In an earlier blog, I listed the 12 step process you should use to develop a winning bid and in my last podcast, I talked about the Pre-RFP and RFP Review steps. If you missed either of them, be sure to read them.

Now, I’m covering Step 3 – Strategy Session and Step 4 – Kick-Off. For Strategy in particular, this is only part of what you need to do. It’s such an important part of winning, I also cover a lot more in the book.Step 3 – Strategy Session

A strategy is one of the most important things you need. Strategy sets the direction and provides you with the information and approach you need to manage and write a successful proposal. Much of this will stem from the proposal review process that you’ve undertaken.

One way to start this process is to hold a strategy session that includes key senior people, as well as a range of subject matter experts, operational staff, subcontractors, and anyone else who can provide input add value to your strategy.

As an example, I used this strategy approach with a non-profit organization submitting a proposal for funding. I facilitated a focused strategy session with members of the organization. It helped them focus their efforts, including determine what the funding agency was looking for, how to interpret the submission requirements, who the evaluators would be – and what they would care about, and other things that would maximize their chances of being awarded the funding. We did this well before they started writing. It guided the final submission and they secured their funding as a result.

Of course, you should consider this part of the process as ongoing. Set up several sessions during the proposal development process to reconfirm and incorporate new material and insight that may have been discovered along the way.

Your strategy includes a number of elements you need to take the time to assess and develop. This includes themes to use when writing your proposal, client hot buttons you need to address, and a gap-analysis.

I’ve just touched on the strategy session , but strategy is a large part of a successful bid. I talk more about it in other podcasts and extensively in the section of the book titled ‘Prepare for Battle – Strategy for Success”

Step 4 – Kick-Off

Getting everyone on the same page makes it easier to develop an effective proposal. A kick-off meeting gets a proposal project started by giving everyone the information they need, and confirming resources and priorities.

The kick-off meeting includes individuals from other departments who are involved in delivering the product or service, as well as subcontractors or other partners. You should also invite anyone who will be preparing material for your proposal. Don’t limit these meetings to the senior people or heads of departments. Get front line resources involved. They can often contribute the details and subtle information that will make your proposal more successful.

In the kick-off meeting, outline the results of your RFP review and any initial strategy you’ve developed. Provide the project plan and discuss information the group needs to know in order to help with the proposal.

At this meeting, clearly identify the responsibilities and time lines required for a successful proposal. Some of the individuals present may have already been included in the strategy sessions.

The Agenda should include the following elements at a minimum:

  • Review the technical proposal requirements (format, etc.) and establish action items if required.
  • Review the proposal response content requirements, and determine the required proposal format, instructions to writers, etc.
  • Discuss and assess the response areas to validate and communicate the related hot buttons, key messages and opportunities.
  • Identify and assess potential internal and external resources who should be followed up to gain adequate information and nuances regarding client needs, expectations and their agenda.
  • Assign key research activities required, both to gain outside information, and for internal information required to respond to the proposal itself.
  • Provide an initial ‘straw-man’ organization and solution for the proposal, including both staff and methodology for the service delivery model around which the proposal writers will frame their written material.
  • Provide writing guidelines, styles, logistics, etc.
  • Establish writing assignments.
  • Generate an initial list of questions for the client.

I’ve just covered Step 3 and 4 of the 12 step process. In my next podcast, I’ll deal with Step 5 – Pricing so be sure to subscribe to the podcast or visit again soon.

Our Book "Win More Business - Write Better Proposals". is now available at Amazon in many countries, including the USA , Canada, UK, Japan, Germany and France. You can also order it directly from the author on this website