100 Tips for Improving Proposal Writing Using Generative AI

While no artificial intelligence (AI) tool can ingest your request for proposal (RFP) requirements and pop out a winning proposal, AI can be your partner in enhancing proposal development. In this guide, we explore 100 ways that Generative AI (GenAI) can help improve the speed and quality of your proposal development.

In Table 1, 7 Ways GenAI Can Help Save Time and Money, we describe the tangible benefits of integrating GenAI into your proposal development workflows.

In Table 2, 8 Tips for Formulating GenAI Prompts, we share practical advice for creating effective GenAI prompts that yield useful information that maximizes the potential of GenAI tools.

In Table 3, 50 Words and Phrases to Jumpstart GenAI Prompts, we provide a creative arsenal of words and phrases to help you enhance the innovation and richness of AI-generated content.

Building on Tables 1-3, Table 4, 35 Strategies to Use GenAI to Support Proposal Writing provides GenAI prompt strategies to streamline the proposal writing process and deliver submissions that are customized, persuasive, and focused on the customer’s needs.

From preparing appendices and attachments to enhancing proposals’ digital searchability, this guide provides a foundation for bid and proposal professionals seeking to master the complexities of contemporary proposal writing with GenAI’s support.

Table 1: 7 Ways GenAI Can Help Save Time and Money

BenefitDescription
Expedite information collectionLarge Language Models (LLMs) powered by AI can quickly comb through extensive information repositories. They can efficiently extract and organize data in your preferred format and even provide concise summaries of relevant articles and their key findings. Additionally, LLMs can serve as collaborative thinking partners and aid in idea refinement.
Support bid/no bid decisionsAI tools can help make well-informed bid decisions. They assist in analyzing opportunities, calculating win probability, and conducting comprehensive competitor analyses, ensuring you invest your resources wisely.
Extract requirements from requests for proposals (RFPs)Using AI tools to extract RFP requirements minimizes the risk of missing critical details. These tools can help you verify that your proposals align perfectly with client expectations—enhancing your chances of success.
Analyze RFPs and formulate questionsAI tools possess data-crunching capabilities that extend to analyzing RFPs. They can help formulate questions for clarification, ensuring your comprehensive understanding of RFP requirements.
Turn ideas into textDo you have brilliant ideas but struggle to put them into words? AI tools can bridge the gap. You can input your thoughts, and the AI tool can give you a starting point for your first draft, giving life to your concepts.
Support compliance reviewsAI-driven compliance checks offer an additional layer of assurance. They verify that your proposal complies with all client requirements and guidelines, guarding against costly oversights that could jeopardize your bid.
Improve writing and eliminate errorsMeticulous proofreading is a hallmark of professional proposals. AI-powered grammar and syntax checks ensure your documents are error-free, improving their quality. Moreover, they can assist in text compression to reduce page count without sacrificing substance.

Table 2 presents suggestions for formulating AI prompts that return the results you need to draft or improve upon your proposal text.

Table 2: 8 Tips for Formulating GenAI Prompts

Tips for Formulating GenAI Prompts that Return Valuable Information
Clearly state what you want and avoid vague or ambiguous language.
Provide trusted context to improve the GenAI tool’s understanding.
Break down complex tasks into smaller manageable parts.
Formulate your prompt as a question to help the GenAI tool understand your intent.
Include examples or scenarios to illustrate what you’re looking for.
Clearly define constraints, such as word limits, timeframes, or specific criteria.
Experiment with different prompts to see which yields the best results.
Continuously review and refine your prompts as you gain experience.

Table 3 presents a collection of words and phrases you can use to enrich the instructions for GenAI prompts listed in Table 2. The words and phrases can help foster brainstorming, innovation, and in-depth exploration of your proposed solutions. Consider combining these words and weaving them together into a seamless chain of thought to achieve your desired outcome. To improve your results, provide background information, including solution descriptions, past performance, resumes, and customer intelligence.

