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Case study: a tale of two proposal assessments

This is an example of a solution that we prepared for someone else. The solution that we prepare for you will be based on your particular needs. However, it’s a good way for you to get an idea of how we work and a great way to start a conversation about how your needs are similar or different.

The Customer’s Circumstances. There were two customers. One was a government contractor that wanted to see how their proposals stacked up against our standards. The other was a small mom and pop financial business that wanted an outside opinion on their proposals.

Our Approach. When we do assessments we can do them formally or informally. Either way, they are based on a set of assessment criteria that in part of the MustWin Process available in the PropLIBRARY Knowledgebase. Anyone who is a PropLIBRARY Subscriber can perform their own assessments using our criteria. When we do a formal assessment, we document the findings. This can be criteria by criteria, or it can be by using the Microsoft Word commenting feature to place our observations directly into the document. Or both. The more detailed the documentation, the longer it takes, the more expensive it is. But sometimes having it documented is the whole point. Once these options are finalized, the key variable becomes the page count. We like to use a total page count that can include RFPs as well as proposals. We also like to present our findings, usually in an online meeting. We use screen sharing software and go through the key points, showing the document and the comments and we describe them. .

Our Solution. With the mom and pop business, they didn't need a formal assessment or documented findings. They just wanted us to tell them what we thought could be improved. With the government contractor, we proposed a fully documented assessment, because that would give them something to use to improve all of their other proposals.

For the mom and pop business our proposal was based on two hours of time and a limit of 30 pages. There was no RFP to consider. We read their proposal and made notes, then we held the online meeting. We charged them $400.

For the government contractor, we proposed an assessment of up to 100 pages of proposal material. They could decide whether to include whole proposals, sections, or parts. The could RFPs (or parts of RFPs) for context and to assess compliance and optimization against the evaluation criteria. We proposed delivering an Assessment Report that would include:

  • Comments comments inserted into MS-Word files
  • An Assessment Findings document that will use our quality criteria as the Table of Contents. The Assessment Findings will also include recommendations for improvements and a subjective assessment of the relative quality of the materials based on the many other proposals we have seen.


Our fee for this assessment was a fixed fee of $3,000.

Both customers were able to improve all of their future proposals as a result of the assessment. Both customers learned to see their proposals in a completely different way. Not even considering any improvement in their win rates, both customers probably learned enough about quality standards to prevent re-writes and changes that would cost them far more than what the assessment did.

To discuss this solution and how it might be similar to or different from what you need, click here to set up an appointment.

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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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