News & Knowledge Center

5 Tips for Hiring a Proposal Consultant

Additional proposal expertise during the busy season can help boost win rates.

Proposal activities in the government market generally peak in the summer months. The requests for proposals that we have been waiting for all year seem to drop at that time. To handle the peaks and valleys in proposal workload, get additional proposal expertise for must-win procurements or get a fresh view on how to present their solutions, companies reach out to proposal consultants. When you need help from proposal consultants, here are some things you should keep in mind. A typical proposal can take a dozen or more people to develop over a 30- to 45-day period. During this high-paced activity, you can supplement your own staff with consultants. Proposal consultants include proposal managers, volume leads (technical, management, past performance, and price), subject matter experts, technical writers, coordinators, graphic artists, editors, and production specialists. Each specializes in a different aspect of the proposal-development process, so before you start looking for proposal...

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Survival guide | You lost. Now what?

Two industry veterans share what companies should try to learn at the debriefing after losing a contract bid.

Interview with Bob Lohfeld and Steve Carrier Our experts are Steve Carrier, former vice president of business development and strategic planning at Northrop Grumman Information Technology, and Bob Lohfeld, president of Lohfeld Consulting Group and former vice president at Lockheed Martin Information Technology and senior vice president of OAO Corp. CARRIER: Find out as much about the pricing information as they will give you. It is very important to know where you were compared to the winner on price. Next, how did your technical solution stack up against the competitors? Finally, what are the three or four things that caused you to not be selected? Get as many specifics as possible. Also, after the protest period is over and you are not protesting  go back to the customer and potential members of the source selection board and try to find out the real reason you lost. After the protest period...

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Contracting 101: Start with Patience and Value

There are no real shortcuts to becoming a government contractor.

By Joyce Bosc Small businesses with big aspirations often look to government for sales opportunities, but the size of that government-sales undertaking can be overwhelming. Yes, smaller jobs may be sold to government through a simple purchase order, but true success in getting government business takes more. To become established as a trusted government contractor, your company must be prepared for a resource-intensive process that might take as long as two years. The commitment is big, but the successes can be even bigger. There are no real shortcuts to becoming a government contractor. However, an understanding of available government support services and tools can make navigating the process simpler and more efficient. An emerging type of service provider for aspiring contractors is the business development consultant. Often retired from government or from established contracting firms, many consultants offer proposal writing, training and capture management planning to anticipate government sales needs...

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Get the Most Out of Your Contract Debriefing

Be prepared to ask questions and learn as much as possible.

Win or lose, you are entitled to receive a debriefing from the government to help you understand the basis for an award decision. You must request your debriefing in writing within three days after receiving notification of contract award, otherwise your request might be declined. The government will do its best to provide the debriefing within five days of receiving your written request. The debriefing might be done orally, in writing or via another method acceptable to the contracting officer. Most bidders prefer oral debriefings because they provide an opportunity to discuss the findings and ask follow-up questions. For some debriefings, travel costs might be a factor, requiring a debriefing through a teleconference. The least-preferable debriefing format, from a learning point of view, is a letter debriefing. The contracting officer who led the procurement usually leads oral debriefings, supported by the people who participated in the evaluation of proposals. For...

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