Clear thinking

Learn how to improve your proposals and win more business.

Bid Proposals | Managing the little things

 February 24, 2015
by Paul Heron

Most bid teams we observe dive into the narrative and pricing sections of a new opportunity with enthusiasm. We typically see less appetite for tackling more mundane RFP requirements.

The result of this procrastination is often two or three days of nerve-wracking frenzy at the deadline. Pre-submission hours that should be devoted to polishing and packaging the proposal are instead spent (for example) chasing a letter from someone who happens to be on vacation.

Surprisingly, we’ve seen this dynamic even within large, well-managed bid teams—especially when they are part of a proposal consortium.

Here’s a better way.

Identify items and assign responsibility

When you create your compliance matrix, identify all the RFP requirements that aren’t part of the narrative or pricing. These may be appendix items—but not always. Some RFPs ask for insurance certificates and similar documents as part of a Statement of Qualifications section.

Examples of items in this category include:

  • Financial statements
  • Incorporation certificate
  • Insurance certificate
  • Performance bond
  • Details of projects using a proposed technology
  • Agreement to license a proposed technology
  • Safety and compliance records
  • Team resumes and/or project sheets in an RFP-defined format

Once you’ve identified these items, assign them to someone without heavy narrative and/or pricing responsibilities. A junior bid team member makes an ideal candidate.

Manage priorities based on dependencies

Tackle items that require third party action first. For example, if an overseas patent holder needs to provide a letter agreeing to licence technology, get that request started on Day One.

Some internal documents may also have long lead times. Team resumes sometimes can take time, and each should be checked to see it includes all information required by this RFP.

Monitor and escalate

Make these assigned items part of every team meeting, so the proposal manager can identify and escalate action on any items that appear problematic. Escalation is not necessarily a reflection on the person responsible the list. It may simply take a more senior person to get action from the information holder.

Cruise to the finish

The benefit of this approach is a team that’s focused and working on high-value work right to the deadline. The result is the strongest possible proposal.


Looking for other ways to work less and win more?
Contact Complex2Clear


Photo credit

Paul Heron, MBA, is the founder and managing partner of Complex2Clear, and leads our bid response practice. LinkedIn 




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