Clear thinking

Learn how to improve your proposals and win more business.


Managing reference projects

 June 30, 2020
by Paul Heron

This post is intended for individuals managing RFQ responses for infrastructure projects. It gives insight into Complex2Clear’s approach to optimizing the selection of reference projects, based on the scoring criteria of a specific RFQ.

The reference project challenge

RFQs require details of a defined number of reference projects, similar to the one on offer, to demonstrate the capability of each consortium team member. “Similar” is typically defined strictly—e.g. same type of structure (toll highway, bridge, hospital), similar construction constraints (e.g. urban setting, environmental issues), similar size, contracting model, etc. Eligible projects must have been completed recently (say, within five years) and the team member has to have been responsible for a minimum participation (usually 30% ).

Ideal reference projects closely align with the project on offer, showcase the experience and capabilities of the consortium team members and their key individuals (KIs) and—ideally—show member companies and their KIs successfully working together.

How not to select reference projects

Despite these interlocking and inflexible requirements, too often the selection process consists of team member executives sitting around a table tossing out projects based on emotion (“It’s our signature project.”) and/or size, awards won, etc.—instead of making a disciplined effort to match their candidates to the actual evaluation criteria.

This approach is inefficient, since poorly selected projects (if caught during the bid review process) will need to be swapped out last minute. More important, these “passion projects" won’t score well and risk the team not shortlisting for the RFP.

Setting up a project selection workbook

C2C has created a project selection worksheet designed to dispassionately identify projects that will attain the highest scores for both team members and key individuals. Our tool captures the scoring criteria for reference projects and KI’s and provides matrices that rate candidates against scorable criteria and identifies instances of team member and KI past collaboration.

The tool for a DBFOM RFQ, consists of an excel workbook that (on different tabs) tracks KIs, and potential reference projects (initially three more than required), for each of the specified disciplines (Development/Design/Construction/O&M). Evaluation criteria (both pass/fail and extra merit—if provided) are listed on alternate axes, along with the proposed KIs/projects to allow easy assessment of each.

Note: It is also useful to cross-populate the KI information to all project pages to track past collaboration among individuals in different disciplines on past projects referenced in other focus areas. For example: if KIs from the Design Team worked on a project the Constructor is using, that overlap should be tracked in the cases where the Design Team is not using that project itself. These subtle links serve to show evaluators that proponent team members have worked with each other often enough that they are not all relying on the same small pool of relevant projects repeated in each section of the RFQ response.

Completing the project selection worksheets

Set up the selection workbook as early as possible in the proposal effort and distribute to the project lead for each team member. Ask the leads to complete only the worksheets for their role(s) in the consortium. Ideally, this is done before the working project kickoff so that candidate reference projects can be discussed based on rated criteria at the kickoff, bringing additional tangible value to what can otherwise be a superficial “rah-rah” activity.

The entity representing the Developer then has the responsibility to combine this input and ensure the consortium is putting forward people and projects that will score well and that show the past project experience and collaboration the evaluators are looking for.

Payoff: A higher scoring RFQ response

Complex2Clear uses this format and process with all clients as part of RFQ pre-kickoff preparation. Clients appreciate the structure this tool brings to a process that can feel like playing darts in the dark. High-level benefits include: setting expectations and engaging with all consortium team members early; identifying any issues or additional teaming requirements to present a winning RFQ and; allowing all team members to contribute immediately which has shown to help with long term cohesion.

Need support for an upcoming RFQ?

Contact Complex2Clear

Photo credit

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




Managing compliance

 June 23, 2020
by Paul Heron

This month's posts have explored the need to master the RFP requirements, organizing your proposal using an annotated table of contents (ATOC), and using a competitive solutions matrix (CSM) to manage proposal strategy. Most bidders understand the need to comply with RFP requirements or risk disqualification. A compliant proposal does two things:

  • Answers all the questions. This may seem obvious, but content developers can write long responses without actually answering the question. And they—and sometimes reviewers—can fail to notice they haven’t responded to all parts of multi-part questions.
  • Addresses every instance where the RFP states, “the bidder shall” or “must” or “will” do something. This includes items such as page count, font size, forms, packaging, and the submittal deadline and location.

