When it comes to proposal management, there are a lot of moving pieces to manage, and organization shouldn’t be the thing that keeps your proposal from winning the bid.
Proposals are persuasive documents; structured logical written arguments that lay out everything in favor of your solution.
Most teams rely on their subject matter experts to write their proposals – experts who are used to writing materials that inform and explain, such as documentation or training materials, rather than persuade.
Outlining and annotating your proposal for your writers gives them the direction and details they need to write persuasively.
Whether your team starts with a blank page or approved boilerplate, they have some assumptions to make about each requirement before they start writing. The right assumptions will help deliver a compliant and persuasive response for your review team to improve upon. The wrong assumptions will deliver an informational response, lacking in connection to win themes and discriminators, as well as review-team-driven revisions.
Obviously, if you cannot persuade, you cannot win.
Whether you outline every chapter down to the last detail, or provide just a few notes on major story elements, outlining will give your experts a sense of direction and an idea of what you expect during reviews.
In other words, identify your assumptions about each requirement up front to save the team confusion and lots of wasted editing time. Start by outlining each section, or better yet, each question, with some strategy-driving details.
- Why is this section important? Is a competitor whispering in their ear?
- How to address a question where the solution falls short? Perhaps you’ll use your response to change the narrative and strengthen your solution.
- Who is this section or question important to?
- Should the response be written with the tech team in mind or the front office in mind?
- How to support your win themes? Include interesting facts and statistics that might resonate with the reader.
One more thing; outlining alerts your review team to holes in your story before you write your proposal into a corner that requires last minute research and rewriting. Outlining up front helps you take action – like bringing on a new teammate – early in the process.
Next in our series on proposal management best practices: How can you set your proposal team's expectations, establish trust, and help keep the chaos to a minimum?