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Proposal Management: Shape Up Your Submission

writing a proposal

What is Proposal Management?

Proposal management involves the systematic process of planning, coordinating, and executing the creation of proposals in response to requests for proposals (RFPs) or other business opportunities. It encompasses various tasks such as understanding client requirements, strategizing the proposal approach, allocating resources, and ensuring compliance with guidelines and deadlines. Additionally, proposal management involves gathering relevant information, crafting compelling narratives, and creating persuasive presentations to showcase a company's capabilities and solutions tailored to meet the client's needs.

Effective proposal management requires collaboration among cross-functional teams, including subject matter experts, sales professionals, writers, and graphic designers. It involves establishing clear communication channels, setting milestones, and managing workflows to streamline the proposal development process. The ultimate goal of proposal management is to produce high-quality proposals that resonate with clients, differentiate the company from competitors, and ultimately win new business opportunities.

Proposal Management for Government Contractors

Proposal management is particularly crucial for government contractors due to the highly competitive nature of government procurement processes. Government contracts often involve significant sums of money and can lead to long-term partnerships, making the proposal phase a critical opportunity for contractors to secure lucrative business opportunities. Effective proposal management ensures that government contractors can present their capabilities, expertise, and solutions in a clear, compelling, and compliant manner, increasing their chances of winning contracts.

approved stamp on government documents

Moreover, government procurement procedures are often complex and highly regulated, with strict requirements and guidelines that must be followed. Proposal management helps government contractors navigate these complexities by ensuring that proposals are compliant with all regulations (Federal Acquisition Regulation, Cost Accounting Standards), including technical specifications, pricing structures, and legal requirements. By effectively managing proposals, contractors can demonstrate their understanding of the government's

needs, showcase their qualifications, and build trust with procurement officials, ultimately increasing their competitiveness and success rate in securing government contracts. Additionally, winning government contracts can provide contractors with a stable revenue stream and access to a diverse range of projects, further underscoring the importance of effective proposal management in this sector.

Here are a few effective strategies to incorporate into your proposal management process to elevate your success.  

Proposal Management Best Practices

RFP Evaluation and Analysis

It is important to carefully analyzes each section of the 'Request for Proposal' ensuring a clear understanding of the client's expectations. This analysis forms the basis for developing a targeted and responsive proposal. Through this RFP strategic planning workflow, you can align your strengths with the RFP to maximize the competitiveness of your proposal.

Competitive Analysis

During the capture process, it is important to do a thorough evaluation of competitors vying for the same government contracts. Using this information, you can assess your strengths, weaknesses, past performance, and strategic positioning compared to your competition and tailor your proposals in a way that gives you the winning edge.

Black Hat Preparation

Black hat preparation refers to a strategic exercise to simulate the perspective of competitors or evaluators. Within this context you can anticipate potential weaknesses in a proposal and address them to strengthen the overall submission. This practice helps to mitigate shortcomings in a proposal and give you a more competitive edge.

Surge Support

Surge support refers to the strategic allocation of additional resources or expertise to meet increased workloads during crucial stages of the proposal process. This may involve temporarily bringing in specialists, writers, or subject matter experts to enhance the team's capabilities. In doing this you increase your ability to meet deadlines, address unforeseen challenges, and optimize the quality of the submission.

High Quality Proposal Writing & Editing

Crafting compelling narratives that align with your strengths and goals is crucial for constructing a winning proposal. Effective writing and editing ensures consistency, coherence, and compliance when crafting your proposal.

Win Themes and Win Strategies

Win themes help to articulate the unique value proposition and advantages your firm brings to the project. You can then use win strategies to align proposal content with these themes, showcasing strengths, mitigating weaknesses, and presenting a persuasive case that positions you as the ideal choice to secure the government contract.

Color Team Reviews

Color team reviews evaluate your proposal from different team perspectives, each focusing on specific aspects of a proposal. These reviews offer valuable insights into each aspect of the proposal. By identifying weaknesses and ensuring a compliant and polished proposal, you give yourself a greater chance of success.

