OK. Let’s Write! Your boss has tried hard to establish relationships without much luck. And he finally says let’s go for this one because we will perish if we don’t get a contract soon. Ideally, he saw something that could cause your company to stand out from the pack of proposals received by the government.
Writing a Complaint Proposal
A compliant proposal is one that meets every requirement in the RFP and provides evaluators with precisely what they asked for in the RFP. No frills, no extras, no sales puffery.
Your proposal must be compliant to win, but even compliant proposals often lose because they are not good proposals.
Writing a Good Proposal
A good proposal is a compliant proposal that provides all of the information requested in the RFP; namely:
- A solid technical approach and management plan
- Pertinent experience summaries
- Responsive resumes
- A good price
Good proposals sometimes win but not always.
Writing a Winning Proposal
Winning proposals can come out on top based on superior content.
- The technical approach differentiates itself from the pack by innovation, creativity, great writing, etc.
- A management approach that show how you will minimize the government’s risk.
- Highly tailored and responsive resumes.
- Highly tailored and pertinent experience summaries.
- A competitive price.
A proposal may have one or more or all of the above content but still lose for any number of unpredictable reasons.
- Someone doesn’t like you.
- They wanted someone else.
- They wanted the incumbent back to minimize risk even though their performance was a B.
- The winner low balled the price and the government was so cheap that they let them get away with it.
- Your benefactor switched jobs.
- Or ………….
The government has all the cards and they win the game for many reasons.
The process of arranging meetings with federal procurement officials (end users) is not an easy one. End users are busy and vendors from countries all around the world are trying to sell the end users their wares. On the other hand, end users are expected to be open to meeting with all vendors and are not supposed to show favoritism. Getting through the door of an end user’s office requires people and sales skills.
The most important thing to remember is that end users are people trying to do their job. They are naturally more eager to meet with those who appear to understand their problems and offer solutions. They will figure out a way to avoid meeting with vendors who appear to be on a fishing expedition.
An obvious question is, “How can I know an end user’s problems without meeting with them first?” Identifying problems is not easy but it can be done. Use the Internet and phone calls to conduct research on the targeted agency’s programs, the structure of the organization, and each individual’s job responsibilities. Talk to other vendors, use your networking contacts, and deduce what their problems may be.
Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts are becoming the preferred way that federal buyers make purchases. In order to compete in either the federal product or service sectors, your firm must have an IDIQ. As the use of IDIQs becomes increasingly more predominant, those which do not will be squeezed out of the market.
Looking at the issue from a practical perspective, one could say that those who have IDIQs have a hunting license. More specifically, such companies have a license to seek and bag a particular species in a specific jurisdiction. In the case of the federal market, only the holders of a specific IDIQ are permitted to bid on designated projects. Don’t be caught out in the wild without the proper license!