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Bid Proposals | Critical Point: Red Team Review

 June 30, 2015
by Paul Heron

June posts have been all about critical points in the bid lifecycle—process steps that can tip the balance between losing and winning. Earlier this month we posted on:

This week’s topic is the red team review. Time it for when the bid is more than 60 percent complete, but while there’s still time to make significant improvements. A good rule is about three quarters of the way through the response window.

Success ingredients for Red Team Reviews

Successful red reviews focus on how well the win strategies are expressed in the proposal. Pay attention to these critical success components:

  • Fix the date, invite the right people: Announce the red team review date at kick-off and work towards it. Invite individuals who know the client and the competition and insist on in-person attendance. Have them also attend the kick-off.
  • Make it document-based: Manage towards producing the very best document for review. Circulate the entire proposal to all reviewers at least three business days before the review. Encourage reviewers to read it before the session.
  • Pre-plan and facilitate: Structure the review to follow the evaluation criteria. Provide forms for reviewers to note strengths and weaknesses and to score the key elements in each section against the RFP scoring system. Provide space for qualitative feedback. Plan to spend an entire day reviewing a large proposal. Use a facilitator and follow an agenda.
  • Follow up: Assemble and consolidate the reviewers’ comments. Present these formally to the proposal team. Assign one or two of your best writers to implement the recommendations. Smaller re-write teams help build consistency of voice and style. 

What to do

  • Get buy-in and commitment for a robust red team review.
  • Implement the strategy making and kick-off processes described in the linked posts above so your proposal is reviewable.
  • If this is your company’s first red team review, reach out to key reviewers ahead of the date to ensure they understand and support the purpose
  • Choose a comfortable room in a location that discourages interruptions
  • Run a high-energy, constructive session, and then use the input to improve your proposal.

The payoff

A document-based, strategy-focused review at this point can turn a run-of-the-mill bid into a strong contender.


Need help facilitating game-changing proposal reviews?

Contact Complex2Clear



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