Creating a Winning Proposal


The proposal management process serves to combine all the elements of research and discovery to ultimately construct a competitive and compelling proposal. Building on the Capture Management Process and using the “Best Practices” above, you can create a proposal management process using the following outline:

business team meeting
  1. Capture Management & Initial Assessment: The capture management process serves to seek out and identify high-quality opportunities for your organization (Review our post on Capture Management). This process involves thoroughly reviewing the RFP documents provided by the government agency and understanding the scope of work, objectives, evaluation criteria, submission requirements, and any special considerations. After this thorough review you can determine whether the opportunity aligns with your company's capabilities, resources, and strategic goals.

  2. Organize a Proposal Team: Once an opportunity has been selected, assemble a cross-functional team with members from various departments, including subject matter experts, sales professionals, writers, editors, and graphic designers. Assign roles and responsibilities to team members based on their expertise and availability.

  3. Proposal Kickoff Meeting: Hold a kickoff meeting to discuss the RFP requirements, establish timelines, and allocate tasks. Clarify the proposal strategy, messaging, and key selling points. Set expectations for communication, collaboration, and progress tracking throughout the proposal development process.

  4. Gather Information: Collect all necessary information and data to support the proposal. This may include technical specifications, pricing details, past performance metrics, resumes of key personnel, subcontractor information, and other relevant documents. Coordinate with subject matter experts and other team members to ensure accurate and comprehensive content.

  5. Develop an Outline: Create a detailed outline or structure for the proposal based on the RFP requirements. Define sections, sub-sections, and key topics to be addressed. Determine the flow of information and ensure logical progression throughout the document.

  6. Write the Proposal: Begin writing the proposal content based on the established outline. Craft clear, concise, and persuasive narratives that address all aspects of the RFP while highlighting your company's strengths, capabilities, and value proposition. Tailor the language and tone to resonate with the specific audience and demonstrate understanding of their needs.

  7. Review and Revise: Conduct multiple rounds of reviews and revisions to refine the proposal content. Seek feedback from team members, subject matter experts, and other stakeholders to ensure accuracy, clarity, and alignment with the RFP requirements. Edit for grammar, style, and consistency to create a polished and professional document.

  8. Design and Formatting: Design visually appealing layouts and incorporate graphics, charts, and other visual elements to enhance readability and engagement. Follow any formatting guidelines specified in the RFP, such as font size, margins, and file format.

  9. Compliance Check: Conduct a thorough compliance check to ensure that the proposal meets all the requirements outlined in the RFP. Verify that all mandatory sections, forms, certifications, and attachments are included and completed correctly. Address any discrepancies or missing information promptly to avoid disqualification.

  10. Finalize and Package: Finalize the proposal content, design, and formatting according to the established timeline. Compile all documents into a cohesive package, including a cover letter, executive summary, table of contents, and any additional appendices or supporting materials. Review the final version for accuracy and completeness before submission.

  11. Submission: Prepare the proposal for submission according to the instructions provided in the RFP. Pay attention to submission deadlines, delivery methods, and any additional requirements, such as electronic portals or hard copy submissions. Double-check that all necessary documents are included and properly labeled to facilitate evaluation by the government agency.

  12. Follow-Up: After submitting the proposal, follow up with the government agency to confirm receipt and address any questions or clarifications they may have. Maintain open communication and be prepared to provide additional information or participate in presentations or discussions as part of the evaluation process.

Though proposal management processes can differ, this outline will ensure you are addressing the major steps used to create a winning proposal.

Outsourced Proposal Management with CRI


office team collaboration from above

Outsourcing your proposal management with Corporate Results offers a strategic advantage by tapping into our expertise, efficiency, and resources tailored specifically for government contracting. With a seasoned team of professionals well-versed in proposal development, CRI ensures that your proposals are strategically crafted, compliant, and competitive, ultimately increasing your success rate in winning government contracts. With 30+ years of experience supporting government contractors, we know how to create a winning process and are well-versed in understanding the complex dynamics that come with constructing effective proposals. By outsourcing these efforts, your organization can streamline the proposal process, focus on core activities, and achieve greater efficiency and success in securing valuable business opportunities.

If you are interested in learning more, check out all of our Proposal & Capture Management Services or Contact Us for inquiries and detailed information.


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