Compliance tools and tips

To improve compliance management:

  • Use an ATOC to structure your proposal and to track content items. If appropriate, use the ATOC to create a compliance checklist to include in your proposal, to point evaluators to where each item is addressed and to show your bid complies. 
  • Paste the RFP questions into the response template. Use a distinct style (we prefer an italic font smaller than regular body copy and shaded or set in a pale colour). For multi-part questions (e.g. 3.1.a, 3.1.b, 3.1.c), give each subpart its own subhead and space for the response. To save space, you can delete this text as part of finalizing the proposal for submission.
  • Get routine RFP compliance items out of the way early by assigning one individual to actively manage these items. We’ve seen too many teams in panic mode close to submission deadlines because the person who handles, for example, insurance certificates, is on vacation when the team finally gets around to requesting one.

Consider stand-alone compliance matrix

Some large RFPs include detailed evaluation criteria, a statement of work (SOW), standard operations procedures (SOPs) and of a draft contract and specify that responses must satisfy some or all of these, when responding to the questions. In these cases, consider building a separate compliance matrix containing relevant text for all compliance items. This will allow reviewers to quickly check responses for completeness.

Where page constraints are not an issue, some bidders include either a detailed compliance matrix, or a more high-level compliance checklist that describes how the proposal satisfies high level requirements with the response section(s) demonstrating compliance with each. Both are pre-emptive measures intended to signal (with proof) that the proposal is fully compliant.

Beyond compliance

When bidding on standardized goods and services, compliance plus the lowest price can be enough to win. But for complex deliverables, such as a design-build project, or a multi-year contract to provide and support equipment or services, or to manage infrastructure, compliance alone is not enough.

This means tackling two situation-specific requirements:

  • Responsiveness: Showing evaluators that you’re aware of the prospect’s strategic needs and hot button issues, that. you deeply understand the project itself, and that you have the required capability and experience to fulfill the requirements
  • Positioning: Distinguishing your company, team, solution and value for money as superior to those of your competitors.

BOTTOM LINE: Don’t make the mistake of treating an RFP response as a marketing brochure, full of broad claims about features and benefits. Instead, develop each as a logical sales argument tailored to the specific prospect and project.




Are you struggling to win your share of bids?

Contact Complex2Clear



Photo credit

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




Competitive solutions matrix

 June 16, 2020
by Paul Heron

Use a competitive solutions matrix (CSM) as part of proposal strategy making.

The CSM lets you match your solution against each identified prospect need and issue, and then compare your response to competitors’ offerings for each item. The exercise helps pinpoint strengths and weaknesses and inform decisions on how to address them in the proposal.

How to set up a competitive solutions matrix

Open an Excel worksheet and create the column headers below:

  • Issue: Identifies a specific strategic driver or need, concern, desire or preference expressed by the prospect. Each issue will become a row in the matrix.
  • Requirement: Describes specifically what the client requires. What’s the ideal response from the client’s point of view?
  • Available solution: How does your planned solution address the issue?
  • Gap: What is the gap (positive or negative) between the requirement and your solution? Quantify the gap whenever possible.
  • Competitor No. 1 Solution: How does your closest competitor address the issue? If you have two or more close competitors, add a column for each. Include any competitors who typically bid low. Highlight competitors with an advantage in addressing this specific issue. In each case identify the gap in the same way as for the previous column.
  • Differentiators: Identify your advantage/disadvantage relative to highlighted competitors. Include any offsetting factors.
  • Strategy: How will you address disadvantages and leverage advantages? Options range from stressing advantages to redesigning your solution.
  • Action: Who needs to do what and when to act on the strategy?

Facilitating matrix completion

  • Group issues by each main RFP section or, if you develop the matrix during sales discovery, by sections that align with a typical statement of work. Don’t make the mistake of focusing only on the technical solution—RFP issuers usually have important issues around transition (implementation), after sales service, etc.
  • Because issue identification is a brainstorming exercise demanding a different kind of thinking than issue analysis, populate the first column with as many issues as possible, and then work across the row to analyse each issue.  
  • Make a special effort to use quantifiable criteria for requirements, solutions and gaps, so you can measure the success of any actions you decide to take.

