Beth Wingate, APMP Fellow, shares her insights into responding to fast-turnaround proposals—without giving up your sanity or your weekends.
Many of us in working in the Federal Government arena know that fast-turnaround proposals are a fact of life—especially with today’s emphasis on GWACs and task-order-based contracting, and of course towards the end of the government fiscal year. Those of us who want to retain some semblance of sanity and work/life balance have developed Proposal Factories encompassing a number of mechanisms and processes that enable us to produce and win these proposals without completely burning out our teams and ourselves—and without giving up our weekends.
Nine Key Factors to Win
Your mileage may vary—but I believe these are the absolute basics for success.
1. Realistic pipeline of upcoming opportunities and corresponding client knowledge—comprehensive and real information about existing environments, desired solutions, hot buttons, available budgets, and schedules for upcoming solicitation releases.
2. Knowledge about Your Competitors—potential bidders and their pricing strategies, past history, existing staff and subject matter experts, and experience with a client—and your mitigation plan for each.
3. Proposed Solution—complete and low-risk, demonstrating your understanding of your client’s environment and needs, containing demonstrated experience and results in similar environments, and providing added-value offerings.
4. Proposal “Factory”—a responsive, well-oiled proposal factory (see my previous tips and articles on developing your proposal factory).
5. Easily Searchable Past Performances Repository—allowing access to comprehensive, current past performance content.
6. Easily Searchable Resumes Repository—complete, identically formatted resumes on all your current employees—at minimum for the folks that you always bid.
7. Easily Searchable Graphics Repository—a set of general company processes/procedures graphics using a standard color palette to use as a basis for quickly tailoring to a particular opportunity.
8. Pricing—within ethically acceptable practices, you need to know as much as possible about pricing your proposal. What is the client’s available budget? How do your expected competitors typically bid?
9. Cooperative Management—this is the most important of all my nine keys to winning. You have to brief management on your fast-turnaround response process, and management absolutely must support your process and schedule if they want to win.
Obviously, it takes time to build your fast-turnaround proposal factory—these are the nine key building blocks you need to construct that factory.