Clear thinking

Learn how to improve your proposals and win more business.

Bid Proposals | Managing Win Themes

 September 2, 2014
by Paul Heron

Last week’s post explained how to use the Section Content Planner (SCP) to ensure writers stay on-track and include all the information needed for a compliant bid.

This post shows the SCP’s value as a tool to keep writers on message.

Several past posts focused on the strategy components of proposal planning. For example:

All this strategy work is aimed at developing win themes—clear messages that express the uniqueness of our offer and our key differentiators. Now we need to ensure writers make maximum use of these themes in their sections.

Use win themes to complete the Section Content Planner

Each writer gets one or more SCPs, pre-loaded with general information and compliance items. Insist writers fully complete the remaining SCP sections (see Figure 1) before they start to write.

The work of going through the proposal plan and individual strategy-building tools and conferring with subject matter experts will give writers the depth of understanding needed to write powerful content. If subject matter experts are section authors, the exercise will help give them a strategy perspective—lifting their thinking from simply how the solution works to why a proposal evaluator should care.

Figure 1: Developing Powerful Content: Completing the SCP forces writers to fully integrate compliance requirements, technical content and win themes before they start to write.


Capsule statements and visualizations

As you review SCPs in progress, pay special attention to the capsule statement and ideas for visualizations (including captions). Because they need to integrate information and strategy, these act like canaries in a coalmine—early indicators a writer might be struggling.

If a capsule statement is missing or lacks impact and/or if a graphic and its caption don’t highlight a key benefit or differentiator, go back through the SCP to see how well the writer has completed the other sections.

Sections will write themselves

OK, that’s an exaggeration. But the investment in completing, reviewing and approving section content planners is guaranteed to produce stronger proposal content with fewer surprises—and keep you on your completion schedule.


Need help with process that builds strong proposals?

Contact Complex2Clear


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