The traditional Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis doesn’t work well for proposals. It was invented to support corporate planning in the 1960s at the Stanford Research Institute by a management consultant named Albert Humphrey. The traditional SWOT model looks like this:
When a SWOT analysis is used on proposals, it’s usually a part of a fishing expedition that starts without any knowledge of the customer, competitive environment, or offering design. Every time I’ve seen it used on a proposal, it was a complete and utter waste of time. It rarely collects anything of value and never really addresses the details that you need to win a proposal.
But it can be fixed.
It needs to be reformatted and have some things added that impact proposal writing, like differentiators and customer benefits.
For proposals, try this version:
|Add/Delete/or Change the items below:
|What should we offer?
|How is it differentiated?
|How does the customer benefit?
If you like it, you could try doing one for each major proposal section (Technical, Management, Experience/Past Performance, Staffing, etc.). Or you could add a column for the proposal section.
Under each SWOT heading, add your features and issues. But then you need to address what matters about them in a way that will impact the proposal writing. That’s what the new columns are for.
Instead of a data collection tool, you might just use the table to guide the discussion. For each thing that you think is a strength, what exactly are you offering (doing about it), how does that impact your competitive positioning (differentiation), and what does the customer get out of it (how do they benefit)?