Many proposal efficiencies happen before the writing. These few steps can mean the difference between a rewarding win or a costly loss.
Kickoff the proposal with a bang. Yes, the kickoff meeting is very important when it comes to making your proposal efficient. Don’t think you have a time for the perfect kickoff meeting? No one does. If you’re waiting to hold the kickoff meeting until you have everything perfectly ready, you will never hold it. There is no such thing as a perfect kickoff meeting. These meetings should be motivational, informative, and directive. You need only meet the following objectives:
- Initiate contributors’ proposal efforts
- Convey information about the opportunity
- Coordinate upcoming activities
- Create a cohesive team
- Make assignments and follow up
Know the customer’s issues, motivators, and hot buttons. Knowing these will save you time and money and reduce rework. If you don’t understand customer hot buttons, you will likely spend a lot of time creating and revising a proposal that won’t be customer-focused.
Issues are the customer’s concerns and the worries that keep them up at night. Motivators are the objectives that the customer is trying to achieve. And, hot buttons are a consolidated set of both. Customers buy based on emotion and likely won’t waste their time on a company that doesn’t meet their needs. Give yourself the advantage by understanding your customer’s hot buttons—meet their emotional needs.
Outline and organize your proposal before drafting. This is essential to prevent costly and time-consuming rework. When you organize and outline your message you can draft clear and concise content. With good planning much of your writing is already done. All you need to do is put words to the page in a compelling fashion which is much easier when you plan first.
Re-use quality content to help get started. Using good boilerplate content may be a great place to start your planning and writing. But always be sure that it’s updated and accurate. Planning will help you produce clear, concise, and correct proposals while saving money and resources.
“Bad writing is costing American businesses close to $400 billion every year.”
Apply lessons learned from previous proposals. Think about and review previous proposals. What were your strong points? Were they customer-focused? What were your discriminators? Did you win? Reviewing previous proposals can open the door to trying something different. At first it may feel risky, but if you’re proposals aren’t winning, do you want to continue in the same pattern? Probably not. Be sure to note what was good about the proposal and keep those consistencies.
You may be doing many of these things already. But, if you’re wasting money and not winning, perhaps it’s time to look at some money-saving efficiencies like these.
For more information on this subject check out our latest webinar.