Start building your matrix as early as possible

The ideal time to develop this matrix is pre-RFP. During the needs analysis phase, your prospect can freely express all issues and opinions, including about vendor preferences. This is one of the key benefits of focused pre-RFP pursuit and discovery.

The payoff

Armed with this matrix, you can build a strong proposal strategy, including win themes and value propositions. At the proposal kickoff meeting, you’ll be able to help content developers focus on the messages most likely to convince section evaluators.

With this clear direction, they’ll work more efficiently and turn out stronger content.


Need help building strong proposal strategies?

Contact Complex2Clear


Photo credit

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




Managing structure (ATOC)

 June 9, 2020
by Paul Heron

Once you completely understand the RFP, decide how you will structure your proposal. Depending on the RFP, the structure may be self-evident, or you may have to infer it.

If the RFP:

  • Specifies a structure, follow it exactly, using the same numbering system as in the RFP
  • Implies a structure—for example by posing a set of questions—follow that structure, using the question numbers to number your sections
  • Includes a scoring breakdown, use that breakdown to structure your proposal

We’ve seen all of the above, plus examples of no guidance and RFPs containing separate overlapping versions of the required information. If unclear, consider using the process specified in the RFP to ask the issuer for guidance. Many bidders are reluctant to ask questions, but issuers tell us it shows engagement and interest in winning their business.

Where the RFP is vague or contains conflicting content information, make it easy for evaluators by including a compliance table that cross-references RFP paragraph numbers to of the corresponding response locations in the proposal. We’ll discuss compliance matrices later this month.

Building an ATOC

Document your proposal structure using an Excel worksheet formatted into an annotated table of contents (ATOC). Assign columns as follows:


Begin with a series of columns to capture the proposal breakdown as follows:

  • Book no. (if a multi-volume submission)
  • Section no.
  • Subsection no.
  • Title
  • RFP page and paragraph nos.
  • Points allocated by section or subsection (if in the RFP)
  • Pages allocated and format (8.5 x 11 or 11 x 17)

Use as many rows as needed to enable assignment and tracking of all content items. For example, if the RFP requires resumes for key individuals, provide a row for each key individual resume, since each will need to be managed as a separate item.


Next, use as many columns as needed to capture content responsibilities and key deliverables milestones based on the schedule, as in the example below:

  • Section lead (person responsible for writers and SMEs)
  • Writer assigned
  • Subject matter expert (SME)
  • Deliverables milestones, e.g.
  • Content outline provided
  • Initial Draft Received
  • Initial Draft Commented
  • Initial Draft Returned
  • Substantial Draft Received
  • Etc.


  • Set headers for narrow columns vertically to save screen space
  • For large ATOCs, use Excel’s group and outline tools to collapse rows and columns, to avoid distracting users with unnecessary detail

Populating the ATOC

Use your analysis of the RFP to populate rows corresponding to the content columns. Assign additional rows to covers, tabs, forms and appendices to enable tracking of all requirements and responsibilities.

Complete the content management rows with the names of the individuals responsible for sections and subsections. Use a separate worksheet to capture team members’ contact information (be sure to include mobile numbers).

If the deliverables milestones are consistent across all sections (typical for small proposals), enter the scheduled dates in the first row below the corresponding column heads.

Manage as a living document

Complex2Clear teams use this tool for all proposals, including those with thousands of pages and hundreds of team members. We update it in real time and screen share all or part of it as part of our daily internal meetings and weekly client management calls.

The ATOC is as powerful as your commitment to managing it. Build your management process around it to enjoy no-surprises proposal efforts.


Need help getting your proposal process organized?

Contact Complex2Clear



Photo credit

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




Mastering the RFP

 June 2, 2020
by Paul Heron

To develop a competitive proposal, you first need to master the RFP (or RFQ). This seems self-evident—but we repeatedly run into situations where clients still haven’t fully grasped one or more requirements, just weeks before the due date.

One of our team talks about “owning the RFP.” He means getting your head around—and then managing—three kinds of requirements: compliance, structure and strategy.

Most teams responding to very large opportunities have structured their processes to do this. But others—including some pursuing contracts in the tens of millions of dollars— jeopardize their chances by letting important pieces fall through the cracks.

We’ll briefly describe the main elements of mastery in this post, and then look at ways to accomplish it in the coming weeks.

