Articles tagged with : requirements

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...

Continue reading...

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...

Continue reading...

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...

Continue reading...

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...

Continue reading...