To build your proposal around what it will take to win, you must:
- Gather intelligence. Use the Readiness Reviews to gather intelligence about the opportunity, customer, and competitive environment.
- Assess what you learned. Based on the intelligence you gathered, articulate what it will take to win in the forms of lists so that you can base your win strategies and themes on it.
- Incorporate it into your Content Plan. To ensure that the proposal text reflects what it will take to win, you should include what it will take to win into the Content Plan.
- Validate that the finished proposal reflects what it will take to win. By using a Content Plan you can compare the narrative to the plan, which is in turn based on what it will take to win.
The tricky part is the assessment, because that is where you turn it from a concept into the black ink on paper you need to win the proposal. To assess what it will take to win you must:
- Be selective. If you end up with a list that has a dozen things on it, you won’t be able to take focused action. Some things are more important than others. Part of reason why you need to gather intelligence is to discover which they are. If you have a long list and you can’t prioritize it, you need to gather better intelligence until you can.
- Be articulate. If you can’t say what it will take to win in writing, then you don’t know what it will take to win. Even if you have limited information or must make assumptions, you should still build your proposal around what you think it will take to win, and you should keep working at it until you can articulate it.
- Be criteria driven. It will help if you articulate what it will take to win as criteria that can be used to review the proposal and guide the authors.
- Make it add up to something. When you add up the items you’ve said make up what it will take to win, does it add up to something compelling? Is there a relationship between them? Do they reinforce each other?
- Make it tell a story. Out of the relationship between the items you’ve said make up what it will take to win, common themes will likely emerge. Can they be woven into a story that will drive the proposal writing and be meaningful and memorable to the customer?