What one company calls a proposal manager, another might call an administrative assistant. Or an editor. Or a coordinator. Or a production manager. Or a pursuit strategist. Or a capture manager. Is the proposal manager the person is charge of the proposal, in charge of producing what people give them, or just a proposal specialist assigned to support the proposal effort?
A large portion of the conflict and difficulty related to doing proposals is directly a result of a lack of clarity regarding expectations. You can’t get away with just assigning someone “who’s supposed to know” and then letting things play out. Expectations for all roles should be clear. That’s a key goal addressed by our MustWin Process.
But making your expectations for the role of the proposal manager clear is especially important. Do you need your proposal manager to:
- Develop the win strategies?
- Determine what the differentiators should be?
- Create the RFP compliance matrix and proposal outline?
- Determine what should be written?
- Write proposal content?
- Ensure RFP compliance?
- Create the process for everyone to follow?
- Implement the process?
- Create the schedule and plans?
- Set expectations?
- Track status?
- Conduct communications with all stakeholders?
- Enforce deadlines?
- Ensure the content scores highly?
- Edit the content?
- Define the review process?
- Plan and coordinate the reviews?
- Participate in the reviews?
- Decide which changes to make and how?
- Interact with the customer?
- Design the offering?
- Decide which staff to bid?
- Format the document?
- Oversee document production?
- Set editorial conventions and standards?
- Recommend, approve, or allocate proposal budgets?
- Assign and allocate staff?
- Decide whether or how to use consultants?
- Identify, procure, and implement specialized software?
- Make assignments and manage proposal contributions?
- Determine the winning price?
- Produce the pricing proposal?
- Develop competitive strategies?
- Conduct post-submission lessons learned reviews?
- Collect and assess proposal metrics?
- Response to post-submission customer inquiries?
- Participate in bid/no bid decisions?
- Coordinate teaming documentation?
- Conceptualize proposal graphics?
- Produce proposal graphics?
- Determine what it will take to win?
- Produce, present, and package something created by others?
- Do what it takes to create the proposal?
- Fill voids?
Does your proposal manager have the authority to do the things you want them to do? Have you overloaded them?
It’s a bit of a trick question. There are items from about six different roles in the list above. And yet, some companies expect their proposal managers to be responsible for them.
The way we approach roles and responsibilities in the MustWin Process is functional. We identify what needs to be done and then figure out how we’re going to allocate things. If resources are short, one person may take on multiple roles. But when this happens, they are still responsible for doing everything required for every role assigned.
So what kind of proposal manager do you want? A producer to finish what you create? An admin to provide support? A strategist to figure out how to win? An engineer to figure out what to propose? Someone who will take ownership? Someone who will take orders? Someone to do it all? Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.
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Carl is the Founder and President of CapturePlanning.com and PropLIBRARY
Carl is an expert at winning in writing. The materials he has published have helped millions of people develop business and write better proposals. Carl is also a prolific author, frequent speaker, trainer, and consultant and can be reached at email@example.com. To find out more about him, you can also connect with Carl on LinkedIn.