Proposal Season is Coming—Are you Prepared?

This year’s end of fiscal year spending is projected at the highest levels in recent history due to the furlough and turbulent political landscape. This means that you and your team need to maximize your probability of winning and avoid last minute, resource-driven no-go’s without burning out your internal team.

To help you achieve this, we put together some of our top tips to adhere to as you ramp up and dive into proposal season.

Tip 1: Don’t rely on the government’s timeline

Just because the government is pushing out timelines doesn’t mean you should. Set your goals and check-in dates well in advance and stick to them. If things get bogged down on the government’s end you can use that extra time to focus on other pursuits or perfecting the project. In the event of an extension on a live RFP, continue to work on your original schedule, you never know when another one will drop.

Tip 2: Start preparing your archives and collateral now

Collect your past performances and potential collateral for everything in your pipeline early. Approaching a heavy proposal season unprepared will cause confusion on your team and will inevitably hinder your efforts to seamlessly prepare a winning proposal. Having everything readily available will save you from sending the dreaded “Do you have this document?” and “Where is that one file?” emails.

Tip 3: Leverage your team

Don’t be afraid to hand the reigns over to a trusted team member or to ask your subs for help. Use the resources you have so you don’t fall behind. Also, consider expanding your resources to include outsourcing for any step of the process, whether it be small tasks or more intesive support.

Tip 4: Remember the “separate spheres of bidding”

If possible, let one person manage the project, one person write the proposal (or dedicated sections of it) and have a third person review the process and work. Avoiding crossover and getting a second pair of eyes helps avoid tunnel vision and bias and will help you catch mistakes that could cost you a proposal. Outsourcing during color reviews is a great way to achieve this, even if you don’t have a concrete process in place, a simple Pink Team, Red Team, White Glove is imperative.

Tip 5: Prepare for crunch time

You probably already know that burning the midnight oil during this season is an inherent part of the job. However, you can still be smart about how you power through crunch time. Enforce mandatory breaks and provide food, snacks and coffee to keep a positive environment and increase the quality of your proposals. Burnout and unrealistic are one of the main reasons that the best proposal assets leave a company. While there is necessary lean in time, if you don’t provide a reprieve from or show appreciation for those extra hours, you’ll likely lose some of your best assets.

So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to get started on your efforts and get ready to have a winning year!


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