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How to avoid a contract protest

Bob LohfeldThis article was originally published March 22, 2012 in

By Bob Lohfeld

Are protests destined to become just one more milestone in the federal procurement process? Recent evidence might suggest so. Notably, the protested award to Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Antarctic Research program in the South Pole and the Hawker Beechcraft protest of the award of the new light attack aircraft trainer are recent examples.

In addition, market experts predict that as defense budgets decline, companies fighting over fewer dollars will launch more protests when losing procurements that…

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3 tips to maximize past performance

Bob LohfeldThis article was originally published February 1, 2012 in

By Bob Lohfeld

Almost every proposal you write has a requirement for information on past performance. The government uses this information to evaluate how well your company has performed on similar programs and expects your past performance to be a predictor of how well you will perform on the program you’re currently bidding.

Because past performance can be an important discriminator in the evaluation and selection process, there are some things you should know…

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How to raise your win rate by 20%

Bob LohfeldThis article was originally published January 5, 2012 in

By Bob Lohfeld

All executives want to increase their win rate. If you could raise your company’s overall win rate by 20%, the payoff in additional revenue, earnings, and shareholder value could be huge. Company revenues would increase, earnings would increase by the marginal profit rate on the new revenue, and shareholder value would increase proportionally to your increase in earnings.

But, knowing which investments to make and predicting the payoff is the challenge….

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The Proposal Dentist: Extracting a Technical Approach from the Technical Experts

Brooke Crouter

by Brooke Crouter

(This article appeared in the Fall 2011 edition of APMP-NCA’s Executive Summary eZine.)

As budgets shrink, there will be fewer new contracts in the government market. With fewer deals, firms that compete for federal business will need to write sharper proposals to win their share of work. It is imperative that our proposals tell a clear story that resonates with the buyer. In particular, we must be able to present a fact-based approach that demonstrates a clear, tangible value to…

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How bad are your proposals?

Bob LohfeldThis article was originally published November 14, 2011 in

By Bob Lohfeld

In last month’s column, 6 ways your proposal can fail, I wrote about a company that submitted a less-than-professional proposal and wondered how pervasive this problem really is. After all, as professional proposal managers, how bad can our proposals really be?

All professional proposal managers strive to make every proposal compliant, responsive, and compelling, yet a recent presentation reinforced my assessment that only about 15% of the firms bidding…

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6 ways your proposal can fail – and how to avoid them

Bob LohfeldThis article was originally published October 5, 2011 in

By Bob Lohfeld

I received a call from a mid-sized large business that had submitted a proposal for IT services and had just learned their proposal did not make competitive range. They were irate and wanted to protest, alleging that the government had not fairly evaluated their proposal.

They had hired a proposal consultant, spent lots of money developing their proposal, and were assured their proposal was professionally done. Before filing the protest, the company…

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7 tips for crafting a dominant proposal summary

Bob LohfeldThis article was originally published August 26, 2011 in

By Bob Lohfeld

Not all requests for proposals (RFP) call for an Executive Summary, and when proposals must have limited pages, it might be best to skip an Executive Summary.

But for large proposals or RFPs that ask for an Executive Summary, here are seven steps to creating an effective one.

1. Decide when to write.
I’m in the camp that believes later is better. An Executive Summary is a summary of your proposal, and if…

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5 Predictions for the 2020 Market

This article was originally published July 7, 2011 in

By Bob Lohfeld

Capture and proposal management, as a practice and a profession, continually changes. Recently, we asked leading professionals what changes they expect to see by 2020, and I think some of the predictions will surprise you. Here are some humorous as well as common-sense extensions of where we are today and what you might expect to see in coming years.

Government market

The government push to insource will have disappeared, having been debated and resolved at least once in each of the last three decades. Government and industry…

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Why your win rate is hurting your business

This article was originally published May 24, 2011 in

By Bob Lohfeld

Win rates vary widely among companies, and we see them range from as low as 10 percent to as high as 80 percent based on a variety of factors, including companies that bid anything and everything to those that bid too conservatively. To assess how your win rate stacks up against your competition, take a look below. Equally important, examine the details behind your win rate. These can direct you to areas where you can make substantive improvements.

Win rate: 80% to 100%
Color score: Green
Assessment and recommendations…

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Welcome to the new era of business development

This article was originally published May 2, 2011 in and features interviews with business development leaders, including Bob Lohfeld

By Heather Hayes

It’s no secret that there are fewer new opportunities in the government market, thanks to looming budget cuts and an increasing trend away from the use of new contract awards in favor of established governmentwide acquisition contracts.

However, companies can increase their ability to compete and even boost their win rates and revenues if they invest in and optimize their business development and capture management processes and tools.

“More companies are fighting for smaller pieces of business out…

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