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How to lead your proposal team to better writing using MustWin Now

Great proposal writing doesn’t just happen. Here’s how to make it happen.

Get people the inputs they need

We wrote about converting the pre-RFP pursuit process into question-and-answer forms, and then using those forms to provide proposal input even when you start at RFP release, for more than a decade before we built MustWin Now. MustWin Now takes that concept and enables you to gather the inputs proposal writers will need and map them right into proposal sections and assignments. But the original concept remains. Great proposal writing requires input. If you want people to write based on:

See also:
  • Customer awareness
  • Positioning your company and offering in advantageous ways 
  • Making and proving points that support your win strategies
  • Presenting things in effective ways 

Then you need a way to gather the information, decide what writers should do about it, and then deliver the guidance to them. Otherwise, they’ll just make something up that they think is good to fill the gap. Doing this has a major impact on your competitiveness. MustWin Now makes it much easier to do since it handles the production and logistics for you. Just answer the questions in the Proposal Input Forms, use the Win Strategies Tool to identify what writers should do about the input, and then map the instructions to the proposal outline using drag and drop.

Map everything to the outline

All those great ideas and details that everyone has will evaporate into smoke if they aren't mapped to the proposal outline, tracked, and driven into the document. Even if you don’t use the structure provided by the Proposal Input Forms, MustWin Now enables you to enter ad hoc information and insights and map them to the proposal outline so they become part of individual proposal assignments. 

My favorite way to use this is during proposal strategy and discussion meetings. Instead of having to publish action items lists after the meeting, I’ve been able to capture them during the meetings so that when people get back to their desks, they are already part of their assignments.

During proposal development, if it’s not tied to the proposal outline, it’s much hard to assign and track. Even if it is mapped to the proposal outline, if it’s not a documented part of the proposal assignment, it may not happen. MustWin Now streamlines this so well it just happens. 

Drive your messaging into the proposal

There are a lot of things you want to accomplish in a great proposal. A quick read of PropLIBRARY proves this and can leave you feeling overwhelmed. A little structure goes a long way. And that’s what MustWin Now provides. It gives you a way to implement all your good ideas and best practices in an easy and streamlined way.

Let’s say that in your next proposal, you want your writers to focus on these six areas for improvement:

  1. Introducing by talking about what the customer will get
  2. Proof instead of claims
  3. Differentiators
  4. Writing from the customer’s perspective
  5. Showing understanding through results
  6. Talking about what matters

If you call a meeting and tell this to everyone the impact on the proposal will be minimal. It’s too much to remember when you’ve got the RFP in front of you and you're trying to address the instructions, requirements, and evaluation criteria.

The way this works in MustWin Now starts with mapping the RFP requirements to the proposal outline. The result is that the full text of the requirements show up in each proposal section. Then you can add instructions to each proposal section that say things like:

  • Introduce this section by explaining what the customer will get, written from the customer’s perspective.
  • Show understanding by linking what we do to the results or benefits our approach delivers.
  • Focus on what matters or what should matter to the customer about what we’re talking about.
  • Prove that our approach delivers these benefits to substantiate the section introduction.
  • Make sure our approach is differentiated.

Put this in every section. This only takes a few minutes. Better yet, tailor it to each section to give each writer some details to work with based on the proposal input forms, win strategies, etc.

Ask questions, collaborate, interpret the RFP, and solve problems

Surfacing issues before it’s too late is critical to proposal management. Doing this manually involves frequent meetings and countless emails. MustWin Now puts a quick and easy form on every page to make it easy for people to ask questions, report problems, collaborate on the proposal, figure out how to interpret the RFP, and track it all so you can solve the problems. The goal is to make sure proposal writers don’t stall or cut corners because of unanswered questions or issues.

Make it personal

Some people need to see everything and live, eat, and breathe every part of the proposal. Some just want to do their assignment(s) and go home. That’s why we added dashboards in MustWin Now so proposal writers can easily filter assignments and issues and focus on what they need to in that moment.

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.

More information about "Carl Dickson"

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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