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  2. Victory for a proposal means that the customer accepts your proposal instead of their other alternatives. Depending on the customer, there are different paths that can get you there. And sometimes getting there means taking more than one path. The paths to victory include: See also: Winning Getting the top score. This is not nearly as straightforward as it sounds. First you have to assess the categories that get scored, and then what you have to do to maximize your score in each category. If the language is simple, bland, and generic, it won’t help you understand w
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  4. There’s a line that you should not cross. It’s hard to tell exactly where that line is. But once you cross it, your proposal manager is no longer focusing on increasing your win rate and instead is simply getting proposals out the door. At the simplest level, a proposal manager is responsible for implementing the process. And being the heroes they are, they tend to fill gaps. But each gap they fill means giving up something else. And when they cross the line from overseeing the process into being part of production, they put the proposal at risk because while their attention is on writing
  5. It is possible to start at RFP release and win. It may be challenging, maybe even extra challenging. It’s not something you should attempt if you’re going to be ordinary in your approach. It’s not something that should be your routine. But it is one of those things that if you are going to do it, you better seek to do it better than the folks who had time to prepare. But how? See also: Dealing with adversity Avoid being disqualified. Do you have the minimum registrations, certifications, and qualifications for their purchasing department to be willing to contract with
  6. It’s a mistake to have the same person providing proposal management and proposal writing. Not only will it increase your failure rate, but it will also decrease your company’s ability to write great proposals. No matter how many times people say this, you still see companies thinking they can get away with having the proposal manager write small proposal sections. Here are the risks: See also: Proposal Management Stand-up and progress meetings. If I’m the proposal manager and I take on a writing assignment, then instead of monitoring progress, surfacing iss
  7. 1) Is what you’re offering really the best? See also: Content Planning Box Having the best people is not good enough. You need the best people with the best processes. But even having the best people and best processes isn’t even good enough. You need the best people and the best processes supported by the best: Quality assurance Tools Executive oversight Issue resolution Resource allocation Communication Oh, and you need them to have the best impact on the stakeholders and deliver the best results. If you merely propose the most
  8. Better proposals require becoming a better company. The question “How can your company do proposals better?” starts by asking “How can your company do the things you write about better?" and that in turn becomes "How can you be a better company?" Want a better management plan? Start by determining what better management would look like. Ask yourself what you have to do to deliver that. Then become that kind of company. Want a better technical approach? Start by determining what a better offer might be and what you have to turn yourself into to in order to deliver it. Want better
  9. I’ve seen way too many proposals produced by experienced people that were thoroughly ordinary. In my worldview this means they sucked so bad it was embarrassing, because ordinary isn’t competitive. When your job is cranking out proposals at high volume under adverse circumstances, people tend to give up polishing them. If people do this long enough, they sometimes stop trying. But they continue to reliably crank out acceptably adequate ordinary proposals that they try really hard to make good. But the reality is they are full of bad habits that pass all the reviews and are easy to beat. Having
  10. Here is a list of all the tools in MustWin Now and the features you can use in them. They can be combined in many different, creative ways to help you with your proposals. If you want to explore you can use this list to make sure you know how it all works. If you find something isn't self explanatory or confusing, just let us know and we'll walk you through it. The scripts below are organized to go tool by tool, with the collaboration features last. In reality, the collaboration and proposal management features can be used at any time. For learning, it's good to have data to collaborate w
  11. If you ever find yourself competing against me, please use these themes! I want you to use these themes because they are easy to beat. They basically promise the minimum. They demonstrate insecurity, lack of insight, and zero initiative. They sound like the claims people expect to hear made in bad commercials. They get ignored. They will never increase your evaluation score. They usually find their way into proposals when the writers haven’t received any better input and have to make something up on their own. So if you and I are ever working on competing proposals, I would love it if you
  12. Submitting low quality proposals and making it up in volume is a bad strategy. A better strategy is to target doing the least costly things that return the most revenue. When it comes to proposals, the things that generate the most revenue may not be what you think they are. A key lesson for companies that depend on proposals See also: Successful process implementation Preparing a proposal can be costly. But preparing a winning proposal returns a large amount of revenue. The problem is that not every proposal wins. When you increase your win rate, you gain revenue w
  13. A simple guide to what to write about in your proposals. Good things to write about in your proposals See also: Proposal writing These are the things the customer is looking for, the things they want to see. Instead of talking around them, make a point related to them at the start of each paragraph. Explanations and reasons “why.” The reasons why you do things show more insight and depth of understanding than a claim about what you do or how great you are. Proofs. Proof points can be evaluated as strengths. Things that are unproven are often just noise
  14. When the customer asks you to describe your experience, what should you write about it? Should you describe the work you did? Should you describe the results you achieved? Should you talk about something else? It turns out that when the customer asks for your experience, they could be could be asking for many different things. Past performance See also: Themes Past performance is something different from corporate experience. Past performance is a reference check to discover whether the customer was happy with your performance, with some additi
  15. How should you position your experience to get the best score? You may need to position things differently in different sections of the proposal where experience is relevant. Make sure you thoroughly tailor any experience write-ups you might be reusing to match the way you will be positioning it. You can’t be all things to all people. What matters about your corporate experience to the new customer? Don’t try to position against all of these that sound beneficial. Carefully select the ones that will have the most impact on the proposal evaluation and tailor your write-ups around them.
