Blog archive

A selection of past posts on improving proposals.

Welcome to our blog archive 

For years, the Complex2Clear team blogged weekly on specific ideas for improving proposals. This page contains an index of archived posts organized to follow the lifecycle of a typical RFX-response, including: 

  • Fundamentals and Pre-work
  • Strategy making
  • Initiation and kickoff
  • Writing and visualization
  • Content management and reviews
  • Finalization and post submission

We’ve also included sections on:

  • Win-loss reviews and analysis
  • Informal proposals
  • Rebids

Posts are indexed under these themes:

Understanding:   Gathering critical info on projects and prospects
Strategy:   Differentiating your company, team and solution
Management:   Ensuring proposals are complete, on message and on time
Writing:   Achieving clarity and consistency across all sections and writers
Visualization:   Using graphics to sell your solution and differentiators
Design:   Making your proposals look great and easy to navigate

NOTE: How-to posts include steps for accomplishing proposal tasks

Fundamentals and Pre-work U S M W V D H-T
Bidding vs marketing
Pre-RFP pursuit
Developing large prospects
Analysing large prospects
Pre-RFP discovery
Managing sales discovery
Making bid/no-bid decisions
Bid/no-bid: Overview
Bid/no-bid: Familiarity factors
Bid/no-bid: Competition
Bid/no-bid: Internal factors
Bid/no-bid: Decision-Making Tool
The RFP contender spectrum
Capture planning
Understanding evaluators
Understanding prospects
Profile: Economic buyer
Profile: Technical buyer
Profile: User buyer
Getting the coach’s nod
Strategy making U S M W V D H-T
Proposal Basics: Strategy
Differentiators: Understanding
Differentiators: Finding
Differentiators: Developing
Differentiators: Expressing
Key task: Win strategy
Building strategy on issues
Competitive solutions matrix
Experience and performance
Showing relevant experience
Demonstrating performance
Choosing key individuals
Taboo subject: Pricing
Taboo subject: Risk
Ghosting your competition
Value Propositions: Economic Buyer
Value Propositions: Technical Buyer
Value Propositions: User Buyer
Value Propositions: How to use
Writing strategy statements
Importance of price
Pricing Executive summary
Defending your price
Positioning your price
Demonstrating responsiveness
Positioning your offer
RFQs: General understanding
RFQs: Showing capability
RFQs: Ability to stay aligned
RFQs: Expressing one voice
Managing reference projects
Initiation and kickoff U S M W V D H-T
Mastering the RFP
Managing structure (ATOC)
Developing content prompts
Kickoffs: Overview
Kickoffs: Goals
Kickoffs: Preparation
Kickoffs: Participants
Kickoffs: Agenda
Writing, design and visualization
Setting direction for writers
Using style guides
When to use passive voice
Cover letter blunders
Writing great cover letters
Cover letter vs exec summary
Writing executive summaries
Using section storyboards
Great visuals, small budgets
Visualizing with flowcharts
Using meatball charts
Visuals for informal proposals
Writer guidance for plan sections
Key Individual resumes
Tips for better case studies
Organizational chart basics
Org charts: Showing phases
Org charts: Showing governance
Org charts: Beyond the basics
Standardizing content
Resumes and project sheets
Plans and approach sections
Standardizing visuals
List editing tips
How to write captions that sell
Writing effective callouts
Writing clearer narratives
Preparing narrative writers
Visualizing key messages
Proposal design basics
Proposal body style
Proposal heads and subheads
Content management and reviews
Basics: SME Alignment
Basics: Management
Basics: Executive buy-in
Information architecture
Planning for consistency
Managing content drafting
Managing compliance
Managing early drafts
Managing proposal graphics
Editing for evaluators
Structural editing
Copyediting proposals
Managing the small stuff
Key task: Red Team review
Managing large narratives
Pre-Red Team management
Managing a Red Team review
Finalization and post submission
Managing the final stretch
Presentation stage tips
Win-loss: Reviews
Win-loss: Overview
Win-loss: Interviews
Win-loss: Reporting
Win-loss: Analyses
Making FOI requests
Evaluating rival proposals
Improving your proposals
Informal proposals U S M W V D H-T
Informal proposal basics
Informal proposal modules
Informal proposal content
Informal proposal selling
Rebids U S M W V D H-T
Avoiding a lazy rebid
Start rebid prep now
Rebid discovery tips
Rebid team preparation
Focus rebids on the future
Stress capability in rebids
Highlight transition ease
Dealing with service issues
Start rebid planning early 

Key to column headings:

U =
Understanding the prospect and project
S =
Proposal strategy
M =
Process management
W =
V =
D =
Design and layout
H-T =
How-to post with step-by-step instructions

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