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Before and after example: Saying you've done it instead of what you'll do

It is so much easier to talk about your experience than to plan approaches or develop differentiators. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that the value of your experience answers all requirements. Your experience has no value and does not matter. Unless you articulate that value and bring meaning to it.

The following example is loosely based on proposal content that was actually submitted to the customer, with some changes to hide the identity of the company that submitted it. The company was not one of our customers (but probably should be).

Original RFP Requirement:

Describe your capabilities to deliver staffing services.

Original proposal response:

ABC Corp. brings three decades of experience in delivering over 14 million hours of staffing services to local, state, and federal government agencies. We currently hold $750 million in active contracts nationwide. ABC Corp. works with over 247 public sector agencies to fulfill their staffing needs. ABC Corp. holds government contracts with 13 Federal Executive agencies in 42 states.

Notes:


ABC Corp. brings three decades of experience in delivering over 14 million hours of staffing services to local, state, and federal government agencies.
How does having 14 million hours of experience make you more capable of staffing than other companies who also have a lot of experience? 14 million hours of the wrong staffing experience or poorly performed staffing experience doesn’t deliver any value. What value have you offered?

We currently hold $750 million in active contracts nationwide.
How does you having active contracts add value to the customer? What is it that you can do for them? Does experience with other branches even matter? If it does, why haven’t you said it? 

ABC Corp. works with over 247 public sector agencies to meet their staffing needs.
Just because you’ve helped other agencies meet their staffing needs doesn’t mean you’re the best one to help this particular customer. What can you say to prove that you’re the best option? What can you offer them?

ABC Corp. holds government contracts with 13 Federal Executive agencies in 42 states.
In three of the four sentences in this paragraph, you have cited doing a lot of work for others without saying why it matters. If you look past the impressive numbers, you never got around to addressing your actual capabilities to deliver staffing!

After a little editing. Well, maybe a lot of editing.

ABC Corp. has effective staffing processes developed over three decades in this field giving us deep knowledge of the best ways to operate, as well as the knowledge of what improvements can be made to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness.  The lessons learned we bring from our work with over 250 public sector agencies and 15 federal executive agencies enable us to anticipate, prevent, and resolve problems quickly. Our proven practices will save you time and money. Our experience delivering over 14 million hours of staffing will provide you with better staff who are more effective.

We kept all of the facts. But we made each one be about something. We brought meaning to their experience. What each should be about should change for each bid. For example, if you wanted to focus more on staffing capabilities, you might write it like this:

ABC Corp. has effective staffing processes developed over three decades in this field, giving us the capability to handle any staffing problems that might arise. Our work with over 247 public sector agencies and 13 Federal executive agencies gives us the reach to staff positions in any field, at any level, across the nation. We add to this a technology and applicant tracking infrastructure that has been continuously proven and refined. Our experience delivering over 14 million hours of staffing to Federal agencies demonstrates our ability to achieve full contract compliance, including addressing all position requirements.
 


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