Establishing the proposal structure

RFPs vary widely in how closely they specify the contents of your response. Ideally the bid issuer will provide a specific set of questions and sub-questions, essentially building the table of contents for your response.

Others are less straightforward. In one recent example, the issuer repeated the statement of work twice in slightly different formats, making it frustratingly difficult to decide which to follow. Another RFP contained a set of pass/fail "mandatory criteria" and a separate set of scored "technical criteria." 

Follow this rule: When in doubt, organize your response to align with how the evaluation criteria are structured. 

Ensuring compliance

Every RFP contains compliance items. These are things bidders must address, or risk a poor score, or even getting thrown out of the competition. They consist of two broad categories:

  • Content compliance: This involves answering all the RFP questions. Sounds simple—but in fact teams often get off track, because the RFP is confusing, or because their technical training or company culture leads them to make assumptions not supported by the RFP language. 
  • Administrative compliance: Examples include the submission deadline and the form and packaging of deliverables. Most RFPs also include font size, page formatting requirements, page limits, and various forms and certifications for completion and/or submission.

Ownership includes identifying all compliance items and following up to ensure they are met. 

Managing content development

Once you've mastered the RFP structure and requirements and assigned content to writers, don't make the mistake of managing too loosely. Loose management runs the risk of writers heading off in the wrong direction or—as more often happens—waiting until just before the deadline to begin writing. Either outcome results in incomplete and/or non-compliant content and those all too familiar pre-deadline writing marathons.  

Managing strategy (win themes)

Every successful proposal—even those on short deadlines—needs to start with a win strategy. ("Answer all the questions" is not a strategy.) This rule has two parts:  

  • Developing and documenting a winning strategy for each main section of the response and then;
  • Ensuring every proposal section supports that strategy. Many bidders spend time upfront on strategy—but fail to see it carry through into the proposal.

How strong is your ownership?

Based on our research, most bidders (about three quarters) do a good job of identifying and managing compliance requirements—but less than half consistently master structure and strategy. Where does your team rank?

Next week: Structuring a response using an ATOC



Need hands-on support for an upcoming opportunity?

Contact Complex2Clear


Photo credit

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




Rebid team preparation

 May 22, 2020
by Paul Heron

Vendor complacency as a common client complaint in long-term contracts. If complacency extends to your rebid, you’re at high risk of losing the business.

Few companies set out to be complacent. Instead, it’s the cumulative result of various blind spots, including perceptions of client loyalty and habits of working and communicating.

Instead of simply vowing not to be complacent, we recommend taking specific actions—including starting rebid preparation early and enlisting your business developers in the rebid effort.

You also need to engage the proposal team in shaking off complacency, starting with the following ideas.

Five ways to shake off complacency

  • Make fresh thinking a kickoff theme: Don’t warn the proposal team against complacent thinking. Instead, challenge members to brainstorm three fresh ideas for each key deliverable, based on your customer’s hot button issues and known competitor strengths.
  • Send some ringers on the site visit: Take advantage of the site visit invitation to get input from another business team managing a similar contract. Ask your colleagues to be tough markers. What shortcomings would they pounce on if a competitor held the current contract?
  • Turn speed bumps into lessons learned: Don’t ignore issues that arose during the current contract, hoping your client will have forgotten. Instead, explain the steps you took to address root causes. If the process involved significant investment (of your own money), state the amount. Use non-recurrence of the issue to show your remedy was successful.
  • Find specific cost savings: Identify new ways to reduce costs or add value. Choose examples that involve an investment and business case—otherwise the client will wonder why you didn’t introduce these improvements in the current contract.
  • Ghost your competition: Try to anticipate your strongest competitor’s moves and decide how to offset them. For example, if a hungry competitor offers to waive its transition costs, what other valid arguments can you make for not switching?

Be sure to do Blue Team and Black Hat reviews

Successful teams use Blue Team and Black Hat reviews to test strategy. Both provide good value in rebid situations.

The Blue Team review tests strategy, using internal resources who understand the project and the competition—but who haven’t been closely involved in building the strategy.

The Black Hat team is tasked with attacking the strategy from the perspective of your toughest competitor. In high stakes situations, companies often engage outsiders with deep industry knowledge to perform Black Hat reviews.

