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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
Once we have these elements organised, we begin to create the proposal, using a presentation structure that includes the following:
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.
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:
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.
There are several areas involved in the process: business, operations, marketing and administration.