News & Knowledge Center

Do I have to understand the proposal contents as the Proposal Manager? Ask the Proposal Doctor

Dear Proposal Doctor, Do I have to actually understand what is in the proposal I am managing? Sometimes this is an overwhelming task, and it distracts me from the blocking and tackling of the day-to-day management. Often the material is technical and written for people who are “inside the bubble” and who understand all the jargon and acronyms. This makes it difficult to know if the writing is not persuasive or if it is intrinsically not understandable to a layperson. Yet it is hard to give direction to the writers if I don’t know anything about the content. How do others manage this challenge? -Struggling to Keep Up Dear Struggling, This is a constant challenge, and you will be disappointed—or relieved— to know that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. There is no question that we are better proposal managers when we have a grasp of the subject matter. It helps...

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4 strategies that can kill your recompete

Love is not an evaluation criterion in federal procurements

I regularly get calls to review capture strategies for companies competing on “must win” procurements. I have done an equal number of these reviews for companies during the time when they were in their capture phase (before the final request for proposals is released), during their proposal development phase when everyone was working hard to write the winning proposal, and, regrettably, after the company had submitted its proposal and been told that they had lost their “must win” deal. Often these procurements are for contract recompetes, where the company is the incumbent contractor performing the work. There is a common thread among all of these reviews—incumbent contractors all too often focus on the wrong strategies. I thought I would share some of these losing strategies with you in the hope that you don’t take your next “must win” recompete down the same losing path. 1. They love us Every incumbent contractor,...

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