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Using value propositions in proposals

 August 30, 2016
by Paul Heron

We’ve devoted this month’s posts to value propositions. Now that we understand how to build value props for economic buyers, technical buyers and user buyers, let’s translate that knowledge into bid wins.

Take the following actions to put value at the centre of your bid effort.

Build value propositions as part of your strategy

Create value propositions in the strategy stage, right after making the decision to bid and before kicking off the detailed solution design and writing. Too many teams jump right into proposal writing without a solid strategy—and their results are poorer for it.

The act of creating value propositions forces you to clarify your offer and address various evaluator perspectives. Value props give subject matter experts and writers clearer direction.

Build the executive summary around your value propositions

Draft your executive summary as part of the strategy phase.  Organize it around your prospect’s key strategic drivers, and then use your value propositions to make the case for how your proposal aligns with and satisfies those strategic imperatives.

Give your writers the draft executive summary as part of their kick-off meeting package.

Test value props as part of your reviews

Disciplined bidders constantly test the “win-ability” of their bids. The initial bid/no-bid decision, while critical, should be revisited after the strategy stage and before committing resources to fully develop a competitive proposal. (See Bid Life Cycle schematic.)

Bidders involved in large-scale efforts schedule a Blue Review and a Black Hat Review at this stage. The Blue Review tests the bid team’s strategy, including its analysis of prospect hot button issues, likely competitors, differentiators and relative strengths and weaknesses. Blue reviewers will carefully scrutinize value propositions.

Black Hat reviewers assume the role of competitors and probe for ways to sell against your bid strategy. This feedback helps the team see where they need to improve the offer—or express it more strongly.

Use value propositions to maintain client focus

Train your writers to build section summaries around value propositions, so the summaries have selling power, instead of being a features list. The requirements for each section will indicate the most relevant value proposition(s).

Draw on value propositions when writing graphics captions. To have selling power, captions must always include benefits for the prospect. What is the value created by the information conveyed by the graphic?

Constantly revisit value propositions when writing narrative. Writers should always ask, “What is the value to the prospect of this information?” Value propositions can help them better understand and express value.

 

Need help translating strategy into a winning proposal?

Contact Complex2Clear

 

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