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5 simple things to focus on when creating your first Proposal Content Plan

The basics for achieving success before you even write your proposal

If you are a proposal specialist, then you probably understand the reasons why planning before you write your proposal is vital. You probably start with an idea of what should go into your Proposal Content Plan. But if you are not a proposal specialist, it’s not at all straightforward. If you struggle with how to articulate the words that should go into a proposal, being told to write instructions for what to put in the proposal might also seem like a struggle.

The good news is that the words you use in the Proposal Content Plan don’t matter nearly as much as those you use in the proposal. Preparing a Proposal Content Plan can be as simple as creating a list of reminders.

Here are five key things you want to put in your Proposal Content Plan:

See also:
Content Planning Box
  • What are your selling points and differentiators?
  • What do you want to remember when you sit down to write the words that will go into the proposal?
  • What things you do still need to figure out? It’s okay to put questions into your Proposal Content Plan?
  • What options are under consideration or what would you like to suggest for optional consideration?
  • What are your insights about the customer, offering, competitive environment, technology, and anything else that matters?

There is a lot more that could go into your Proposal Content Plan. When you get some more experience with Proposal Content Planning you can add to the list above. But it will not do anyone any good to get overwhelmed by trying to focus on too many things at once. If you just address these you will make the writer’s job so much easier and improve the quality of the proposal that gets created. 

Imagine what you’d like to know if you are the person doing the writing, and then put that into the plan. Imagine how much easier the proposal will be to write if you get a plan with all five of these topics addressed in each section.

The two most important goals when creating a Proposal Content Plan are:

  • To make it clear to the proposal writer what should go into their section and how it should be presented.
  • To create a set of specifications for the proposal that people can examine and decide if that’s the proposal they want before it gets written.

These two considerations are what determine how many instructions you need, how detailed they should be, and when you’ve succeeded with your contributions to the plan.

The single most important thing for you to do when preparing a Proposal Content Plan is to think things through. Don’t rush. You need to think through what the proposal will be before it gets written. The best way to accomplish this is not by writing and rewriting until you run out of time. The best way to accomplish this is to think it through deliberately. And then pause and consider if that will produce the right proposal.

All you need to do is pass on some information that will help the writers. You don’t have to write the proposal. In fact, writing the proposal would be bad. Just think it through and jot down some notes so you don’t forget anything important. The proposal writers will thank you for it. Even if you are the proposal writer.

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About the tool

If you are using MustWin Now, it’s even easier. Simply click your way through the proposal outline, and in each section click the “Add Instruction” button as many times as is needed. You don't have to worry about formatting or anything else. Just type in what you want to remember or what could be helpful.

Take your time. Think it through. You’ll be surprised how quickly it goes. And if everyone on your proposal team does this, you’ll accumulate all of your team’s insights and expectations regarding what should go in the proposal and how it should be presented. If there’s any disagreement over the instructions, you’ll surface them before the writing even starts! You can then resolve the disagreements and only have to write the proposal once to meet everyone’s expectations.

Here’s what a Proposal Content Plan looks like when you create it using MustWin Now.


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

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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