Red Team Review Guidelines

A couple of installments ago, we wrote that the process many companies use for proposal reviews is "broken." We discussed why and how to mitigate the issues that seem to plague proposal reviews (see What is Wrong with the Proposal Review Process?). I want to expand on some of the points made about fixing Red Team reviews because this activity is generally the second most seminal milestone of the proposal process (after delivery). This is because the Red Team review is undertaken when the proposal is essentially complete.

The primary purpose of the Red Team is to validate the proposal's effectiveness from the client's perspective. Other than by changing strategy - which should have been addressed during the Pink Team Review - the Red Team's focus is on emulating the customer's evaluation process in order to determine how to improve chances of winning.

The Red Team must look at the proposal through the client's eyes. The following checklist should be used when evaluating the proposal from the perspective of the client's reviewer:

  • The win theme (or themes) is/are clear and evident;
  • The benefit statements appear in every part of the proposal;
  • There's no question as to why your organization should be chosen;
  • The drawings and art make sense and fit the text;
  • The proposal responds to the RFP's SOW; and
  • The text is easy to read and understand.

Before the meeting and as early as practicable, the proposal manager should provide reviewers with a copy of the proposal and the review guidelines tailored to that proposal. Reviewers need to read the RFP and any other distributed material before the Red Team meeting. At the start of the meeting, the proposal manager should ensure that all reviewers are aware of the specific guidelines and criteria that are intended to drive their review efforts. The Team Leader should then moderate the team discussion and should keep the team members focused on the evaluation criteria to be addressed.

The Review must revolve around the win themes established for the proposal. Moreover, the following specific criteria should be addressed:

  • Is the proposal complete and thorough?
  • How persuasive is the writing?
  • Is the proposal properly weighted to the evaluation criteria?

    With a focus on individual sections:

    • Are the win themes clear and evident?
    • Are benefit statements present?
    • How readable is the text?

    The proposal manager should incorporate the suggestions made during the Review. Parts of the proposal are rewritten, as necessary, and the entire proposal should receive a final copy-edit prior to going to production.


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