How to use these two win themes in your proposals

Sometimes one matters more to the customer than the other...

How much experience do you have? How relevant is it? How about staffing? Do your staff have the right qualifications and skills? Do you have enough staff? Behind these questions are two win strategies you should know by name: depth and breadth. They are not mutually exclusive, but sometimes one is more relevant to a customer than the other.

Depth communicates sufficiency of quantity

See also:
Themes

If the customer is looking for one type of experience and I have 10 project examples, I may have the depth of experience they are looking for. If I have more staff than the minimum needed, I have sufficient depth to be able to replace staff due to turnover. Depth can be applied to things other than just experience and staffing. It can also apply to resources, technology, parts, and more. 

Depth can prevent disruption, provide back-ups, increase speed, mitigate risks, improve capacity, and enable you to meet surge requirements. Depth implies resilience.

Breadth communicates coverage

If the customer is looking for a range of experience and I have a project example for each, I may have the breadth of experience they are looking for. If I can cover all of the positions with the qualifications or skills required, I have sufficient breadth to cover the requirements. Breadth can apply to more than just experience and staffing. It can also apply to locations, technology, resources, skills, procedures, and more. 

Breadth can meet all the requirements, reach all the locations, cover the hours of operation, and ensure readiness in every area. Breadth implies coverage and range.

Presenting depth and breadth

A table or matrix is commonly used to show depth and breadth. For example, a staffing matrix might have columns for the qualifications required, and rows for the labor categories. If you are showing breadth, you want to cover every single cell to show that you have staff with every qualification in every labor category. If you are showing depth, you might show the number of staff in each cell, or better yet, the number you have above what is required. Or even both. With a combination of colors/shading and numbers you can show both depth and breadth at the same time.

Other examples where depth and breadth can be presented in a table or matrix:

  • Experience in each statement of work area
  • Staff in each statement of work area
  • Staff with degrees, years of experience, certifications, etc.
  • Locations with numbers of staff
  • Years in each location
  • Required parts coverage
  • Ability to cover the level of effort (hours)
  • Ability to cover the positions (people)
  • Coverage of the range of technology needed
  • Coverage of the skills required for the project
  • Current hires, contingency hires, and recruiting required to fill positions
  • Staff available by the prime contractor, subcontractors, and other sources
  • Size, scope, and complexity of experience
  • Equipment required

Depth is usually quantified. But breadth doesn’t have to be. When you have both depth and breadth, then you can communicate that you cover all of the requirements with sufficient back-ups to mitigate risks and ensure delivery.

I like to use depth and breadth by name because they are easy for the customer to understand. And presenting them in a table or matrix makes them easy to evaluate.
 

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Carl Dickson

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

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

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