Proposal development for Federal and local Governments is a process that involves different practices and procedures. Essentially, a government proposal is a document that offers a solution as a response to a need in a Federal request for proposal. The process includes three main transitional phases: Capture Management, Business Development, and Proposal Management.
The beginning of proposal writing is not the act of “writing” itself; on the contrary, it starts way before that. Market intelligence, data collection and lead qualification research for the agency that you’re planning to pursue are the first steps in this long and complicated course of action you must follow. Capture Management is about creating a relationship between the contractor and the buying organization. It’s about identifying your options, finding crucial points you must focus during the process, and tracking the progress of your strategy. This phase should be measured using the Pre-RFP and Post-RFP technique.
Pre-RFP is the phase where the company that wants to pursue an upcoming federal business opportunity, should start preparing a preliminary proposal by gathering certain information for the entire course of the proposal development. You can start by creating a list of questions of the main issues that need to be answered related to the project in order to be able to prepare a winning proposal. This way you’ll be able to track your readiness to pursue the targeted federal contract.
Post-RFP is the phase when you already need to have the answers to those questions. It’s time for developing a strategic plan on how you’re going to handle expected challenges. If sufficient effort is given in every section of the draft, your business development team will be able to determine if you’re company can meet the RFP requirements and expectations.
After this comes the process of Business Development.
The role of your Business Development (BD) team is to identify the best techniques to win the contract. They develop strategies, focus on finding the right resources, determine what to offer to the buying agency, and eventually, make decisions. To raise win probabilities, BD specialists concentrate on core activities to establish the basis for an efficient and reliable process such as:
- Assess the business opportunity and determine if it should be pursued;
- Develop a sustainable plan with realistic goals that can be achieved within the timeframe.
- Find the right resources;
- Understand the customer’s scope of work to meet their business objectives;
- Collaborate with the client’s subject matter experts to shape the pursuing strategy;
- Make a thorough competitive assessment to be able to develop the winning strategy and price to win;
- Identify weaknesses/strengths against competitors, and focus on improving them and highlighting positive discriminators;
- Make a risk assessment and establish a price to win based on expected competitive pricing.
This is the final phase when everything is ready to be put on paper and submit for evaluation. All the work done previously should now take the perfect shape in order to communicate effectively your message, the way you approach the problem and the techniques you offer to provide the right solution. That’s why all the teams should have a close collaboration to be able to create a compliant, concise and persuasive proposal. Proposal writers should implement the best writing techniques, use a simple and coherent writing style, follow the instructed format, use win themes and appealing design, as well as devote a lot of effort in reviewing, editing and proofreading the document prior to submitting.
The key to a successful project and a winning proposal is to have an integrated effort between the three teams.