meet.

As a studio, we think it’s a thousand times better to say no – or not right now – than to say yes, knowing from the get-go that we can’t assure the quality of the project in terms of roadmap fulfilment, performance and delivery.

We like to be transparent with our clients and complete everything that has been agreed upon; hence the importance of this analysis before diving into a new project.

It’s key to be straightforward from the beginning in order to avoid unrealistic expectations and to not waste our client’s time or money.  

4. Proposal Development

Once the scope of the project and the client’s expectations have been discussed internally, we move on to initiating the proposal development.

To do this, we classify the type of project and the stages it will require. Normally, proposals can refer to one or more of the following services:

  • Product Design
  • Design system: creation, development or maintenance
  • Design operations
  • Product research
  • Brand and narrative
  • Brand strategy
  • Art direction
  • Data and analytics
  • Operations and procedures
  • Product culture

To create this proposal, we open a Notion project in the proposal panel and we look for support in the relevant Slack channel to ask and answer questions about timeline estimation, which profiles to allocate, available resources, and each step of the roadmap and delivery.

The business wing can also share the following useful resources to give the team context for the project.

Elements to Make a Proposal
  • Requirement form filled in by the client.
  • Loom (only if necessary to give context) – explain the key points from the meeting with the lead.
  • Roadmap stages.
  • Profiles and dedication per stage.
  • Timeline estimation and budget per stage.

Once we have these elements organised, we begin to create the proposal, using a presentation structure that includes the following:

  • Cover
  • Index
  • Who are we? Explain our methodology − what do we do and how do we do it?
  • The project
  • Goal − establishing our client’s concerns and needs
  • Key tasks in our role
  • Roadmap
  • Stage-by-stage description stating timelines, profiles and commitment
  • Budget
  • Team
  • References and credentials

Once the technical and financial estimation has been done, our business wing writes the proposal that will then be sent to the client. This proposal is an elegant and simple document in which we outline: our work methodology, the challenges we anticipate for the project, the description of the problem, the work roadmap, our financial proposal, tools that will be used, communication plan and project management, assigned team and, lastly, a section about our experience, detailing previous cases that will support our trajectory in this particular field.  

You can also include certifications available to you, in our case, Product Design Handbook 2.0, which was certified as a research project, development and innovation (I+D+i) by the European Quality Assurance (EQA).

5. Proposal delivery and answer: do we stop here, or do we move forward?

Once the proposal is finalised, the person who has been in contact with the lead from the beginning will send the proposal via email.

Now we wait for an answer from the lead. At this stage we can expect three different answers:

  • Proposal approval – we proceed to schedule the kickoff meeting and initiation of the project.
  • Changes to the project are required and we therefore have to change the estimation and proposal.
  • Proposal rejection.

6. Project Formalisation

Once we have the go-ahead from our client, we send a provisional standard contract. There are clients who, depending on their field or the size of their company, have their own contracts, so we adapt and give priority to our client’s wishes.

Both parties sign the contract, specifying in an annex the key details of the approved proposal: scope, duration, fees and payment method.

Our internal business team takes note of the payment method conditions, depending on the type of project, to include in the invoice.

  • Invoice period (monthly, stage-based or milestone-based).
  • Confirmation of the client’s invoicing details.
  • Introduction of the business manager who will be in charge of contacting the client for invoice and payment purposes.

Areas Involved in the Process

There are several areas involved in the process: business, operations, marketing and administration.


  • Meetings – Zoom – Teams: for calls, we adapt to whatever app the lead prefers for the first contact call.
  • Loom: to explain to the relevant team what the project is about. We use it as it’s very practical to convey all the nuances which, in writing or on a voice message, could be lost.
  • Slack: we use it to specify the proposal details that must be considered from a technical point of view, from a team availability point of view and to define deadlines.
  • Notion: we use a template with specific questions which help us get to grips with the project and in turn have a better contextual understanding for project estimations.

To sum up

  • Assertive communication is key, with the lead as well as with the team.
  • Clarity from the beginning.
  • Commitment to the quality of the project.
  • Use of coordination and communication tools.
  • Organisation and management of information.

Authors and co-editors

Autores y colaboradores

Viviana Reyes

Head of Finance

Jorge Lana

Chief Strategy Officer / Partner
Our Procedure
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