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Winning contracts by integrating business development, capture management, and proposal management

3 things required for winning, 6 things to accomplish, and 8 ways to apply them for everyone's benefit

Let’s start with the end result we’d like to achieve. A winning proposal. Now let's work backwards. In order to win the proposal we need the top score. In order to get the top score we need to build the proposal around what it will take to win:

See also:
Organizational Development
  • A proposal that reflects what matters to the customer in a form that follows the RFP’s instructions, is compliant with all requirements, and is optimized against the evaluation criteria, with no weaknesses
  • A differentiated offering that the customer perceives to be stronger than the alternatives
  • An offering that is delivered at the price required to win

In order to prepare a proposal that reflects what it will take to win, you should start the proposal with:

How many of these things can you discover after RFP release, while working on the proposal, without any substantive customer interaction? Give or take, it’s probably none.  Maybe you’ll guess well. But guessing is not much of a win strategy.

Winning without insight generally means winning with a low price and margins that continue to fall over time. Winning with a low price instead of insight into the performance requirements beyond what’s in the RFP is a recipe for destroying your past performance record. This effectively ruins the future of your company. I’ve seen what happens when a company kills its past performance record. It’s not pretty. They never recovered.

Better lead qualification produces better proposals that close more sales

In order to get this level of insight, you need to qualify your leads.

In order to qualify your leads, you need:

How do you assess whether you have the required insight? Most companies tell themselves how insightful they are without really assessing their insight.

You assess your insight by asking the right questions. If you never write down those questions, you’ll end up just making them up as you go along. If you do this, you probably won’t end up with answers to the questions your proposal writers need to write a proposal based on what it will take to win.

You should think through those questions ahead of time. You should involve your proposal staff so that the questions anticipate what they’ll need to know to put the response to the requirements into a winning context.

Better lead qualification also leads to better process and performance

Then you should do two things with those questions:

  • Use them to train your business development and capture management staff. You can't get the answers if they don’t know what questions to ask.
  • Use those questions to assess whether you are developing an information advantage and will be ready to write the winning proposal at RFP release.

When you do this, you are integrating business development, capture management, and proposal management. When you do this, each of them reinforces and improves the other. This will improve your win rate significantly over treating them as stovepipes.

So questions flow back to business developers and capture managers while the information they gather flows forward. Along the way, progress can be measured and bid/no bid decisions can be reached. Simply documenting the questions that drive this forms the basis for:

Writing the questions down gives you the foundation of a successful process, both for the pre-RFP pursuit and for the proposal.

Okay, I get it. Writing the questions down sounds too much like work. If you don’t want to figure out what the questions should be and how to articulate them for maximum effect, then just become a PropLIBRARY Subscriber and use ours. We’ve created hundreds of them. And built them into MustWin Now to make answering them and using them to drive your messaging into the proposal even easier.


Win rate improvement program. In addition to providing process documentation and tools to accomplish every one of these goals, we also have a win rate improvement program for transforming companies so they can achieve their full potential. It leverages our content in a training format that produces tangible changes that will benefit your company for years to come. With this program we can work directly with your staff to integrate these functions together and raise the bar on your ability to win contracts.
Want to know what the founder of PropLIBRARY would recommend? Just ask me.... I’m passing some of my time in isolation talking to people free of charge and assessing how to improve their pursuit and capture processes in the new world we find ourselves in. We can talk about reengineering how you go about winning business and come out of this better than you ever were before. Use the widget below to grab any open spot on my calendar before they’re filled and I’ll do a free assessment with you.

Or use the widget below to get on my calendar for a telephone conversation so we can discuss whether we're a match.



Let's discuss your challenges with preparing proposals and winning new business...

Access to premium content items is limited to PropLIBRARY Subscribers

A subscription to PropLIBRARY unlocks hundreds of premium content items including recipes, forms, checklists, and more to make it easy to turn our recommendations into winning proposals. Subscribers can also use MustWin Now, our online proposal content planning tool.

Carl Dickson

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

Carl is an expert at winning in writing, with more than 30 year's experience. He's written multiple books and published over a thousand articles that have helped millions of people develop business and write better proposals. Carl is also a frequent speaker, trainer, and consultant and can be reached at carl.dickson@captureplanning.com. To find out more about him, you can also connect with Carl on LinkedIn.

Click here to learn how to engage Carl as a consultant.

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