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Using PropLIBRARY to win a specific proposal

There are several ways to approach using the PropLIBRARY and the MustWin Process to capture a specific pursuit. You can use it:

  • As a formal process, to guide your actions from start to finish.
  • To fill gaps in your current process and add additional guidance to help you win.
  • As a collection of forms, checklists, and information that you can use in an informal way to provide inspiration and acceleration.


Timing is everything

One important factor that has a big impact on how you use it is timing. Are you before the RFP, at the RFP, or after the RFP? Will you use it to guide how you get ready before the RFP release, or just use it for the proposal after RFP release?

While you can get some value out of it at the last minute by using the checklists, etc., to get the most value out of it you need to have time to read the materials and understand how to apply them. You might be able to skim it in a day, but full understanding will take at least a few days, and getting ready for actual implementation will take longer.

If you are starting before the RFP is released, the MustWin Process gives you a set of questions, goals, and action items so that you will be ready to win at RFP release. It provides a structure in the form of Readiness Reviews that enable you to maximize the value of the time available, and achieve an information advantage that you can turn into a competitive advantage.

If you are starting at RFP release, you can use the same questions, goals, and action items to clarify what you know and what you don’t know so that you can more quickly identify the appropriate strategies for your circumstances. It enables you to bring what you do know into alignment with what you'll need to write the proposal.

Once the RFP is released and the proposal phase is started, the MustWin Process will help you plan what should go into your proposal in an innovative way that will save you time while making it easier to achieve a quality proposal on the first draft.

Big team, little team, or flying solo?

The MustWin Process is intended for proposals that require the efforts of a team of people. Because it defines roles functionally, it can adapt to whatever size team you have to work with. You can use it with a large team to set expectations and make sure everyone is on the same page. You can use it with a small team to achieve the same goals, with each person wearing multiple hats.

The level of formality in how you conduct the process depends largely on the size of your team, your experience, and your corporate culture. If it’s just you, or you and two co-workers doing everything, then reviews will be a bit less formal than if you have a team of reviewers that is separate from the team doing the writing. But in both cases, you’ll need to consider the same issues that impact the quality of the proposal.

PropLIBRARY and the MustWin Process can even be used by an individual to better understand everything that can go into a proposal effort and give you a different perspective on what should be considered during proposal development.

Getting ready

To get ready to use PropLIBRARY and the MustWin Process, the first step is to read. You can try it in our demonstration area. At a minimum, you need to read the introduction and orientation, but you should read ahead so that you understand what is coming. If you don’t have time to read, then it’s probably too late for PropLIBRARY, the MustWin Process, or anything else for that matter, to help you. Many of the topics also have recorded presentations that help explain them.

After the introduction, you should focus on these areas:

  • Defining the roles that people will play so that everyone has the right expectations
  • Understand the Readiness Review process for pre-RFP pursuit and determine how you will apply it. This will also help you understand what information you need to bring into the proposal process for it to be successful.
  • Understand the Proposal Content Planning process and determine how you will implement it
  • Understand Proposal Quality Validation so that you can approach the writing already knowing what it will take to pass the reviews


This will put you in a position of knowing what checklists, forms, and materials are available to help you so that at the moment of need you will know what to look for. Then when it’s time to act, instead of having to figure everything out, you will already know who is responsible for what, what the expectations are, and what it will take to achieve success.

Let's discuss your challenges with preparing proposals and winning new business...

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A subscription to PropLIBRARY unlocks hundreds of premium content items including recipes, forms, checklists, and more to make it easy to turn our recommendations into winning proposals. Subscribers can also use MustWin Now, our online proposal content planning tool.

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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