50 Ideas to Jumpstart Your Thinking About Proposal Strengths

Why are proposal strengths so important? In best value competitions, the offeror who possesses the best and/or greatest number of strengths, the fewest number of weaknesses at a level of risk tolerable to the customer, and has the best or one of the most competitive prices is best placed to win.

So, what is a strength? Lohfeld Consulting’s definition of a proposal strength includes the following:

  • Exceeds a contract requirement in a way beneficial to the customer ​
  • Increases the likelihood of successful contract performance
  • Increases the likelihood of successful mission accomplishment
  • Significantly mitigates mission or contract risk

In addition, your strength must not be neutralized by another bidder. Crafting strengths is often challenging. Here are 50 ideas to help jumpstart your thinking about strengths.

Ideas for Understanding Section Strengths

  1. Deliver a detailed understanding of the customer’s plans, goals, or objectives
  2. Describe the size, scope, and complexity of requirements correctly
  3. Describe potential challenges, risks, and dependencies accurately
  4. Describe stakeholders, users, or others that might impact operations precisely
  5. Describe expected outcomes accurately

Ideas for Technical Section Strengths

  1. Provide a solution that meets and exceeds request for proposal (RFP) requirements
  2. Provide a high level of confidence that the solution will work
  3. Provide a solution that helps exceed customer service or expected quality levels
  4. Provide a solution that improves the likelihood of mission outcomes
  5. Implement innovations that accelerate productivity
  6. Mitigate operations risks, challenges, and dependencies
  7. Facilitate integration in a manner that exceeds RFP requirements
  8. Save time and money or help control costs
  9. Provide a plan that meets and exceeds safety requirements

Ideas for Management Section Strengths

  1. Provide a low-risk project management plan that facilitates the likelihood of operational success
  2. Provide a plan to manage and verify high-quality work by subcontractors
  3. Provide a communication plan that expedites communications and customer insight into your performance
  4. Provide realistic and achievable performance measurements that verify customer outcomes are achieved
  5. Provide company facilities or a location that facilitates the ease of operations

Ideas for Staffing Plan Strengths

  1. Provide a beneficial number, type, and mix of staff to accomplish RFP requirements
  2. Provide a cost-effective level of effort to accomplish RFP requirements
  3. Provide staff whose qualifications exceed labor category requirements
  4. Deliver reach-back capability to support work surges or processes to support staff drawdowns in ways that are beneficial to customer operations
  5. Provide staff whose skills are versatile and flexible to meet changing customer requirements
  6. Provide staff utilization rates that minimize downtime and optimize productivity

Ideas for Staff Recruitment Strengths

  1. Implement thorough new hire screening processes that verify candidates meet and exceed the technical requirements for the position
  2. Implement thorough soft skills screening processes that verify candidates can adapt and thrive in the work environment
  3. Provide new hire onboarding, training, and mentoring processes that accelerate productivity
  4. Provide a mean time to hire that exceeds RFP requirements
  5. Provide a wide breadth and depth of recruiting resources

Ideas for Staff Training and Retention Strengths

  1. Document an employee retention length that benefits customer operations
  2. Implement policies that promote employee satisfaction and minimize the risk of flight
  3. Provide staff training and development plans that benefit customer operations
  4. Document the company’s annual training budget and or commitment to training staff
  5. Describe mentoring plans to develop staff knowledge and professionalism

Ideas for Past Performance Strengths

  1. Document the high relevance of past performance as compared to RFP requirements
  2. Describe the depth of the contract’s size, scope, and complexity
  3. Describe the company’s demonstrated ability to overcome relevant challenges
  4. Describe the company’s timeliness and the ability to complete work on or ahead of schedule
  5. Describe the company’s ability to control cost and complete work on or under budget

Ideas for Transition Strengths

  1. Provide a no-cost transition
  2. Make 100% of staff available on schedule
  3. Provide a low-risk transition plan and schedule
  4. Provide a dedicated transition team to support the operations team
  5. Provide a plan to minimize the customer’s transition burden and a communications plan to keep them informed of the status and incorporate their feedback

Ideas for Other Strengths

  1. Provide associated plans (project management, quality management, security, etc.) that support operations in a way that benefits customer operations
  2. Provide a Small Business Plan that exceeds the small business requirements
  3. Provide a favorable mix and balance of small business types that meet and exceed customer requirements
  4. Provide a Section 508 Compliance Plan that accelerates compliance and minimizes risks
  5.  Provide an Organizational or Personal Conflict of Interest Plan to identify and mitigate potential or actual risks proactively

By Brenda Crist, Vice President at Lohfeld Consulting Group, MPA, CPP APMP Fellow

Lohfeld Consulting Group has proven results specializing in helping companies create winning captures and proposals. As the premier capture and proposal services consulting firm focused exclusively on government markets, we provide expert assistance to government contractors in Capture Planning and Strategy, Proposal Management and Writing, Capture and Proposal Process and Infrastructure, and Training. In the last 3 years, we’ve supported over 550 proposals winning more than $170B for our clients—including the Top 10 government contractors. Lohfeld Consulting Group is your “go-to” capture and proposal source! Start winning by contacting us at www.lohfeldconsulting.com and join us on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter.