Articles tagged with : best practice

Stepping on toes

How to get roles and responsibilities on track

Dear Proposal Doctor, Despite a kick off meeting at which we discussed roles and responsibilities, everyone on this proposal seems to be stepping on everyone’s toes. The coordinator keeps trying to do my job; the capture manager is trying to be the solution architect; the contracts representative is getting way too involved in pricing. We have redundancy and re-work in some areas and complete neglect in others. How can I get things back on track? Proposal-Manager-in-Chaos Dear Proposal Manager, I feel your pain and have lived through similar experiences. The root cause is an unwillingness to have a discussion of roles and responsibilities at the level of detail required. To emphasize those last six words: at the level of detail required. It is much easier to define roles in general terms. Here is my favorite: “Responsible for red team.” What exactly does that mean? Does the responsible person find the...

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How to raise your win rate by 20%

Knowing which investments to make and predicting the payoff is the challenge

All executives want to increase their win rate. If you could raise your company’s overall win rate by 20%, the payoff in additional revenue, earnings, and shareholder value could be huge. Company revenues would increase, earnings would increase by the marginal profit rate on the new revenue, and shareholder value would increase proportionally to your increase in earnings. But, knowing which investments to make and predicting the payoff is the challenge. Here’s how to choose your investments and predict the resulting increase in win rates. First, let me make sure everyone understands that we are talking about the investment you make to improve your company’s overall win rate. This is the average win rate on all proposals your company submits, not your win rate on a specific proposal. (We use a different model to predict the outcome for individual bids.) 7-Factor Model To predict increases in overall company win rates, we...

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The Proposal Dentist: Extracting a Technical Approach from the Technical Experts

by Brooke Crouter (This article appeared in the Fall 2011 edition of APMP-NCA’s Executive Summary eZine.) As budgets shrink, there will be fewer new contracts in the government market. With fewer deals, firms that compete for federal business will need to write sharper proposals to win their share of work. It is imperative that our proposals tell a clear story that resonates with the buyer. In particular, we must be able to present a fact-based approach that demonstrates a clear, tangible value to the potential customer. To achieve this, we need three critical elements: compliance, reviewability, and approach. Compliance. Compliance is the “entry fee” to the game; we must respond to the RFP criteria completely or risk having our proposal removed from further consideration. Compliance defines the structure of our response and ensures we meet all requirements. We all know we have to focus on compliance, and we rarely miss...

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How bad are your proposals?

Only 15% of companies said their proposals were always compliant, responsive, and compelling

In last month’s column, 6 ways your proposal can fail, I wrote about a company that submitted a less-than-professional proposal and wondered how pervasive this problem really is. After all, as professional proposal managers, how bad can our proposals really be? All professional proposal managers strive to make every proposal compliant, responsive, and compelling, yet a recent presentation reinforced my assessment that only about 15% of the firms bidding on U.S. government contracts consistently achieve these fundamental objectives. In a GovCon Business Development Weekly webinar hosted by Deltek’s Michael Hackmer, I discussed four fundamentals for creating a winning proposal. The first three fundamentals comprise creating a compliant, responsive, and compelling proposal. We polled the 150 webinar participants from a cross-section of small to large government contractors and asked them to rate how well their proposals did in achieving those three objectives. What we learned was surprising. Only 15% said their...

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