Win It, Then Do It

Win it, Then do it

I was in a proposal meeting the other day listening to team members discussing their first draft. When the discussion turned to how we were going to win the work – the focus turned to writing about our great technology. It soon became evident that most of the writers had not studied the evaluation criteria which government reviewers would use to decide who would win the contract. Continue reading “Win It, Then Do It” »

The Value of Debriefings – for Winning Teams

The Value of Debriefings – for Winning Teams

So you’ve just won that $500M Single Award Task Order Contract. Your team is celebrating, and rightly so, and you’re preparing for the kick-off meeting.

The furthest thing from your mind is asking for a debriefing. Why bother … you won! Debriefings are for the losers.

Or are they?

In truth – you need a debriefing when you win just as much as when you don’t. Continue reading “The Value of Debriefings – for Winning Teams” »

Are Win Rates Really an Appropriate Measure of Success?

Are Win Rates Really an Appropriate Measure of Success?

Many government contractors track win rates. Many consulting / proposal firms laud their ability to help clients achieve impressive win rates.

But – do win rates matter? Continue reading “Are Win Rates Really an Appropriate Measure of Success?” »

A Proposal Manager’s Scarcest Resource

A Proposal Manager’s Scarcest Resource

Managing multiple and conflicting job requirements are the daily normal for a business striving to stand out above its competition and consistently win. The hunger to succeed becomes the driving force to do more and more and more. We are now in the Government’s fiscal year fourth quarter – the most intense for publishing requirements and thus the busiest for contractor’s preparing proposals. Continue reading “A Proposal Manager’s Scarcest Resource” »

The Value of Government Debriefs

The Value of Government Debriefs

I was in a meeting with a client the other day.  A heated discussion developed around a particular feature in their latest product and how we should design it for the user. No one around the table had a good answer. I remembered that a recent contract debrief from the Government addressed that very issue. Once we reviewed the debrief, we knew which path to take.

Has this ever happened to you? Please share your experiences.

Features and Benefits

Features and Benefits – Don’t Just Tell…Sell

Writing a proposal is like telling a story – a story about how your solutions to the Government’s problems are better than your competitors in a way that matters to the Government.

The key phrase in that sentence is “in a way that matters to the Government.” You may be able to tell a good story, and even ghost your competition, but unless your story “matters to the Government” it won’t matter at all.

So how do you that?

Continue reading “Features and Benefits” »

Put It In Writing

Put it in writing

Sooner or later, all Government Contractors will be faced with a situation like one of these:

  • Your government client wants you to do something you consider out of scope
  • You’re under contract and come across a circumstance you didn’t anticipate and need to deviate from the scope of work
  • Your bid / proposal made assumptions that you later determined to be incorrect and you find out after award

Continue reading “Put It In Writing” »

Complying with Proposal Requirements

Complying with Proposal Requirements – So Easy a Kindergartener Can Do it, Right?

The famous “Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” is a list of simple, common-sense “rules” for leading a successful life … one of which is “Follow Directions.” Seems easy enough, something we all can do and have done (just ask anyone who uses Google Maps).

In the proposal world, “Follow Directions” takes the form of “Be Compliant” – and the majority of companies for whom I’ve consulted always agree, in theory, that organizing the proposal according to RFP Sections L&M is non-negotiable. So I go along my merry way and prepare an annotated outline that does just that. Nine times out of 10, during the course of proposal development, that outline morphs mysteriously – a slight change here, another there – and we’re fixing non-compliance issues discovered by Red Team or Gold Team reviewers at the 11th hour.

Continue reading “Complying with Proposal Requirements” »

Color Blind: Conducting Valuable Proposal Reviews

Color Blind: Conducting Valuable Proposal Reviews

My 12-year-old son recently overheard a conversation I was having with a Client and asked “Mom, what’s a Red Review?”

Me: “It’s a process in which a bunch of people who didn’t write the document read it and comment on whether the people who did write it, wrote it well.”
My son: “Why is it ‘red’ though?”
Me: “The color indicates the level of the review, how far along the document should be developed. ‘Red’ means all sections should be written and graphics included – kind of near final.”
And then I chuckled to myself … “And this one is NOT ‘Red’ ready.”

Continue reading “Color Blind: Conducting Valuable Proposal Reviews” »

Follow the Rules

Follow the RFP Rules

Recently I was discussing a Compliance Review we conducted for a client on a draft proposal.

We typically use a ‘traffic light’ system to code our assessments – Green for compliant, Yellow for Close But Needs Work and Red for Fix This or Be Disqualified. The assessment also provides specific guidance on how to fix or improve the non-compliant section.

Compliance is an interesting topic because it’s the details that get you thrown out. Compliance can have one or both of the following: (1) a Binary Component and/or (2) an Objective Component. Continue reading “Follow the Rules” »