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Marketing Agency Exposed Podcast

Nov 17, 2021


On today’s episode we talk about RFPs and why we think they can and should be eliminated from your business strategy. RFPs can be genuine, but most of the time they’re cost comparing races, rigged making it impossible for you to win. When your agency is pursuing an RFP, consider the value of your team’s time, your resources, and potential clients the RFP could cost you. These are some of the reasons why we believe it’s best to seek an alternate route. When the inevitable RFP pops up, one of the best ways to ensure high quality without losing time and resources is to create processes that are repeatable for future employees. When RFPs are individualized and frequently change, it increases the challenge of scaling your agency. Remember the Ancient Agency Exposed Proverb, “businesses run on processes, and people run the processes.”


Top 3 Curtain Pulls in this episode: 

  1. RFPs aren’t required. Although RFPs can be helpful, they can often drain your agency’s time, resources, and cost you other clients. Because of the high risk factor, it’s vital to determine whether this company is using you for a quote or whether they genuinely want to work with you. One way to do this is to eliminate RFPs from your agency.  “If you're really good at something, your time is gonna be really valuable...RFPs are a high risk waste of time.”
  2. Use clients’ RFPs to your advantage. RFPs can be useful when used in the right way. After informing your client that you don't do RFPs, consider offering an alternative service where they pay a small fee for the completion of a task. This can add value to your client’s business and increase your chances of gaining their business while also helping you filter out those just looking for references.  “This is a little hack, at least for us, where this actually provides value to the client, but we say hey, your RFP doesn't look like it's the mark, would you like us to rewrite it?”
  3. Create processes that are scalable and delegatable when writing RFPs. When you do need to write an RFP, set up processes that others can use in the future. When RFPs are too diverse and individualized, it can make your business less scalable and efficient. “Businesses run on processes and people run the processes.”

For more tips, discussion, and behind the scenes:


About The Guys: 

Bob Hutchins: Founder of BuzzPlant, a digital agency that he ran from from 2000 -2017. He is also the author of 3 books. More on Bob: 

Brad Ayres: Founder of Anthem Republic, an award-winning ad agency. Brad’s knowledge has led some of the biggest brands in the world. Originally from Detroit, Brad is an OG in the ad agency world and has the wisdom and scars to prove it. Currently that knowledge is being applied to his boutique agency. More on Brad:

Ken Ott: Co-Founder and Chief Growth Rebel of Metacake, an Ecommerce Growth Team for some of the world’s most influential brands with a mission to Grow Brands That Matter. Ken is also an author, speaker, and was nominated for an Emmy for his acting on the Metacake Youtube Channel (not really). More on Ken: 


Show Notes:

[0:32] Bob opens this week’s episode.

[1:44] Ken explains what freestyle Friday is.

[5:01] Brad mentions that he and his agency are working on a RFP this week, sparking the topic for this week’s episode. “I don't have a secret sauce for RFPs.”

[9:00] Bob talks about how his agency does RFPs. “There has been a dedicated business development person that's been here for six, seven years. All she does is business development… She knows that we need to have four different ways of bios, we need to have three different ways of saying, here's our skill sets, here's case studies of, here's five different industries that we know we can pull from,”

[12:52] Ken contemplates,  “When we spend a maximum number of hours on an RFP, what's our win percentage? And when we spend zero minutes on an RFP, what's our win percentage?”

[14:07] Bob discusses one of the primary challenges behind writing RPFs. “the problem that we deal with is like there's no uniform standard or process... you can't build something that there's no uniform process for.”

[15:41] Ken talks about his agency’s approach to RPFs, and how it helps them filter through potential clients. 

[17:17] Ken divulges one of his hacks for winning clients through their RFPs. “This is a little hack, at least for us, where this actually provides value to the client, but we say hey, your RFP doesn't look like it's the mark, would you like us to rewrite it?”

[19:38] Ken discusses how he thinks, “it's borderline unethical on the client side to ask for that. Where you're like, I know that I'm gonna waste your time, but I'm still going to take it.”


**21:14** I wanted to let you know that at this time stamp, Brad says “badass” in case you want to bleep it out. :)


[22:36] Bob talks about his agency’s approach to RFPs, and compares Ken's to his own. 

[23:59] Ken says that a small investment can help you determine if the client is serious about working with you or not.

[26:17] Ken talks about how “if you're really good at something, your time is gonna be really valuable...RFPs are a high risk waste of time.”

[27:51] Bob discusses the psychological aspect of differentiating your agency from all the others in RFPs.

[29:22] Bob mentions a few positive aspects of taking the time to complete an RFP. 

[32:54] Brad asks about software that can help your team assemble quotes and proposals. 

[34:07] Ken says that, “the more customized or different your products are, the less scalable you are and the less delegatable you are too.”

[35:10] Brad talks about the business adage, “businesses run on processes and people run the processes.”

[36:58] Bob says that you should always break the seal to win for you.

[37:56] Ken talks about how to use your differences to your advantage by clearly communicating to the client the reasons behind your differences and how they can benefit them. “There's a reason behind it and it’s not selfishness. You can unpack those and communicate them in the right places.”