Problem: Our proposals lack refinement
Proposals require a lot of planning up front. Many companies have done all the work to make sure the message is accurate. But when the submission is rewarded, that company still may not be selected. The issue could be in the details. Customers interpret proposals and other business development documents as representing your best effort. If they find errors, they may doubt the accuracy of the rest of the proposal.
Solution: Don’t underestimate the power of peer reviews
Because peer reviews are not part of a formal color team review, they are often overlooked. But, these reviews are hidden gems and uniquely beneficial to the process.
Your reviewers may not know much about the opportunity and that’s good. That allows them to see things that might otherwise be overlooked. For example, the flow of the document may not make sense, there may be jargon used that wouldn’t make sense to anyone but the proposal team, or there may be many different styles of writing throughout the document making it harder to understand. These are only a few things a peer reviewer might point out to help refine the proposal.
When selecting peer reviewers, make sure they are unbiased, honest, and willing to offer suggestions, not just critiques.
Bias can ruin a review very quickly. Make sure the reviewer can understand both sides of the proposal: the company and the customer. Whether or not they understand the opportunity, they will be able to see if the proposal will solve the problem the customer faces.
The more honest the reviewer, the better the proposal will come out in the end. This is not a time for timid responses. Often, a reviewer may worry about offending the writer or proposal team. An honest review does not have to be harsh. Make sure the reviewer can deliver honest, tactful feedback that will ultimately improve the document.
Suggestions are one of the best ways to improve a business development document or proposal. Critiques can work some of the time, but when there is a problem and the reviewer suggests how to fix it, the process becomes a rewarding experience—likely for both parties.
Don’t underestimate peer reviews. Use them to refine all your documents and help you submit clear, concise, and correct proposals.