You don’t create a proposal function and implement a new process that impacts other departments in a single step. It’s better to start simple and increase the sophistication over time. But where do you start? What is the least amount of process you can get away with?
To understand this, you have to change how you think about process. It’s not about steps. You don’t start with fewer steps and add more over time. Instead, it’s about starting out with the right principles and improving your ability to fulfill them over time.
Here is a basic list that can get you started:
- Start the proposal with the information required to win it.
- Define quality as a proposal that reflects what it will take to win.
- Be able to articulate what it will take to win.
- Turn what it will take to win into instructions for writers and criteria for reviewers.
- Start with a compliance matrix to plan your content and evolve into ever more detailed Proposal Content Planning.
- Review what was written to ensure that it reflects the compliance matrix/Content Plan as well as what it will take to win.
The ramifications of each of these items will guide future improvement efforts.
To simplify the process even further, simply remove items from the list. Take a look and see which items can be deleted. If you can find any.
To implement the process, start by doing things according to the list. In order to set expectations, you’ll need to document the process. Forget formal process language or telling people every little detail. Start with what goals to achieve and questions to answer. Give them checklists, examples, and suggestions for inspiration.
Each time you successfully prepare a proposal using this approach, raise the bar. Improve your approach. If you run into problems or challenges, then focus on applying the principles to solving them.
If you want to cheat, focus on the principals where you have the most weakness. Then just implement the parts of the process that you are ready for. When you are ready to raise the bar, you can add more.