Clear thinking

Learn how to improve your proposals and win more business.

Managing the final stretch

 July 30, 2019
by Paul Heron

This month’s series explains how to manage large narratives to submission. Recent posts focused on preparing proposal writers for success, pre-Red Team management, and running a Red Team review. This post provides guidance for managing from Red Team to submission.

Immediately following Red Team, provide section leads with annotated narrative(s), and confirm they understand and have committed to making required updates.

Pens down

During or before the Red Team review, set and communicate a “pens down” date. This is the point at which all post-Red Team updates are due. For most proposals, assuming pre-review narratives were largely complete and compliant, section leads should require less than a week to submit for pens down.

Copy editing and proofing

Following pens down, the core team copyedits the narratives for smoothness, grammar, one-voicing and consistency in the use of acronyms, short forms and capitalization. This is often an intense period—but nothing like the panicky efforts to rewrite entire sections that often characterize poorly managed proposals.

Editors should identify instances where Red Team input was not integrated, and/or where content is unclear. When these flaws are found, do not send the sections back to the authors. Instead, retain control of the narrative, by sending a snippet and question via email or using screen-share to make the correction. This is faster and reduces the chance of corrupting a nearly perfected document.

Gold Team review

A Gold Team review, typically by senior executives, is standard for most teams. It aims to confirm the offer aligns with the requirements, is viable, and entails an acceptable balance of risk and reward. If the proposal has been well managed, with a sound strategy, clarity on requirements and well managed reviews, there should be no surprises at Gold Team.

Final tweaks and preparation for submission

Correct any flaws identified at Gold Team and prepare the proposal for upload as text or PDF(s) to the issuer’s portal, or for printing and binding. If printing, have the printer make one copy and do a page-flip with the core team to catch production flaws before printing and binding.

The time scheduled between Gold Team and submission depends on the size of the proposal, the submission requirements—and, of course, your confidence the Gold Team reviewers won’t suddenly have second thoughts about some major aspect(s) of the proposal.

Careful management pays off

This month’s posts describe in a general way how we support our clients in managing proposals for large contracts. The logic is self-evident—before you unleash dozens (or hundreds) of individuals in a high-stakes, time-constrained proposal effort, it only makes sense to communicate a clear strategy, have a plan to manage them closely, and conduct formal progress reviews.

If you base your process on this month’s posts, you’ll see upcoming submission deadlines as a time to celebrate, not panic.

 

 

Need help with proposal processes?

Contact Complex2Clear

 

 

Photo credit


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

 

 


  

 

 

CalendarBlog Index

READ PAST POSTS


Stay current

RSS

 SUBSCRIBE VIA RSS

Sign up for our monthly blog summary

No spam promise

We hate it when we sign up for a newsletter and suddenly get several emails a week. So we won't do that to you. You'll get our newsletter—period.

*
*
*
Get monthly summaries?:*
Privacy Policy: Complex2Clear will not use your name and contact information for any purpose other than to respond to your request and to advise you of important updates. We will not sell or give your information to any third party.
Invisifield:
Invisifield:
Top of page