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Maybe what you need is a Pursuit Strategist?

An alternative approach to defining proposal roles

The traditional way to define roles for a proposal usually includes:

  • A Capture Manager to define the offering
  • A Proposal Manager to implement the process
  • Proposal Writers to follow the process and create the proposal narrative

Under this model, the Proposal Manager seeks to bring together the solution and the writers to get it all on paper. The Proposal Manager brings together the Capture Manager and Proposal Writers so that bid strategies can be articulated and used to guide the writing.

And that’s where things often stumble.

Who is responsible for articulating things? Is it the Capture Manager, the Proposal Manager, or the Proposal Writers? Where there’s a void, the Proposal Manager usually fills it, or assigns it. But if you’re using technical subject matter experts or project staff to work on the proposal, they may not be good at conceiving or articulating bid strategies. 

This is where having a Pursuit Strategist comes in handy. A Pursuit Strategist is someone who specializes in combining the technical solution brought by the Capture Manager with the bid strategies and evaluation criteria in a way that can be articulated for use in the proposal. A Pursuit Strategist figures out what needs to be said to win.

One of my favorite proposal experiences was working as a Pursuit Strategist on an effort with a Capture Manager and a Proposal Manager. The Proposal Manager handled all of the logistics. As the Pursuit Strategist, I worked with the Capture Manager to identify the right strategies, then I figured out how to articulate the messages and used them to help inspire and guide the writers. 

It was a very effective approach and the proposal won even though the company was the underdog. Without all three roles, the proposal would not have turned out nearly as good. Either the strategies would have been articulated by people who weren’t used to thinking in those terms or the Proposal Manager would have had to take time away from process implementation and oversight and put it into message development.

The Pursuit Strategist role has also worked out well at small companies who couldn’t afford that many dedicated people. As a consultant, with just a few hours instead of a full-time commitment, I’ve helped a number of businesses figure out what needs to be said to win so that their own staff could do the hard work of cranking out the pages. Usually I throw in some process guidance and participate in quality validation reviews to help a proposal team that lacks experienced proposal specialists. But where I often make the most difference is as a Pursuit Strategist helping the company discover what it will take to win.

Unfortunately, the title “Pursuit Strategist” isn’t commonly used, and companies rarely request it. This creates an opportunity for companies to beat their less informed and less strategic competitors.

We love helping companies figure out the best pursuit strategies and discover what it will take to win.

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More information about "Carl Dickson"

Carl Dickson

Carl is the Founder and President of CapturePlanning.com and PropLIBRARY

Carl is an expert at winning in writing, with more than 30 year's experience. He's written multiple books and published over a thousand articles that have helped millions of people develop business and write better proposals. Carl is also a frequent speaker, trainer, and consultant and can be reached at carl.dickson@captureplanning.com. To find out more about him, you can also connect with Carl on LinkedIn.

Click here to learn how to engage Carl as a consultant.

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