Project-based assignments are on the increase – clients like them. Procurement specialists particularly like them. Supporters argue that projects tend to be managed more tightly, to deliver more reliably and permit greater rotation of roster agencies based on the specific requirements of the brief.

Service providers whose key commercial liaisons are mostly defined by projects, and where there is a lesser proportion of retained clients, can, however, underestimate the value of establishing and developing business relationships.

Specifically, there is a real danger in allowing ad hoc work to result in an ad hoc relationship. When allocating projects clients value an up to date understanding of their business. They will immediately sense that an agency which has habitually waited for the phone to ring lacks the desired currency regardless of their willingness and enthusiasm.

The likely outcome is that ad hoc work will become less frequent and eventually cease entirely from a client who will no doubt have nurtured a group of preferred providers based on more of a consultancy style relationship.

To counter this, contact outside of projects, in the form of relevant proactivity, will pay dividends but the bigger point is that projects within the framework of a dynamic relationship will always deliver more value, for example:

  • more recurring work
  • facilitating more contact points within a client organisation
  • resulting in lower churn
  • driving lower business development costs
  • and higher margin

Understand your clients’ businesses and adopt relationship behaviour. These are two key drivers of a successful enterprise, including a project-based business.