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!
The five C’s required to write a winning proposal are: customer knowledge, creativity, compliance, clarity and conciseness. All five C’s are needed to maximize proposal evaluation scores.
Newcomers to the federal market underestimate the importance of the five C’s and typically think that slapping together a quick proposal is enough. Proposal evaluators love quick and dirty proposals because they can reject them within minutes and cut down on the work of proposal evaluation; they can get on with evaluating the others in the huge pile of responses. Evaluators hope that many proposals in the pile will lack the five C’s.
Customer Knowledge: The federal buyer must know you and what you can do to solve their problem. You probably should not waste valuable resources writing a proposal without customer knowledge beyond the Request for Proposal (RFP). Advanced sales and customer contact provides (1) the federal buyer with the comfort of reduced risk in selecting you for an award, and (2) you learn what the buyer really wants in order to create a tailored and creative solution to the buyer’s problem (the most critical part of the proposal).
This is what the insiders do (companies with direct federal contracts). They live with the customer and can’t help but understand their needs.
Compliance: Complete compliance with every requirement of the RFP is a necessity because any compliance flaw in your proposal can cause an immediate proposal rejection. Any missed compliance requirement, however small, can relegate you to the reject pile.
Creativity: Once you know the customer, you must creatively present your solution to their problem. A creative technical approach seals the deal. A winning technical approach emanates from (1) customer knowledge and (2) a highly structured proposal writing system. A structured system can take various forms, but the essential element is that the system should produce a detailed proposal outline containing legacy content and instructions before any writing begins.
Most technical writers (the people on the firing line) need structure and guidance to write a clear and concise technical content. Without a system, chaos usually results, particularly if there are several technical writers involved.
Clarity and Conciseness: Your English teachers probably taught you that clear and concise writing begins with a tight outline (organization structure). Government proposal evaluators do not like evaluating lengthy tomes and demand clarity and conciseness. Your proposal evaluation scores will suffer without it. A structured proposal writing system enhances clarity and conciseness.
Avoid letting your CEO throw in self-serving sales pitches without backup and clear evidence relevant to the requirements. An example of this: “ABC Co is a World Class or Best of Breed Company.” Proposal evaluators laugh at such statements; they are the polar opposite of clarity and conciseness.
Interested parties in the Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement – SEWP V Procurement are hereby notified that NASA/GSFC received a significant number of questions to the subject solicitation. Amendment #5 to the solicitation has been released to extend the proposal submission date to November 1, 2013.
All Questions and Answers will be posted for Industry’s review and updates to the final Request for Proposal shall be incorporated in the next release. The next amendment is anticipated to be released on or about October 22, 2013.
This announcement was published on October 17th, 2 minutes after the announcement that the date has been extended to November 1, 2013. Note the statement about the number of questions received and the timing of the posting would indicate that the questions were received within 2 minutes of the extension announcement. To us this would indicate that another extension could be forthcoming on October 22.
Small businesses have by far the best chances of an award by responding to Category B/Group B & Category B/Group C. You have the least technical requirements in these two groups (complimentary IT products) and it is set aside for small businesses. You would be competing with only your peers.
Fedmarket is offering SWEP proposal writing services.
Call sales at 888 661 4094, Ext. 2.
Fedmarket uses a structured RFP-driven proposal process that ensures proposal compliance. We win a majority of the proposals we write and almost all of the multiple award (IDIQ) bids. Yet some of the single award proposals we write proposals lose. Why, because the customer:
- Was stretching its capabilities and experience and corporate egos hate to admit it.
- Did not write the critical technical content required to win (a proposal service company usually cannot write complex technical solution content. This has to come from the customers technical staff or proposal library.
- Won technically but lost on price.
- Did not understand what the customer asked for in the RFP, e.g., they wanted experience in building barracks and the fact that you built huge shopping centers did not score points.
And sometimes the customer just wanted to work with the company they know and love.