The payoff

Tackling some of these ideas may be painful—examining performance lapses, for example.

But, by keeping the image of smart and hungry competitors looking to steal your contract front and centre, you and your team can take steps to avoid complacency—and produce lean and forward-looking rebids.


Do you have an important rebid coming up?

Contact Complex2Clear



Photo credit

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




Rebid discovery tips

 May 19, 2020
by Paul Heron

This month we’re looking at ways to improve rebid success, including laying the groundwork for a successful rebid right from the moment the contract is awarded.

This post contains tactics for taking advantage of incumbency to develop client knowledge that can be used in the rebid.

Things you can do

Tailor discovery to your position as incumbent. Do as many of the following as apply to your business. Use these ideas as triggers for other steps you can take.

  • Calendarize the contract term: Crazy as it sounds, contract renewal can sneak up on an incumbent—especially if business development resources are stretched. Create a set of milestones to serve as reminders to follow up on the ideas below and others.
  • Recruit CSRs to provide client intel: Many companies have structured programs that use their frontline people to glean information from client interactions. If yours doesn’t, start. Interview CSRs regularly with questions designed to uncover, not just feedback, but client events and new issues that may impact your rebid.
  • Gather wider input: Ask business developers to grow their contacts at the client organization, especially targeting likely bid evaluators. And don’t seek affirmation by asking, “Is everything OK?” Instead ask, “What improvements would you like to see in the next contract period?” and “How is your business changing in ways that will affect our relationship?” Open-ended questions such as these will produce actionable intelligence.
  • Confirm your perceptions of client issues: It’s easy to assume you know what’s on the client’s mind. As in the above item, ask open-ended questions.
  • Review costs and pricing: Price is always important in bid situations. Are there things you’re doing that they don’t need/want? Are you providing services beyond what the contract requires? Can you re-engineer existing services in ways that will drive down future costs?
  • Offer strategic input: Arm your business developers with news of value, such as industry trends or enhanced offerings that customer contacts will value, and that will position your company as a strategic partner, rather than simply a vendor.

The goal and payoff

Acting on all of these ideas may be challenging or impossible in your situation. Pick those with the most attractive effort/reward ratio as a start. The goal is to start the rebid with a file of valuable strategy ideas, rather than scrambling just before or after the issue date.

Bid windows are never long enough. Building a client-focused strategy ahead is an excellent way to maximize the use of that precious time.

Do you have an important rebid coming up?

Contact Complex2Clear


Photo credit

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




Start rebid prep now

 May 6, 2020
by Paul Heron

Congratulations—you’ve won the contract!

Everyone is busy. The transition and operation teams are focused on start-up and finding ways to optimize profit. And the business developers are working on winning the next piece of business.

Contract renewal is years away and pretty much off the radar. But now is the best time to begin preparing for a successful rebid.

Plan for rebid success

Doing some or all of the following to improve your chances at rebid:

  • Involve sales in implementation: If you’re not the incumbent, invite the business developer to transition team meetings to provide customer perspective and continuity—and to help deliver the smooth, trouble-free transition you promised.
  • Nominate and empower an internal client champion: Designate a member of the operations team to proactively follow up on outstanding problems and expedite/escalate internally before they damage the relationship.
  • Follow up on hot button issues: Did your proposal identify and offer to address specific hot button issues? If so, will your operations plan fulfill these promises? Check every three months for evidence and confirm progress with your customer.
  • Log efforts to resolve issues: Multi-year contracts inevitably include performance lapses. Set up a real-time process to track timelines and investments made to correct these problems. This will enable your rebid team to demonstrate speedy and successful issues resolution without consuming precious time reconstructing the facts.
  • Gather evidence of improvement initiatives: This is similar to the item above. Document improvements you make, both internally and client-facing, so you can include success stories in the rebid.

Overcoming obstacles

Depending on your organization’s incentives and culture, acting on some or all of the above ideas will prove more or less challenging.

Like many smaller, private companies, C2C focuses on protecting client relationships, even at the expense of maximizing profit on each project. If your fulfillment teams are incented to wring every cent out of every contract—and/or if job rotation means others will deal with the rebid—your path will be more difficult.

