The opportunity of a lifetime has found its way to your organization in form of a Request for Proposal (RFP). You share RFP document with members of your management team, and you begin planning your response strategy. That’s when you begin to realize work that lies ahead.
Indeed, excitement that an RFP generates is often quickly tempered by dawning realization of immense amount of toil that goes into competing for – and winning – that coveted government or private-sector contract. As always, it’s when stakes are highest that everyone on your team must shine their brightest and produce their best work.
You can help by breaking down proposal into manageable parts, by assigning specific sections to appropriate individuals on your team, by establishing a series of realistic deadlines that allow for producing a polished looking proposal, and by ensuring that finished proposal contains both a strong call to action and all required information specified in RFP.
INCOMPAS can assist you in all phases of this process, or you can call us in at very end, to assist you in editing and final presentation of your proposal. To get you started, we’ve developed a point-by-point plan to assist you in preparing a winning proposal.
Proposal Preparation Plan
· Read RFP carefully, all way through, at least three times, so that everyone in your organization has a thorough grasp of all requirements and expectations. The information that is crucial to your proposal will likely be scattered throughout RFP.
· Recognize and understand proposal for what it is: a plan that identifies a need or problem, followed by effective strategies that meet need or solve problem, a list of anticipated costs and an explanation of how strategies’ progress and resulting benefits will be measured. Your proposal must contain a strong call to action, and it must be organized and concise, including all required information.
· Focus on proposal evaluation criteria and subsequent weight given to each proposal section. It is here that you will learn where to focus your efforts during preparation of your proposal.
· Develop a proposal schedule by working backwards from due date, and stick to it. Establish separate due dates for financial information, allowing sufficient time to acquire more information and refine existing information. Hold regular meetings with your proposal teams to discuss strategies, progress and any roadblocks that are encountered along way. Make sure you factor in plenty of time for copying, binding and delivery of your proposal. Set aside additional time for distributing your proposal to your entire team, and make sure there is a qualified person on hand to proof-read final document before it leaves your organization.
· Delegate and inform. In each section of RFP, specify individual who will be preparing information for that section, and provide them with a guideline word or page count as well as a bulleted list of points to be covered in that section. Post important instructions, so that your team has easy access to information such as proposal due date, number of required copies, delivery instructions, etc. Don’t complicate your team’s job by making them hunt for this information.
· Create an RFP binder to assist your team in quickly and easily accessing information that applies to them, with all sections clearly divided. Highlight most important sections of RFP and flag them with post-it notes.