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38 questions to ask during a debrief

Ask questions that help you learn what you need to win the next proposal

Use the following as inspiration for your questions.  The exact wording will depend on your circumstances and who your customer is. And don't forget... you can also ask for a debrief for a proposal that you won!

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Basic questions:

  • Who won?
  • How many bids were received?
  • What was your overall score?
  • Was your score close to the top or close to the bottom?
  • What was the winner’s score?
  • Did the winner have the lowest price?
  • Did the winner have the highest score on the technical evaluation factors?

If price was a major factor and you lost:

  • Was the winning price higher or lower than yours?
  • What was the price difference between your bid and the winning bid?
  • Did you scope the level of effort (number of people/hours) appropriately?
  • Was the skill level of your proposed staffing too high?
  • Did the winner propose more or less staff/hours? By how much?
  • What drove the customer's perception of value?
  • How did they calculate the difference in value?
  • How did they consider price realism/reasonableness?

If you scored higher on technical factors but lost:

  • Did you lose because achieving a higher score on technical factors drove up the cost?
  • If your price had been the same as the winner, would your proposal have represented the best value?

If you scored lower on technical factors:

  • How did your staffing score?
  • How did your technical understanding and approach score?
  • How did your management approach score?
  • How did your past performance score?
  • Did you have any compliance issues?

If the incumbent won:

  • Did the incumbent score higher on the technical evaluation factors?
  • Did the incumbent score higher on experience?
  • Would more details about how you would retain the incumbent staffing have improved your score?


  • What kind of impact did your bid strategies have?
  • What were your strengths?
  • What were your weaknesses?
  • Were you non-compliant with the RFP in any way?
  • Did you understand the customer?
  • Did you make the right decisions?
  • How did the presentation and appearance of your proposal stack up against the competition?
  • What differentiated you from the other bids?
  • Was your proposal easy to navigate and score?
  • Did your proposal contain any fluff or content that should have been substantiated better?
  • What in your proposal made their eyes roll?
  • What in your proposal got their attention?
  • Is there anything the customer would recommend for you to improve?


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