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.
This is an all-to-common problem: People focus on how they will do the work under the contract without figuring out how they are going to win the contract.
Most solicitations include evaluation criteria that are clear and specific. This solicitation was no exception. According to this solicitation, the proposal submissions would be evaluated on:
1. Overall basis of innovation and scientific merit
2. Relevance to the desired outcome
3. Overall value to the Government and affordability of the proposal
4. The likelihood of achieving success
5. Proposed cost, cost realism and socio-economic merits
Failing to provide specific and compelling responses to the evaluation criteria will almost certainly guarantee a loss.
We have found that addressing the evaluation criteria early in the proposal building process is key to success. This is best done before the final RFP is released if possible; but if not, then as soon as possible afterwards. Successfully addressing Evaluation Factors is the ONLY way to differentiate yourself form your competition in a proposal. Develop your ‘how we can win’ approach around Evaluations Factors first – then have team members take responsibility for providing content and an approach to each Section L criterion that will be included in the proposal – with the Evaluation Factors in mind. This focus on the evaluation criteria must remain a topic of discussion for each proposal meeting and in color team reviews. This process will greatly increase the chances of winning the contract so you can do the work.