Choosing key individuals

In competitions for complex contracts, proposal evaluators pay close attention to each bidder’s key individuals. Whatever your experience with similar projects, success always comes down to the specific people managing the work. Your roster of key individuals is central to your score.

In evaluating your team, evaluators will expect you to fulfill four criteria:

1. You understand the requirements

Ensure the project organizational structure and key people demonstrate you understand the RFQ or RFP. Pay attention to:

  • Organization: Does the team structure match the contractor’s project responsibilities?
  • Key positions: Do the key individuals have the required qualifications, industry knowledge, experience and ability to manage specific risks?
  • Hot button issues: Does your team demonstrate strength in areas of special importance to this prospect? Hot button issues are often project-specific, such as—in the case of construction—structure type, challenging terrain, environmental issues, stakeholder management, public profile, etc.

2. You have identified and committed key individuals

Show you’re serious by identifying your key team members by name and committing to making them available. Clients understand you may need to request a change—particularly if the original start date is delayed, as often happens. Would you rather win and have to request a substitution—or lose because you failed to meet the standard requirement to identify team members by name?

Do not “bait and switch.” Proposing the same set of stars for every project and then changing them all after winning upsets clients and soon earns a negative reputation. In fact, if your main competitor uses this tactic, consider ghosting the practice to differentiate your offer.

3. Your key people have what it takes to succeed

If you’re fortunate to have a strong team, organize your key individuals’ resumes to make their qualifications clear. Instead of forcing evaluators to piece together qualifications from general-purpose resumes, organize and edit resumes for this specific project.

We’ll provide guidelines for doing this in next week’s post.

4. Your team meets all the requirements

The ideas in item 3 above will convince evaluators that individual members are qualified. But your prospect may need help—especially with large projects—ensuring that your team as a whole covers off all requirements.

Address this need with a matrix that plots team members against requirements. A “meatball chart” (presumably because the dots filling the grid look like meatballs), will make the evaluator’s job easier and earn you points.

Remember: Evaluators don’t always read closely

Many evaluators skim proposals for reasons to keep reading or to eliminate contenders. Use the ideas above to keep them reading yours—and to win more contracts.

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