Table 3: 50 Words and Phrases to Jumpstart GenAI Prompts

WordsGenAI Phrase
Analyze“Analyze the request for proposal (RFP) requirements. Analyze the RFP for the customer’s top priorities, pain points, size, scope, complexity, and risks to operations. Analyze the evaluation criteria, terms, conditions, language, and tone.”
Argue“Argue persuasively for the superiority of our solution.”
Assess“Assess the potential risks associated with the RFP requirements.”
Brainstorm“Brainstorm innovative approaches to the solution.”
Categorize“Categorize the key features of the product offerings.”
Clarify“Clarify the scope and objectives of this proposal.”
Compare“Compare our staffing strategy to competitors in the market.”
Conclude“Conclude by highlighting the unique value we bring to the customer.”
Contrast“Contrast the benefits of the solution with those on the market.”
Convince“Convince the client of the ROI they’ll gain.”
Create“Create a compelling vision for the project’s success.”
Critique“Critique potential drawbacks in the approach.”
Define“Define the project scope, deliverables, and timeline.”
Demonstrate“Demonstrate how our solution solves the client’s challenges.”
Describe“Describe the key features and benefits of the offering.”
Detail“Detail the implementation plan for project execution.”
Develop“Develop a customized solution tailored to the client.”
Discuss“Discuss the market trends driving the need for the solution.”
Draft“Draft a comprehensive proposal for client review.”
Elaborate“Elaborate on the innovative aspects of the approach.”
Estimate“Estimate the cost and time required for project completion.”
Evaluate“Evaluate the solution’s potential impact on the client’s business.”
Examine“Examine the current challenges faced by the client.”
Explain“Explain the technology stack and its advantages.”
Formulate“Formulate a clear strategy for project implementation.”
Generate“Generate ideas for optimizing project efficiency.”
Highlight“Highlight our company’s strengths and competitive advantages.”
Identify“Identify the key stakeholders involved in the project.”
Illustrate“Illustrate past successes using our company’s past performance.”
Imagine“Imagine the positive impact the solution will have.”
Indicate“Indicate how the solution aligns with industry standards.”
Interpret“Interpret market data to support our company’s proposal.”
Invent“Invent innovative solutions to overcome client challenges.”
Justify“Justify the staffing strategy based on value delivered.”
List“List the key features that set us apart from competitors.”
Narrate“Narrate the client’s journey from problem to solution.”
Outline“Outline the project phases and milestones.”
Persuade“Persuade the client of the long-term benefits of the solution.”
Predict“Predict potential obstacles and mitigation strategies.”
Propose“Propose a tailored solution to meet the client’s needs.”
Provide“Provide evidence of our industry expertise and credibility.”
Rank“Rank the advantages of our solution over competitors.”
Reflect“Reflect on lessons learned from past projects.”
Review“Review the key project risks and mitigation plans.”
Show“Show how the solution aligns with the client’s vision.”
Suggest“Suggest innovative features that can enhance the project.”
Summarize“Summarize the key benefits in a concise manner.”
Synthesize“Synthesize market research to inform the proposal.”
Translate“Translate technical jargon into client-friendly language.”
Write“Write a persuasive proposal that captivates the client, free of spelling and grammatical errors.”

The key to unlocking the power of GenAI lies in crafting clear, concise prompts. Table 4 presents strategies for using GenAI prompts to improve the efficiency and quality of your proposal writing. Next time you draft a proposal, remember to jumpstart your GenAI prompts with these compelling strategies.

