Process Versus Content

Proposal writing involves both process and content. Effective proposal writing processes are important but proposal content rules over process. Your company can develop a proposal smoothly and on time, with minimal hassle and without last minute crises, and submit a product that is beautifully formatted with fancy graphics. Yet the end result may still be that it loses due to lack of "responsive content." We will further examine what constitutes responsive content.

A proposal that has been deemed to include responsive content is one that contains all of the content or information that was asked for in the Request for Proposal and no more or no less. More importantly, the content must be presented in a concise manner and should demonstrate how your proposed solution is going to solve the customer's problem or otherwise address his or her needs. This, of course, begs the question of how a business discerns what the customer wants. The answer to this query is that you can only do so through aggressive sales and the use of the resulting customer intelligence gathered during the sales process.

Writing a compelling technical approach is the key to a winning proposal. It is the most difficult aspect of proposal writing because the Proposal Manager frequently doesn't have the technical expertise needed to develop the approach. Furthermore, technical personnel frequently do not have the skills, time or desire to write effectively. How do you write a clear and concise technical approach presuming that you have the necessary customer intelligence? The process can be a struggle - especially when your technical people are hiding, don't like to write and don't want to work overtime. The answer is to force the technical writers to outline during a series of collaborative meetings. If you do not do so, your likelihood for success decreases dramatically.

Effective technical approach outlining can be accomplished using traditional outlining techniques, story boards, and the development of winning themes.

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