Proposal Management for Go-Time

The proposal must be compliant to be compelling and to win. There are no excuses.

The time between when the RFP is released and when the proposal is due is finite and fleeting.

Regardless of the pre-RFP prep, when the solicitation hits the street, it’s Go-Time and the keys to success are organization, communication, and adherence to a proven process.

Template and Outline Development

The templates, outline, and compliance matrix are the foundational backbone of your proposal.

We prescribe to the school that outlines against the Proposal Preparation Instructions (in Federal RFPs, this is commonly referred to as Section L).

Failure to develop a compliant outline at the start means the proposal is ripe for sprouting compliance issues throughout the process.

What’s more, we believe it to be best practice to set the outline early, gain consensus, and freeze the outline from any revisions without counsel of the proposal leadership team.

We are experts when it comes to building a compliant outline, and have never lost a contract for compliance reasons.

Proposal Kickoff

The Proposal Kickoff is the most important meeting at the outset of any proposal effort. This is the opportunity to set the tone, pace, and expectations for everyone on the proposal team.

Often companies rush to hold the kickoff meeting within 24 hours of RFP release. We believe that to have an effective kickoff meeting, more time and preparation are required. We strive to hold the kickoff meeting within 72 hours of RFP release.

Pausing to prepare allows us to

  • build a compliant outline
  • develop a thoughtful, achievable schedule
  • build heavily annotated writing templates for authors
  • organize a kickoff briefing that will inspire confidence in the process, and our readiness to execute across corporate executives, teammates, and proposal team members.

In-Process Reviews

This is a practice we preach at Lighthouse because Angela believes that a great proposal manager should be entrenched in the actual proposal content.

Scheduling meetings, facilitating standups, and checking off boxes may be enough for administrative-type proposal managers.

We work closely with individual authors between the formal color reviews to ensure their content is hitting the mark not only in terms of compliance, but that the win themes and bid strategy are coming through.

Color Team Review and Recovery

Some companies run through the industry-standard color reviews (Pink, Red, and Gold) for process’ sake. The result is a mountain of in-line comments and writers’ heads spinning to recover from grammatical corrections alongside strategy-changing observations.

We believe each color review has a distinct purpose in the evolution of the proposal content and each review is an opportunity to gain immeasurable value from other contributors and experts from across the proposal team.

We also institute a collaborative review recovery process whereby we facilitate a working session with each author to disposition comments together and develop a way forward for each section.

This limits the time authors spend wading through hundreds of comments, and ensures the messaging and direction are in sync across the proposal sections and volumes.

Proposal Production, Graphics, and Post-Submission

Often overlooked are the silent heroes who painstakingly edit every word, sentence, and page of our proposals for punctuation and one voice, and those who comb it over for desktop publishing/formatting consistency.

These silent angels seem to perform magic overnight, but they don’t.

It is important for every proposal schedule to allow time for this essential phase of production. We’ve spent months crafting this beautiful story – it should look its best, too!

Lighthouse works with a trusted network of affordable professional editors, desktop publishers, graphic artists, and local printing houses to augment our teams and produce professional proposal products.

Post-Submittal, don’t forget to capture your lessons learned and best practices to implement on the next bid.

Continuous process improvement is vital to any bid team that strives to get better and perfect the process over time.

Looking for a way to make the proposal process run more smoothly, while also producing more compelling content that can lead to a win?

Our process exceeds industry-standards because of our background and experience as writers, editors, and proposal managers.

Reviews will be executed smoothly. Feedback will be targeted and actionable. Authors will have the support they need to complete their assignments in line with the win strategy and vision for the proposal.

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