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Capture and Proposal Management: 9 Things Slowing You Down - Part II

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Cheryl Smith



3 min

In part one of Capture and Proposal Management: 9 Things Slowing You Down, we outlined the first four habits or old systems that are slowing down your proposal process and standing in your way of winning more bids. Make this the year you remove obstacles to success! It's time to refresh your strategy and shed the methods of collaboration, communication and proposal management that are holding you back. Read on to consider what those methods are.

Lack of History

If you don't have a centralized repository for all content and proposals published or worked on in the past, then your writers will be starting from blank page each time. Starting from a blank page is one of the clearest ways to put the breaks on your proposal progress. Access to proposals published in the past via a searchable and centralized content repository solves this problem.

Searching via metadata allows the writer to find the relevant documents easily, whether it is a proposal published for homeland security, or a similar bid won last year, your writers won't have to reinvent the wheel.

Using past written proposals will cut out unnecessary effort. If you have written a solutions section similar to this exact one, then why not pull it up, tailor it to the client and use it again? Additionally, this works to gain inspiration and to remember tactics or visuals that have been effective in the past and will be effective in the future.

Running Through IT

Clearing everything through IT makes your proposal process much slower and hinders your team from continuing. A centralized workspace won't help your team if it isn't easily accessible, user friendly, or if you need to go to IT to accomplish any type of alteration.

Pick a platform for collaboration that empowers your team to add users, switch licensees, and that ultimately gives you more control to push the proposal along further.


Not everyone is a writer. Assigning non-writers the task of writing will significantly slow the proposal process down. Avoid numerous rewrites and version control issues by hiring professional writers who have worked in the proposal market or take the time to greater educate your writers on how they can improve. A proposal shouldn't be complex or include fancy wording, but it should be persuasive and tell a story. Invest efforts to make sure your writing is effective and doesn't need to be rewritten again and again in order to get the ultimate message across.

Lack of Hindsight

However, in order to plan for the unplanned, you will need a process that starts by following capture management best practices. Lining up the months ahead at the transition of the bid capture will enable you to plan out what has gone wrong in the past and what you can do this time to avoid those issues. That is why it is extremely important to include a meeting to debrief and go over lessons learned from your proposal process at the end of one.

In this meeting, analyze each step of your repeatable process and see where you can improve in the future, as well as what went well this time around. This is also a great opportunity to consider the quality of the proposal and if your sales or business development teams should avoid RFPs like this one in the future, or continue searching for similar proposals. Recapping on the sales process, the transition and the proposal outcome will enable you to send your win rate through the roof. Once you find what works for you, you can capitalize on that and gain more business than ever before — all starting from the bid capture process, carrying the proposal through to the finish line.

Don't slow yourself down. Start off 2019 on the right foot by cleaning up your bid capture and proposal creation process. Proposal collaboration software will help you manage your content and streamline your communication with the greater proposal team so that everyone is on the same page and running toward the same goal — quicker than ever before.

The Unknown

Last, but not least...

Murphy's Law (noun): The principle that if something can go wrong, it will go wrong.

The business of winning proposals can be a stressful one, especially near the end, as you pull together the team's thoughts and comments to produce your final proposal. It can often seem that no matter how much you plan for contingencies and uncertainties, you are still rushing toward the proposal deadline compromising on certain quality due to limited staffing, limited resources, or limited time.

It might sound paranoid, but there are infinite possibilities that could stand between your team and getting the proposal submitted securely and on time. Planning for Murphy's Law on top of each step of the process will help you to mitigate any edge-of-your-seat races toward the mailbox in the final days of creating your proposal.

Ultimate Proposal Checklist

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Cheryl Smith

Cheryl Smith is our Senior Content Writer. She has additionally been writing and managing proposals since 1998. Shipley trained, she has helped establish proposal centers and advised on capture strategy, coached orals teams and lead marketing, communications and knowledge management programs. Cheryl is a graduate of The George Washington University with degrees in Theatre, Communications and Literature. When she’s not sharing her passion for work, she loves drawing, writing, cooking and exploring the Virginia woodlands with her husband, their dog Chase and the fuzzy guests they host for Rover.

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