Proposal Writing Strategies and Mistakes

Don’t just parrot back the RFP requirements. You should rephrase the requirements and add insights that demonstrate an understanding of what you are proposing to do. Why are we doing it this way? What are the benefits of our approach? Why does it reduce costs and minimize the risk of failure?

Develop, name, and store model text, so you can retrieve and reuse what you have written from previous proposals. Model text is particularly effective for management plans but it can also work for repeatable technical approach content. Don’t reinvent the wheel in each proposal- you want to have a system where proposal writers know what model text is available. Always tailor model text to the RFP requirements. Evaluators can spot untailored model text from a mile away.

Don’t use broad, unsubstantiated claims like “Collectively our company has 100 person-years of experience . . .” or “Our company is a world class . . .” You will make the government evaluators guffaw and they’ll end up subtracting evaluation points. Be subtle and if you are going to boast back it up with evidence. Summaries, the evaluators want three of your best. If the RFP asks you to submit a key person’s resume only, that is what the evaluators want.

Pack the proposal with an understanding of the customer’s needs and with compelling solutions. Write to the evaluation criteria and put the emphasis on sections that count the most. Consider not bidding if you can’t provide point-scoring content that’s clearly based on the customer’s needs. There is nothing wrong with abandoning a proposal in the early stages of writing. Be brutal and get out early if it appears that you cannot score evaluation points.

What it boils down to is this: make it easy on the evaluator. Keep it concise and to the point. Don’t give them more than they asked for in the RFP. Cut out the puffery. Show the customer you understand their problem and present a practical, risk-free solution laden with insights and benefits.

This article has been viewed: 2939 times

Rate This Article

Be the first to rate this article