  16. What goes through the customer’s head while they’re evaluating your proposal? In addition to all of the distractions like what time they have to pick the kids up from school today or what they’d like to do after work, the customer has a lot to consider when deciding whether to accept your proposal. Even if the evaluation is conducted formally by a robot, with forms and detailed procedures, they will still consider the big picture. But what’s in that picture? The customer will consider your approaches, qualifications, and pricing. But they will also consider: See also: Inform
  17. monthly_2021_06/224827274_ProposalProofPointCheatSheet_pdf.1bd2323f3ac2542b5baa3d2a8e82a5a6
  18. Claims are lame. After having sat through countless debriefs, especially the ones where the customer evaluated based on strengths and weaknesses, I’ve realized some things that explain a lot about proposals: I have never seen a customer agree that any of the thousands of claims made in those proposals were a strength. The strengths cited by customers are almost always simple facts, like something you have or have done. The weaknesses they cited were usually things that weren’t said that the customer thought was important. It’s as if they didn’t even read your claims. It
  19. With a certain well known government multiple award RFP of huge value out, and new ones like it becoming routine, this is a good time to reflect on the customer and how the number of proposals being received impacts how they make their selection decisions. What if they only get one proposal? If the customer only expects to get one proposal, or if that’s just the way it turns out, they approach the proposal with a few considerations: See also: Bid Strategies and Proposal Themes Does it meet their requirements? They have no other proposals to compare it to. So the
  20. All proposals are competitive. Even if the RFP is completely wired to give the advantage to one preferred company and no one else bids, that company is competing against themselves. They can still blow it. And a naïve upstart can always come in and steal it away because they don’t know they can’t win. It may be rare, but it does happen. And customers are sometimes ready for something new. Which will the customer select? See also: Winning You should go into every proposal assuming it’s competitive and pushing to be better than you were yesterday. If everyone proposes
  21. Proposal content planning is where you really start to see a payoff from using MustWin Now. Because you used it to import the RFP and create your proposal outline, it can now greatly accelerate figuring out what to write about to address the requirements and how to best present it. The first thing it does is create the content plan shell for you. In the column on the left, you'll see all the proposal sections. Click one. If you used the Cross-Reference Tool to map the RFP requirements to the outline, you'll see all of the RFP requirements that are relevant to this section as colored
  22. Before something can go into your proposal, you have to decide where in your outline it should go. MustWin Now provides several ways to connect RFP requirement to the proposal outline. You can even drag and drop RFP requirements onto the landing zone for each proposal section. Once the association is made, MustWin Now remembers all the RFP requirements that are relevant to each section. See also: Help using MustWin Now If you want, you can use this to generate a very traditional looking compliance matrix and download it in Excel. Only you probably won't need to, because
  23. Before you can start working on the content plan for your proposal, you need an outline. If you are responding to an RFP, your outline should be based on the instructions in the RFP. If this applies to you, you should import the RFP first, before you create your proposal outline. However, the outline editor in MustWin Now does not force you to do this, and it can even be used to create a proposal outline when there is no RFP. Here is what the outline editor in MustWin Now looks like. From here you can see the RFP requirements if you have imported them. And you can see the headings in your
  24. The win strategy development tool is intended to be used after you have completed using the Pre-Proposal Capture Q&A forms and Proposal Input Forms before you start building your compliance matrix. It will let you do things out of sequence, including jumping straight into win strategy development without doing any preparation or working on your win strategies after you've started content planning. In the world of proposals we don't always get to do things the ideal way and we don't want our tools to break when reality throws us a curve ball. What does it do? MustWin Now encourage
  25. The Proposal Input Forms tool is similar in function to the Pre-Proposal Capture Q&A tool. The key difference is that the Pre-Proposal Capture Q&A tool is intended for gathering information and guiding the pursuit long before the RFP is released. Proposal Input Forms are intended to gather and assess what you know immediately at RFP release so that it can impact document construction. The functionality of the tool is similar, but the type and purpose of the information is different. See also: Help using MustWin Now To begin working, select one of the forms
  26. Don’t start your proposal by thinking up everything that’s good about yourself that you should tell the customer. This can actually lead to bad proposal writing. Instead, start your proposal by think about what the customer needs to hear. But before you can do that, you have to know the customer. And before that, which person at the customer will be reading? Will it be the one receiving the services? The one who understands what is being procured? The one who runs the procurement process but isn’t involved with the services themselves? Will it be an executive? Or some other stak
  27. Customers do wacky things when they format their RFPs. They are difficult for people to interpret. If we tried to automatically parse them, you'd spend as much time verifying the software did it correctly as it would have taken to do it yourself. So we use a hybrid approach. You mark the headings and MustWin does the rest. It's the fastest and easiest way we've ever seen to do this. And yet it's still the most complicated tool on the platform. See also: Help using MustWin Now Before we walk through importing the RFP, let's take a look at first page you see when you go to
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