Articles tagged with : lessons learned

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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Audio Tip: Creating your proposal outline and compliance matrix

How to stay on a solid path towards proposal success

Alternative content This month, proposal development expert Beth Wingate, APMP Fellow (aka AppMaven), offers insights and tips for developing your proposal outline and compliance matrix. I attended a roundtable presentation given by the Association of Proposal Management Professionals’ (APMP) National Capital Area (NCA) Chapter where three government contracting officers agreed with my assessment that you need to develop your proposal outlines following the hierarchy of Sections L (Instructions), then M (Evaluation Criteria), then C (Statement of Work (SOW)), then H (Special Contract Requirements), then I (Contract Clauses), then J (Attachments—sometimes where they hide the actual SOW), and then the rest of the RFP. In the pre-RFP release stage of the Capture and Proposal Life Cycle, I always develop a draft proposal outline and compliance matrix based on the government’s draft RFP or on one that I develop based on previous competitions if I’m in a recompete situation, or from capture-based...

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6 ways your proposal can fail – and how to avoid them

I received a call from a mid-sized large business that had submitted a proposal for IT services and had just learned their proposal did not make competitive range. They were irate and wanted to protest, alleging that the government had not fairly evaluated their proposal. They had hired a proposal consultant, spent lots of money developing their proposal, and were assured their proposal was professionally done. Before filing the protest, the company asked me to review their proposal. Here’s what I found when I did the review and what I told them. Professionally developed proposals always have the same characteristics — they are compliant, responsive, compelling, and customer focused. They present a solution that is easy to evaluate and score well — and they are aesthetically attractive. I used each of these criteria while reviewing this company's submission. Compliance The proposal’s structure is expected to follow the request for proposal’s (RFP)...

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