Recycling proposals, creating templates, boilerplate, and re-use libraries

When people have multiple things competing for their time, they often turn to templates and re-use libraries as a way to lighten the proposal workload. The problem is that they lighten the workload by reducing your win rate. And if you’re making smart bid decisions, the lost revenue will always be greater than the investment in doing proposals that are customized around your bid strategies. People try to convince themselves that if they design their templates just right, they can beat the odds. But they can’t because they haven’t thought through what it takes to win and how that impacts the proposal.

This issue does not impact all businesses the same. Templates are more dangerous for some offerings and markets than others. You can use this model to determine whether templates will do more to help or hurt your business.

Luckily, there are alternatives to using templates or creating re-use libraries. They provide the critical inspiration and acceleration that people crave, they just do it in ways that can improve your win rate instead of destroying it:

The bottom line is that unless you are bidding to the same RFP instructions and evaluation criteria with the same customer concerns, if you care about winning you should never recycle proposal narratives. Instead of building a labor-intensive proposal re-use library or trying to somehow create a template that defies the odds, you can still deliver the inspiration and acceleration people crave and help them win instead of lowering their odds.



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Carl is the Founder and President of CapturePlanning.com and PropLIBRARY.

The materials he has published have helped millions of people develop business and write better proposals. Carl is an expert at winning in writing. He is a prolific author, frequent speaker, trainer, and consultant.

In addition, the groups Carl moderates on LinkedIn provide a place for tens of thousands of business development and proposal professionals to discuss best practices and network.
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