Category Results for Proposal Production

Winning “must win” deals

Understand the customer’s needs, not just their requirements

“Oh, by the way, this is a must win deal for us,” my boss said as we concluded our conversation. The RFP had dropped, and I was to lead the final proposal effort. The company was getting ready to graduate from the small business world. Like many, we were looking to win as many small business IDIQ vehicles as we could to cushion our transition. The opportunity fit within our core competencies—but with an agency and government sector new to us. While there had been some pre-RFP activity and team building, it was focused on smaller companies familiar with the sector, but not with the agency. My work was cut out for me! Carefully considering the situation, I determined we needed to do three things to win: Fully understand the customer’s needs, not just their requirements. Propose a strong solution to meet both the requirements and the needs. Build in … Continue reading Winning “must win” deals

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Using mind maps for proposal management activities

Visually generate, organize, structure, analyze, and classify ideas or information

I teach a proposal management class and use mind map examples for some of the lesson topics. I’m often surprised to learn that many of my students are not familiar with the mind map concept. In this article, I briefly introduce mind mapping and provide a few examples of how your proposal team can use mind maps as you prepare your proposal. What is a mind map? A mind map is a diagram used to visually generate, organize, structure, analyze, and classify ideas or information. It is an effective tool to capture and analyze information generated in brainstorming sessions. It facilitates collaboration, communication, learning, visual thinking, and problem solving. Mind maps can be used for planning, making decisions, and to facilitate outlining and writing. To create a mind map, you begin with a central concept/topic and develop related subtopics or themes around the central topic, connecting each to the center … Continue reading Using mind maps for proposal management activities

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A winning proposal isn’t always the best

A proposal can be the winner for reasons unrelated to proposal quality

Is a winning proposal a good proposal? Some argue that by definition, yes, a win is a good proposal. However, we all know that a proposal can be the winner for reasons unrelated to proposal quality—such as a price shoot out. Therefore, when we look back at our win-loss track record, we miss a lot of important data if wins and losses are the only measures of successful performance. As a result, we may re-use a poor-quality proposal or dismiss a losing proposal that has some successful elements. Are your proposals good? In a Deltek webinar, Bob Lohfeld polled the audience to ask: “Are your proposals compliant, responsive, AND compelling?” Interestingly, only 15 percent of 150-plus respondents believed that their proposals were consistently achieving all three measures of quality. Another 35 percent responded that their proposals sometimes achieved all three. Meanwhile, 35 percent stated that their companies consistently do NOT … Continue reading A winning proposal isn’t always the best

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Five Tips for Describing Complexity

Earn the best possible score for demonstrating complexity

Most requests for proposal (RFPs) ask you to define past performance in terms of relevant size, scope and complexity. The term size is easy to understand because it is numeric. Size refers to the dollar value of the contract, the number of staff, the number of users served, the number of locations served, etc. Scope is also easy to understand too. We simply compare how well the requirements in the RFP’s statement of work or align with those of our past performance reference. For example, in the case of a help desk, does the help desks deliver the same tiers of service, support the same equipment, or use the same tools and processes to perform their jobs? However, the term complexity is vague. Complexity could involve many factors including the: Involvement of many teams or stakeholders Numerous moving parts Numerous schedule dependencies Aggressive project timelines Budget / restraints Work in … Continue reading Five Tips for Describing Complexity

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