The art of the data call: proof points that POP

In today’s blog post, Lisa Pafe follows up on her 7 questions to ask before RFP release with insights on crafting effective data calls…

In my previous blog, I discussed 7 questions to form the basis of the data call. But, how do you ensure that your proof points are any good? Here are some examples of typical bland proposal statements that beg the reader to ask for proof:

  • We enjoy high levels of customer satisfaction. How high?
  • We have low employee turnover. Compared to what?
  • We offer relevant experience. In what?
  • We have the personnel reach back to rapidly staff task orders. Prove it!

By crafting an effective data call, you get proof points that POP as shown in the following examples.

P: Persuasive

We will meet or exceed performance expectations. In all 12 of our Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS) ratings for eight agencies over the past 3 years, we achieved no lower than Excellent or Outstanding ratings. On all six of our performance-based contracts, we have achieved maximum award fees and incentives.

O: (Focused on customer) Objectives

We know staff retention is of utmost importance to the project. Our retention rate across the company is 90%, compared to 82% industry-wide for similar IT positions. On help desk projects such as this one, our retention rate is 98% due to our focus on leveraging Help Desk Institute certifications and best practice processes.

P: (Verifiable) Proofs

Our company has performed 24 software development projects for 13 customers over the past 3 years, all of which were performed at Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Level 3 or higher. We have the reach back to staff the task orders through 5,700 qualified and cleared IT personnel across the team, of which 750 hold the required Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Foundation certification, 25 are ITIL Experts, and 5,000 hold Secret clearances or above.

As these three examples illustrate, you can attain proof points that POP with:

  • Specific examples and lessons learned that provide evidence
  • Verifiable facts such as PPIRS ratings that can be confirmed by the Source Selection Board (SSB)
  • External, unbiased third parties such as industry appraisals or customer quotes that offer confirmation
  • Data aggregation that shows size and strength
  • Comparisons that ghost competition.

Gathering the information in advance gives your team a significant competitive advantage by going beyond compliance to a compelling bid.

What advice do you have for crafting effective data calls that provide proof points that POP? Send an email to me at, and I’ll share your thoughts in upcoming posts!