An effective proposal system must have procedures for the following three major steps.
Step 1 – Filtering (deconstructing, reverse engineering) an RFP. Filtering has to be performed by an experienced proposal writer because proposal requirements can be buried almost anywhere in a hundred page plus RFP. Miss a requirement and its all over but the shouting and gnashing of the teeth.
Step 2 – Use the results of filtering to produce a compliance matrix and an outline based on the compliance matrix. The filter will extract precisely what the evaluators want to read in the proposal and what volumes or chapters required, sections/subsections in a required volume, and the evaluation scores associated with each section/subsection. Using the compliance matrix to produce a proposal outline results in proposal that provides exactly what the evaluators want to read; nothing more, nothing less. When the evaluator starts to read a compliance matrix driven proposal they say: “these people know what they are doing. Maybe I better read on.”
Step 3 – Add to the outline:
- Instructions for writers
- Color coded RFP requirements and evaluation criteria to guide the writers
- Any technical and/or management content from a proposal library of old proposals.
Most small businesses don’t have a proposal library. Start now and build on containing legacy content, up-to-date resumes, and up-to-date experience summaries. An up-to-date library can cut proposal writing costs in half.
The result of using a proposal system is a 100% compliant proposal containing what the evaluators asked for in the RFP.