News & Knowledge Center

5 Passing Grades You Need to Lead the Pack

Preview solutions with government stakeholders to validate assumptions and build advocacy for your offering.

Ever wonder why some companies appear to be the odds-on favorite to win a contract? A well-orchestrated, pre-request for proposals ritual goes on long before a procurement is released for bid. Company business development, technical and management professionals step up the frequency of visits to their customers to better understand customer objectives and to perfect their company’s solution. Those professionals also preview their solutions with government stakeholders to validate assumptions and build advocacy for their company’s offering. Their focus is simple: ensuring their proposed solution meets or exceeds government requirements and resonates with the customer. Those industry professionals work to shape the agency’s procurement strategy, ensuring it is favorable to their firm and the solutions they will propose. Offering insights on procurement strategy; choice of contract vehicles; RFP instructions, evaluation factors, subfactors, and criteria; contract terms and conditions; and pricing approaches are the norm. Discussion topics in some procurements, such...

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Ask the Right Questions to Understand Customer Objectives

How well do you understand your customer's requirements and objectives?

Did you know the leading indicator for predicting whether you will be successful in a government bid is how well you understand the customer’s requirements and objectives? As a capture team leader, one of your first jobs is to understand and document your customer’s requirements and objectives. Requirements are the activities a company must do when it performs the contract. They include technical and management tasks described in the scope of work, generally found in Section C of a federal government request for proposals. But they can also reside in other sections and attachments to the RFP. On the other hand, objectives are more elusive. They are the desired outcomes that the government hopes to achieve by having a company perform the contract requirements in an exceptional manner. Every bidder will offer to perform the contract requirements, but the successful bidder will show how its approach ensures the government’s objectives...

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Resolve to Improve Your Win Rate

Focus on capture management and associated activities from the decision to pursue through award.

Let it be resolved that this will be the year in which we raise our new business win rate, write better proposals that cost us less to create, and leave the practice of working to exhaustion on late-night proposals as our final fond memory from the year now past. This New Year’s resolution will probably be made by executives at half the companies that work in the highly competitive government technology market. Yet few companies will change how they pursue new business, prepare for proposals, or handle the demanding task of writing proposals when the request for proposals arrives. To help achieve this New Year’s resolution, let’s focus on capture management and what companies should do from the time they decide to pursue a new opportunity until the award is made. Along with examining the capture management process, we will explore each of its activities. Capture management is a defined,...

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How to Build Professional Skills in Proposal Management

Ask the Proposal Doctor

Dear Proposal Doctor, I have been in proposals for five years and love the industry--- I am one of those anomalies that thrive on little sleep, junk food, and a drive to win! I am hungry to improve and learn as much as I can. Besides joining the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP), what else do you suggest I do to improve my skills, knowledge, and general competency in proposal management? The "green" Proposal Manager" Dear Green, Great question. I admire your commitment to continuous improvement. Knowledge is experiential in this business. At the same time, proposal managers need skills that are inherent in other professions. First, consider courses or online training that will improve communication skills, both written and spoken. For written communication, look at courses offered in technical writing in a local community college, through the Society for Technical Communication, or online. Many organizations offer training in...

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