Ask yourself these two questions

When convincing others (or yourself) to strike an appropriate balance between contract profitability and client retention, ask:

  1. Will taking even some the simple steps above improve our chances at rebid?
  2. If yes, how do the additional effort and any costs involved compare with those required to replace this contract?

Next week: Business development’s role in rebid situations


Need help with an important rebid?

Contact Complex2Clear



Photo credit

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




Avoiding a lazy rebid

 May 5, 2020
by Paul Heron

We see incumbents lose rebids fairly often. In fact, according to one recent report, 40 percent of incumbents lose U.S. federal contracts at rebid.

There may be good reason for these losses. Some incumbents perform poorly or fail to manage the relationship well. In others a more efficient (or foolhardy) proponent underbids the incumbent. But in many cases, the incumbent could have won—and wanted to—but simply mishandled the bid process.

Unsuccessful proposals often stem from lazy thinking, leading to beliefs such as:

1. Nothing much has changed

A “more of the same” proposal assumes:

  • The client’s strategic drivers haven’t changed during the current contract
  • The same individuals are calling the shots
  • Technology hasn’t changed over the life of the contract
  • There’s no downward pressure on budgets
  • Your competitors will use the same approaches and pricing as last time

Really? If this describes your world, you’d be unique among the bidders we see.

2. The client loves us

You may have a warm relationship with your client—but don’t base that belief on one or two contacts. Given the natural desire to avoid conflict, the warmth may not run as deep as you think. And there may be others in the organization with more power who judge you less kindly.

Perhaps your client really does love you. However, if you’re bidding into a government agency or other entity with strict evaluation criteria, love will only take you so far.

In most cases, you’ll still need to win the technical portion and be close on pricing.

3. The client doesn’t want a transition

Transition risk and cost are significant issues in many situations.

But, against hungry competitors willing to waive transition costs and/or slash margins to win business, incumbents cannot rely on change aversion to win. This is especially true in competitions monitored by fairness commissioners.

Avoiding complacent thinking

Complacency is like weight-gain. It creeps up on most of us unnoticed.

It’s also hard to combat. Rather than vowing not to be complacent, decide on concrete actions your team will take to ensure a fresh look at rebid. Over the coming weeks, we’ll consider specific steps you can take.

Next week: Set up for a successful rebid as soon as you win the contract



Need help developing winning bid strategies?

Contact Complex2Clear


Photo credit

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




Proposal kickoff agenda

 April 28, 2020
by Paul Heron

In the last three posts we covered proposal kick-off goals, preparation and participants. Now let’s look at a recommended structure and tips for running the meeting.

The agenda below will fit most proposals. For very large proposals, volume managers and senior editors may attend kick-offs, and then kick off individual volumes with their teams of writers, editors, graphics specialists and designers.

5 Proposal Manager Welcomes and introduces participants, reviews agenda
5 Senior Manager* Explains the importance of the project and the organization’s commitment, thanks the team members for their participation
10 Sales Manager* Provides background on the prospect and project, including any competitive intelligence indicating the bid is winnable
10 Product Manager* Describes the proposed solution, its main features and successful deployments elsewhere
15 Proposal Manager Outlines the proposal structure, prospects strategic drivers and key issues, and win themes; distributes writers’ packages, key dates
30 Proposal Manager Reviews in detail the proposal plan, ATOC, work organization and allocation, writer’s packages (SCPs) and executive summary
10 Project Manager** Reviews the schedule, online storage set-up, versioning protocols and daily management procedure
20 Proposal Manager Invites questions from writers/editors, subject matter experts, graphics specialists and designers
*These individuals and any non-presenting managers may leave at the break
** If there isn't a separate project manager, the proposal manager presents this session

Aim for in-person attendance

Get as many people to attend in person as possible. Kick-offs have less energy and impact when most attendees dial in. Also, we find some individuals feel less obliged to meet commitments made on a conference call.

Set the right pace and tone

Plan a professional meeting that moves briskly through the agenda items. Aim to balance achieving motivation, information and clear direction. Schedule the meeting to run no more than two hours.

Here's where the effort you put into strategy making will pay off. Content developers—your main audience—are sceptics by nature. Part of their value lies in knowing that facts beat fluff. They’ll be looking for the meat in the meeting. Your prework and a strong agenda above will ensure you deliver.


Need help kicking off an upcoming proposal?

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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