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Setting priorities while writing

You want the perfect proposal. You have limited time and resources. Trade-offs are inevitable.

People often obsess over the wrong details on a proposal

  • We recommend an approach based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
  • If you put effort into a level you haven’t reach yet, you may be taking resources away from a level that has a bigger impact on whether you win or lose.
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Proposal writing

First, make sure you are compliant with the RFP’s requirements.  This gets you in the game.

Then optimize your proposal against the evaluation criteria to maximize your score.  This gives you a shot at winning.

Next, make sure that your proposal reflects your win strategies.  This tells your story and discriminates you from the competition.  Companies struggle to reach and master this level.

After this you can focus on visual communication to ensure that your message is communicated effectively.  Most companies never make it to this level.  The ones that do we call “winners.”

Once you have an effective message you need to make sure that typographical errors do not detract from it.  Some companies make it this far and have time left for thorough editing.

Once your proposal is free of defects then you can focus on style.  While you want it to sound like it was written with one voice, hardly any companies ever make it to this level.  Doing so takes resources away from the foundation.

What the evaluators are looking for in the proposal is how to score you and why to select you.  If they find those, then they’ll examine what you are proposing to make sure you can deliver.  It is always a good idea, in any type of writing, to imagine what it’s like to be the reader.

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