Color Team Reviews—Purposes and Goals

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This week, proposal development expert Beth Wingate, APMP Fellow, offers a quick rundown of what to review for in the various color team reviews and offers tips for running effective reviews.
Color reviews help to ensure a compliant, compelling proposal response. Your Chief Reviewer should select a team from within your organization (include teammates, if applicable) that can effectively review the proposal—standing in the shoes of government evaluators and adding value and detail. I recommend four basic color reviews for each non-pricing volume.

  • Blue-Reviews and approves final solution, strategy, and storyboards or richly annotated outlines. Reviews for features, benefits, differentiators, strengths, supporting evidence, and themes. Reviews overall proposal solution graphic and major section graphics.Tip: Only after reviewing/approving all of this material and freezing the solution/offering should you release writers to write.
  • Pink–Reviews for compliance with RFP instructions and requirements; responsive proposal content that tells a coherent story, supports themes and discriminators, provides convincing substantiation, and follows approved storyboards; errors and inconsistencies from one section to another.
  • Red–Reviews for compliance, presentation of themes and discriminators, effective substantiation of all claims, continuity from one section to the next, effective “storytelling,” ghosting of competition, and wordsmithing (are we framing the story effectively).
  • Gold–Reviews for “perfection.” Were all key points made? All hot buttons pushed? All client concerns discussed? Primary competition ghosted? Key experience cited? Gold team catches that last 2% towards a perfect proposal.

Bonus Tip: Pricing volumes get their own separate Green reviews.

Bonus Tip: Remember the proposal best practice—reviewers shouldn’t be participants in the proposal development process. They should bring fresh eyes to the proposal. If you absolutely must use writers as reviewers, be sure they don’t review their own sections.