60 proposal quality considerations for 6 key topics
How do you know if it's any good?
The following lists of proposal quality considerations have many uses. They can be used to replace review teams. They can be used to enhance review teams. They can be used as checklists by writers and reviewers. They can be used to define proposal quality.
The checklists below are quality assurance checklists and not procedure checklists. Instead of telling you what to do, they ask whether you have achieved what you should have. They are intended to be used to assess whether what is created reflects what it will take to win. Proposal developers who want to win will use them as checklists to build quality in, rather than waiting and only using them to correct things later.
For each aspect of the proposal, go line by line and consider each item on that list. If you just consider the items collectively across the section or proposal, you will miss opportunities to strengthen the proposal and increase its competitiveness.
Quality considerations related to the offering design
- Was a methodology used to develop and validate the offering design, or was the offering design developed by writing about it?
- Is the offering design compliant with all RFP specifications?
- Are sufficient competitive advantages built into the offering design?
- Is it clear why any trade-offs made during offering design were chosen?
- Is the rationale for any teaming arrangements and how the customer will benefit from them clear?
- Have all assumptions that were made during offering design been accounted for?
- Is the offering design price competitive? How do we know?
- Does each aspect of the offering design address: who, what, where, how, when, and why?
- Does the offering design anticipate and provide the information proposal writers will need?
Quality considerations related to bid strategies
- Is it clear what differentiates the offering, and is that compelling?
- Does the proposal explain how the customer benefits from those differentiators?
- Is it clear how we position against the competitive environment, evaluation criteria, customer concerns, technical considerations, management considerations, pricing, etc.
- Does the offering explain what our strengths are, why they matter, and how the customer will benefit from them?
- Does it say what the decision makers need to hear to decide in our favor?
- Does it take into consideration the customer evaluation criteria and procedures to maximize our score?
Quality considerations at RFP release
- Do the contents of the RFP match what was expected? Do any plans need to change?
- Does the RFP contain any requirements that we can’t comply with?
- Does the RFP contain any requirements that are show-stoppers (including all performance standards, service levels, contract terms, and other specifications) that prevent you from wanting to bid?
- Have a schedule, assignment list, review plan, production plan, and content plan been prepared?
- What approach, schedule, agenda, and participation are required for the Kickoff Meeting?
- Have all required resources been identified and allocated? Are they available and capable of fulfilling their assignments?
- Is the schedule the best allocation of time, and are deadlines realistic and enforceable?
Quality considerations related to Proposal Content Planning
- Have we created an RFP compliance matrix?
- Has the compliance matrix been verified to ensure it properly accounts for all requirements?
- Does the proposal outline incorporate everything that the compliance matrix indicates it should?
- Does the wording of all headings track to the wording of the RFP?
- Will the proposal be organized in a way that is easy for the customer to evaluate?
- Does the content plan reflect the correct RFP requirements, per the compliance matrix?
- Does the content plan provide instructions for the writers to optimize the score against the evaluation criteria?
- Does the content plan provide instructions for addressing our bid strategies (see the list of bid strategy considerations)?
- Does the content plan provide instructions for the writers regarding how to incorporate any customer, opportunity, or competitive intelligence we’ve gathered?
- Does the content plan provide instructions for writing about the offering?
- Does the content plan provide instructions for where and how to incorporate project citations, references, or data that can enhance our response?
- Does the content plan provide instructions for communicating visually, including the use of graphics, illustrations, tables, relevance boxes, pull quotes, examples, screen shots, etc.?
- Does the content plan provide instructions for handling any assumptions, limits, boundaries, or issues that must be resolved?
- Does the content plan provide instructions for using any boilerplate or re-use material that might be relevant, noting any deviations or corrections required?
- Are the content plan instructions sufficient to guide writers in creating the winning proposal?
Proposal Writer’s Checklist
- Does the draft explain what matters about our experience, capabilities, qualifications, and offering?
- Does every sentence in every paragraph make a point that matters?
- Does the draft say anything that we think matters that the customer won’t?
- Can anything be deleted from the draft without impacting the evaluation?
- Is the draft written from the customer’s perspective instead of simply describing us and our offering?
- Does the draft reflect our full awareness of the customer?
- Does the draft show insight beyond what was in the RFP?
- Does the draft implement the correct bid strategies (see the list of bid strategy considerations)?
- Will the draft answer the questions we anticipate the customer might have?
- Will the draft give the customer the information they need to reach a decision?
- Does the draft motivate the customer to take the desired action?
- Does the draft complement our pricing strategies?
- Does the draft explain why our approach to the trade-offs is superior?
- Does the draft communicate visually?
- Does the draft follow the RFP instructions and maximize the potential score against the evaluation criteria?
- Does the draft follow the instructions of the proposal Content Plan?
Production and Submission
- Have any modifications/changes to the RFP been accounted for and addressed?
- Has anything changed during final changes or editing that might make the proposal non-compliant with the RFP?
- Does the proposal comply with all formatting instructions included in the RFP?
- Does the proposal include all documents, forms, attachments, and parts required by the RFP?
- Is the proposal free of errors?
- Is the proposal properly packaged and labelled?
- Does the proposal delivery plan mitigate all possible risks?
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