Creating a proposal that has to be read, digested and acted upon is a challenge that every proposal manager faces. However, the real work behind creating that perfect proposal starts well before putting your pen to paper.
Think planning: Before you start writing, have the planning all laid out. Who is the owner of the proposal? Who will fill out the different sections? Will you need editors or proof-readers for each section? Do you require certain sections to be finalized before other sections? Will all the team members have access to all the information (sales figures, financial numbers)? What is the deadline?
Tip #1: Lay out the details on who is doing what, how and when before you start working on the proposal
Think Visibility: As the owner with the responsibility of sending the proposal to the client, the second thing after the planning session is to ensure that you have the visibility on how the project is progressing – from thought to execution. You do not want to find out 2 days before the deadline that the financial numbers are still not updated. Or that the product features need additional data to present your case. Visibility means knowing where the proposal is at, any time on any given day. This also allows you to pull in additional resources, if need be, at critical junctures to ensure that the proposal is complete before it goes to the client
Tip #2: Ensure you have access to information regarding the progress of the project at any given time
Think content: Once you have done the planning, and have the ability to track progress, it is time to think of the content that goes into the proposal. Two building blocks of a great proposal? Relevancy and presentation. At every point, you need to ensure that the proposal answers every question raised by the client, and is relevant to the client in terms of the solutions you propose. Then you need to present the relevant content appealingly – via lists, bullets, graphs, tables, images and so on. The text can be broken down into smaller paragraphs with detailed sub-headings, to catch the client’s eye as they scan the page. Your designer can customize images to highlight your product features or key points in your proposal. The options are endless.
Tip #3: Create a proposal that has the right mix of text and graphics, laying out the information that is specific to the client’s needs
Need help in putting together a proposal that is complex, has many contributors, and needs to be done right? Think Xait. With XaitPorter, you get everything you need to create a quality proposal, while ensuring you have complete visibility on the entire process.
Want to know more? Meet the Xait team at APMP’s Bid & Proposal Con 2014 in Chicago from May 26th through the 29th, as we attend the world’s largest event for proposal, bid, tender, BD and graphic professionals. We will be at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers in Downtown Chicago, mingling with a record gathering (information as on May 4th) of 720 attendees!