10 Essential and Emerging Skills Every Proposal Professional Should Have

Success in the bid and proposal field hinges on meticulous planning, strategic insight, and adaptive communication skills. The profession requires proposal professionals to be agile learners and innovative thinkers. In this blog, we’ll explore the foundational and emerging skill sets every proposal manager and writer should possess to stay ahead in this competitive field.

Foundational Skills

  • Project Management: Proposal managers must excel at setting clear milestones and deadlines and acquiring compliant, compelling submissions on time.
  • Strategic Thinking: Proposal managers and writers must understand the client’s needs and align the proposal’s strategy to accomplish them. They must also analyze the competition and develop high-scoring proposals that enhance their organization’s chances of winning.
  • Writing and Communication: Proposal managers and writers must craft compelling narratives that resonate with stakeholders. This includes mastering the art of persuasive writing and ensuring the proposal adheres to the client’s guidelines.
  • Attention to Detail: Proposal managers and writers must thoroughly ensure that all compliance requirements are met and that the document is error-free. This also involves meticulous editing and proofreading.
  • Collaboration: Proposal managers and writers must work seamlessly with different teams—sales, technical, legal, finance, etc.—to ensure effective proposal management. This hinges on collaboration and fostering a spirit of teamwork.

Emerging Skills

  • Digital Literacy: As technology becomes more ingrained in the proposal process, familiarity with digital tools for project management, collaboration, and content creation is becoming increasingly important.
  • Data Analysis: The skill set of leveraging data to inform strategies and craft data-driven proposals is growing in demand. Understanding how to interpret, present, and visualize data effectively can enhance proposal quality and save space.
  • Artificial Intelligence and Automation: Proposal managers and writers must become familiar with creating generative AI prompts to produce content and use AI-driven tools to streamline operations and improve quality.
  • Adaptability: The pace of proposal industry change requires managers and writers to adapt quickly to new requirements, tools, and client needs. For example, proposal writers must interview subject matter experts and transform complex and cutting-edge information into text that customers can understand.
  • Storytelling: Beyond just writing persuasively, proposal professionals must tell compelling stories substantiated by proof points that connect emotionally with stakeholders, stand out, and score highly.

Conclusion

To thrive in the bid and proposal industry, professionals need to master foundational skills and embrace emerging ones. Proposal managers and writers can significantly enhance their value by blending project management, strategic thinking, and collaboration with digital literacy, data analysis, and storytelling. Investing in these skills helps individuals succeed and ensures their organizations remain competitive in the bid and proposal landscape.

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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