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If you haven't considered these 67 things, you're not ready to start writing your proposal

Examples of guidance you should provide to your proposal writers, organized into 11 topics

Before you begin proposal writing, you should prepare a proposal content plan that accounts for everything that should go into the proposal and how it should be presented. Here is some inspiration for writing the instructions that should go into your proposal content plan.

Decide what type of guidance you can provide

See also:
Content Planning Best Practices
  • Provide instructions that tell proposal writers what to offer or say
  • Provide instructions to guide the writers to figure out what to offer or say
  • Provide details the writers will need or options to consider
  • Provide instructions that identify the details others should find and include

Provide instructions to proposal writers regarding the key points they should make    

  • How to achieve the best score against the evaluation criteria
  • The results of your approach/how the customer will benefit
  • Your strengths
  • Your differentiators
  • Things they should prove
  • Information/data they can use when making proof points

Providing instructions related to positioning  

  • How they should introduce the section, offering, etc.
  • How to present things
  • How to talk about features, issues
  • What to emphasize or focus on
  • Why you’ve chosen this approach or made trade-offs
  • Competitive positioning, ghosting, or comparison
  • What matters
  • The impact

Provide instructions related to anticipated customer fears, concerns, and risks  

  • What are they aware of 
  • What are they not aware of
  • What you plan to do about it (risk identification/mitigation methodology)

Provide instructions for research they should do or things writers need to figure out    

  • Qualifications
  • Certifications
  • Related details
  • Names to name
  • Capacities
  • Amounts
  • Dates or schedules

Provide instructions related to using graphics in this section    

  • Guidance or examples regarding the use of graphics and tables
  • Suggestions for graphics to use
  • Instructions for them to figure out what graphics to use
  • Describe the conclusion you want the reader to reach

Provide instructions to help the writers figure out what to offer or how to fulfill the requirements    

  • What we should offer/do/deliver
  • Achieving RFP compliance
  • Features/benefits/proof
  • What to include
  • Phases or steps in your proposed approach
  • Components of your offering
  • Capabilities
  • Solution architecture
  • People, processes, and tools to propose
  • Roles that project staff or stakeholders will play
  • Who, what, where, how, when, and why
  • Deliverables 
  • Estimates
  • Availability or use of resources 

Provide instructions related to proposal concerns

  • Assumptions
  • Limits in what can be done or amounts
  • Issues
  • Dependencies
  • Proposal risks
  • Mitigations
  • Definitions
  • RFP interpretation
  • Alignment with the pricing or other proposal sections 

Provide instructions related to discussing your experience/ past performance/ citation/ testimonials    

  • Relevant project experience
  • Details about experience
  • Important things about your performance
  • Stories/Anecdotes
  • Accomplishments
  • Testimonials

Instructions related to proposal writing  

  • Writing from the customer’s perspective
  • Conventions
  • Procedures to follow
  • Style guidance

Instructions related to contracting

  • Procurement rules and advice
  • Relevant FAR Clauses and what to do about them
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