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Proposal quality assessments

From time to time we get asked to “take a look” at someone’s proposals and tell them whether they’re any good. With the MustWin Process, we can do better than simply give our opinion. The MustWin Process includes a methodology for Proposal Quality Validation that is based on criteria derived from what it will take to win.

The details for implementing Proposal Quality Validation are provided in the PropLIBRARY Knowledgebase. They include a baseline set of quality criteria that are intended to be customized to reflect your company, offering, competitive environment, and more.

From this foundation, we have created a set of assessment criteria that we use for proposal benchmarking. They can be used to:

See also:
Proposal quality validation
  • Assess a past proposal to establish a benchmark to measure progress by.
  • Assess a collection of past proposals for benchmarking purposes.
  • Collect metrics on proposal quality (by establishing a numeral grade for each criterion).
  • Identify areas of concern and focus for future improvement.
  • Assess the trend towards improved or diminished quality over time.


The criteria help you perform a more objective assessment.

PropLIBRARY Subscribers can download the criteria and do their own assessment. But sometimes they still want our opinions as an objective party outside their own firm. We can do this with either a formal or an informal approach. Either way, we need to define a scope for the assessment. Usually we base it on a number of pages that can include material from one or more proposals and RFPs. That way you can decide whether it should be limited to one proposal or a collection of proposals, and whether you should include the RFPs for context.

When we do an informal assessment, we review the material and then have a conversation or an online meeting with screen sharing. We use the criteria as a set of agenda for what to talk about. Depending on the amount of material to review, this can be as simple as an hour of reading and an hour of discussing it.

When we do a formal assessment, we put it in writing. We can do this as handwritten comments on printed copies, comments inserted into MS-Word files, or even both. We also include an Assessment Findings report that uses our criteria as the Table of Contents.

When the assessment is conducted this way, you get to see how your proposals match up against each of the criteria. This is a lot more detailed than simply sharing our opinions. It also goes a lot further towards making sure that the assessment is related to what it takes to win. After we deliver the written part of the assessment, we also hold an online meeting to discuss it.

What most companies find is that once they see how we used the criteria to identify the issues, they can use those same criteria to monitor themselves in the future. Having the criteria puts them in a much better position to apply the findings, resolve the issues, and catch them if they ever show up again. They achieve better and longer lasting improvements.

PropLIBRARY Subscribers are welcome to download the criteria and perform their own assessments. If you would like our help in performing the assessment, then contact us and let us know whether you want a formal or informal approach and how many pages worth of material you have. We’ll ask some questions and based on the answers give you a quote. We like doing assessments because it takes fewer hours than writing a proposal for you, and the way it enables your organization to improve its own future effectiveness provides much longer lasting value.

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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.

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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