Team-Based Approaches that Help Win Bids

Winning sports teams and healthcare teams using team-based approaches have seen dramatic improvements and results. This kind of team doesn’t magically appear, however. Developing winning teams takes leadership, investment, and commitment.

Every company needs a bid and proposal team that can consistently develop winning proposals while making the most effective use of company resources. In Lohfeld Consulting’s experience, companies whose teams possess the characteristics listed in Table 1 develop more proposal strengths and win more bids.

Table 1: The Characteristics of Winning and Losing Proposal Teams

CharacteristicDescription of LosersDescription of Winners
Talent and SkillCompanies throw anyone available at the job and hope for the best.Team members supporting bids and proposals possess the qualifications, experience, and skills to perform their jobs effectively. The company invests in the team’s training and certifications annually.
Planning and PreparationCompanies have little or no capture or proposal planning until after the RFP drops.Capture and proposal teams plan early. They clearly define the win strategy and strengths. Their plans define clear roles and responsibilities for executing and monitoring the plans.
Time ManagementLeaders set unrealistic deadlines, which teams routinely miss, and members become burned out.Leaders set realistic schedules with built-in cushions, risk mitigation plans, and backup resources. The team routinely meets deadlines on or ahead of schedule.
Unified VisionThe entire team doesn’t understand why or how the company will win the bid.All bid and proposal team members share a unified vision of why and how the team wins, which saturates their approach to the work.
LeadershipThe team has little or no executive support and high staff turnover.The leaders plan and design a winning strategy while directing the team to execute the plan and inspiring confidence and high morale.
ExecutionThe team poorly executes plans and has major revisions after each proposal review.Capture and proposal managers execute according to solid plans and consistently meet all milestones on schedule and within budget.
Communication and CoordinationTeams experience haphazard communication and coordination.Capture and proposal managers hold regular meetings, keep everyone informed, and give the team the information needed to do their jobs efficiently.
AdaptabilityTeams are unable to adapt to changes or RFP amendments.Capture and proposal plans have proactive risk mitigation plans, and the team has the ability and resources to execute the plans.
Bench StrengthTeams lack bench strength and reach back, which results in resource shortages.If a team member has a planned or unplanned absence, the team can quickly recover without missing deadlines using resources pulled from their bench.
ResilienceThe team feels demoralized or quits after a loss.The team understands that losses are a part of bidding and brings high morale and commitment to the next bid.
Lessons LearnedThe team rarely, if ever, conducts a lessons-learned review.The team conducts lessons-learned reviews after major milestones and uses those lessons to improve operations continuously.

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 and join us on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter.

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Brenda Crist