Table 4: 35 Strategies to Use GenAI to Support Proposal Writing

AI Prompt StrategyDescription
Appendices and attachmentsAsk your GenAI tool to help draft and format an appendix using materials you developed to support your solution.
BenchmarkingInstruct your GenAI tool to benchmark your proposal text against industry standards or previous successful proposals to identify areas of improvement.
Call to actionsAsk your GenAI tool to draft calls to action to engage the reader using approved draft content and examples like those listed in Lohfeld Consulting’s 50 Words and Phrases that Call Attention to Your Benefits, Strengths, and Discriminators.
Client-centric languageTell your GenAI tool to review your content and verify that it aligns with client-specific requirements, industry terminology, and preferences in the RFP.
Competitive analysisAsk your GenAI tool to analyze and document competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) using trusted information.
Compliance checkTask your GenAI tool to verify proposal compliance with RFP requirements to ensure all necessary elements are included.
Content expansionAsk your GenAI tool to elaborate on the content you developed to add depth and substance to your proposal.
CompressionTask your GenAI tool to compress your text down to the page limits specified in the RFP.
Content generationTell your GenAI tool to generate draft content based on trusted information you give it.
Cross-reference checkAsk your GenAI tool to ensure all references, citations, and acknowledgments within the proposal are accurate and cross-referenced.
Customer testimonials or kudosUse your GenAI tool to identify and incorporate relevant testimonials and kudos to boost your credibility.
Data and statisticsUse your GenAI tool to extract and format statistical data, research findings, or industry-specific information.
Differentiators identificationDirect your GenAI tool to identify unique aspects and competitive advantages of your solution.
EditingTell your GenAI tool to check your document for spelling, grammar, and syntax errors. Ask it to remove vague or fluffy words like those listed in Lohfeld Consulting’s 100 Words that Kill Proposals.
Executive summariesTask your GenAI tool with summarizing key proposal points into concise executive summaries for busy decision-makers.
Feedback integrationInstruct your GenAI tool to incorporate feedback from draft reviews into the proposal, ensuring all comments and suggestions are addressed comprehensively.
FormattingCommand your GenAI tool to format content according to your preference.
GraphicsInstruct your GenAI tool to create graphics to support explanations in proposals.
InnovationTask your GenAI tool with suggesting innovative solutions or technologies that could enhance the proposal’s appeal.
LocalizationUse your GenAI tool for translation or localization into different languages for international client proposals.
Market analysisUse your GenAI tool to conduct a market analysis, identifying trends and demands that support the necessity and relevance of your solution.
Past performanceAsk your GenAI tool to generate draft past performance summaries using your prior summaries, status reports, and notes.
Proof of concept descriptions Instruct your GenAI tool to explain your proof of concepts, showcasing their feasibility and value.
QuestionsTask the GenAI Tool to review the RFP and create questions about vague requirements.
ResumesInstruct your GenAI tool to draft resumes in a desired format for a proposal and highlight how the resumes meet and exceed labor category requirements.
Risk assessmentAsk your GenAI tool to identify potential risks in the RFP and suggest mitigation strategies, leveraging industry best practices and historical data.
ScalabilityTask your GenAI tool to generate boilerplate content for standard proposal sections that are easily customizable for future proposals.
Proposal optimization for searchabilityInstruct your GenAI tool to enhance the proposal’s text for better searchability in digital formats, including the use of keywords and phrases that potential clients might use when looking for solutions.
Security measuresTask your GenAI tool with detailing security risks and measures that protect the project, emphasizing compliance with regulatory requirements and industry best practices.
Stakeholder analysisAsk your GenAI tool to identify key stakeholders and their interests or concerns related to the project and suggest strategies to engage them effectively.
StrengthsFormulate GenAI commands to describe features, benefits, and how your solution exceeds the requirement, and include a proof point.
Technical descriptionsPrompt your GenAI tool to provide technical descriptions of products, services, or solutions for non-technical audiences.
TimelineAsk your GenAI tool to draft a project timeline and milestones, ensuring a realistic schedule is presented for completing proposal writing tasks.
Value propositionFormulate GenAI commands to improve the articulation of the value proposition.
Version control and document managementInstruct your GenAI tool to manage document versions and ensure the proposal team is always working on the latest version.

Conclusion

Clearly, integrating AI into the proposal development process isn’t just beneficial—it’s transformative. This comprehensive guide explores myriad ways GenAI can augment the efficiency, accuracy, and persuasiveness of proposal writing, from initial data collection to final submission.

The journey through the tables, from outlining GenAI’s time and cost-saving advantages in Table 1 to sharing strategic tips for crafting effective GenAI prompts in Table 2, and providing a lexicon for innovation in Table 3, underscores the versatility and power of GenAI in enhancing proposal content. By showing how to use GenAI to support different aspects of proposal writing, Table 4 provides ways to make bids and proposals more customized, effective, and focused on the customer.

The key to unlocking GenAI’s full potential lies in thoughtfully applying these strategies. Use these 101 tips as a foundation for adding GenAI into your proposal writing practice, helping to craft compliant, compelling bids and proposals that resonate with their intended customers.

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 YouTube(TM) .

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Brenda Crist