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APMP Study Guide by Mind Map: APMP Study Guide

1. Part 1: Introduction to the Business Development lifecycle

1.1. The business development Lifecycle

1.1.1. is about winning business.

1.1.2. A clear business development process based on best practices can help organizations to: identify opportunities and win bids in a repeatable, sustainable way.

1.2. Increasing the Probability of Winning

1.2.1. A key goal of any business development team is to advance a business opportunity and move toward being in a "favored" position from the customer's perspective

1.2.2. Positions Unknown position. Known position. Improved position. Favored position.

1.3. Phases in the Business Development Lifecycle

1.3.1. Untitled

1.3.2. 1. Market Identification helps organizations ensure that they spend marketing budgets and resources on the most likely targets for profitable business opportunities. The market risk assessment is highest for opportunities with new customers and new products; is lowest for opportunities with existing customers and existing products. Market and Customer Match Matrix Organizations must constantly assess and reevaluate their markets, identify new market segments validate current markets. Assessing whether to enter a specific market is a key decision gate at this phase of the business development life cycle.

1.3.3. 2. Account Planning and Positioning Account planning involves "long-term positioning" with a potential customer and is an "ongoing activity" across the business development lifecycle. Account plan consists of Historical account information, Buying history Strategies for penetrating or growing an account. Key customer personnel and decision makers, An account plan often feeds into an opportunity plan when specific opportunities are qualified.

1.3.4. 3. Opportunity Assessment Bid / no-bid Decision A key decision gate at the opportunity assessment phase of the business development life cycle is a preliminary bid/no-bid decision on a specific opportunity. Sales opportunities➢ Organizations can identify sales opportunities through many channels, including Marketing campaigns Social media efforts Lobbying strategies Traditional prospecting Opportunity tracking programs Many successful organizations use third-party sales opportunity tracking programs (subscriptions) to track and monitor future bidding opportunities, especially in regional and national markets. These programs can help identify upcoming opportunities based on specific filters used during opportunity searches.

1.3.5. 4. Opportunity Planning Opportunity Planning This process does not always go in this order; the qualification decision may need to be revisited as you learn more about the customer and the opportunity. Critical aspects of "opportunity planning" 4 C's Portfolio management. Regardless of the size or complexity of an opportunity, a Sales or Opportunity Manager should take time to plan. The plan's level of detail will depend on the opportunity, including complexity and dollar value

1.3.6. 5. Proposal Planning activities Migrating data from the opportunity plan to a proposal plan or to proposal planning tools Extending the opportunity strategy into the proposal strategy. A proposal strategy consists of Organizations can capture this transfer the preparing a draft executive summary. Engaging the right staff for the proposal team and securing the right executive support Refining the solution and price-to-win Holding a proposal kickoff meeting to share planning activities with the proposal team

1.3.7. 6. Proposal Development Stop bid planning activities At this stage, bid planning activities, shoud stop including Ongoing changes result in wasted time and resources and can lead to a mediocre proposal that is frustrating to prepare.

1.3.8. 7. Negotiation and Post-Submittal Activity Submittal of a proposal does not signal the end of the business development lifecycle. On the contrary, this is the phase where business decisions become intense and real. Organization's strategy should be: To respond fully to customer questions and concerns To reinforce a customer's trust in its solution and organization To optimize the deal to the benefit of bidder and customer Lessons-learned Conducting a lessons-learned review on each major bid opportunity is a critical best practice. Lessons learned should be well documented and stored for others to access and reference on future sales opportunities.

1.3.9. 8. Delivery and Ongoing Customer Relationships Effective business development activities continue throughout the solution delivery phase Winning the contract is an opportunity to prove value and position your organization for additional opportunities. Apply account management techniques, such as Regular customer contact, product demonstrations and upgrades, social marketing, and participation in relevant industry and trade events.

1.4. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions

1.4.1. Necessity of business development process

1.4.2. Importance of bid decision gates and positioning

1.4.3. Importance of early customer involvement Many companies believe that a compliant, responsive, and well-done proposal will win the contract. On the contrary, a proposal is often the final step in confirming a customer's buying decision. Effective marketing, positioning, and selling are critical to winning business-the proposal then verifies the winning solution.

1.5. Summary

1.5.1. Defining, documenting, and implementing an effective business development lifecycle is a core part of stra­tegic planning for any business.

1.5.2. Organizations must remember to Scale and tailor the cycle to specific markets and competitive positions. Clearly define roles and responsibilities within the cycle. Secure leadership buy-in and support for implementing the cycle. Document all successes and failures to learn from experience. Enhance the customer relationship across the cycle at each phase and as part of each activity.

1.6. Terms to Know

1.6.1. Market Identification

1.6.2. Opportunity Plan

1.6.3. Price-to-Win

1.6.4. WOT

2. Part 1: Focus on the Customer

2.1. 1. Compliance and responsiveness

2.1.1. Introduction Compliance Compliance is the act of Examples of compliance include: Responsiveness Responsiveness goes beyond compliance. it address: Examples Notes It is possible to be compliant without being responsive. as well as responsive without being compliant. The best proposals, however, are both. Compliance is not enough

2.1.2. Best Practices 1. Begin to cultivate responsiveness Long before RFP release If you are beginning to think about responsiveness at RFP release, you are too late. The customer's hot-button issues are often not stated in the solicitation. To be responsive, you must know your cus­tomer beyond the written requirements. Starting early means you can help shape the request for your specific response. Building a trusting relationship with your customer and understanding your customer's underlying con­cerns takes time. Bid Managers and sales professionals must begin gathering this customer intelligence early in the business development lifecycle and continually build upon this relationship through RFP release 2. Thoroughly review and clearly understand the customer's bid request. Prior to the kickoff meet­ing read the RFP After reading (and rereading) the RFP, ensure that you clearly understand what is required. identify anything that is unclear and could impact your response. Consider seeking clarification from the customer,but be sure to complete with the instructions for submitting RFP questions. 3. Prepare a comprehensive compliance matrix for every bid request The compliance matrix is a must-have planning document. Always create a compliance matrix when a customer has provided requirements, regardless of the bid size or timeline. For unsolicited proposals, white papers, and RFI responses, use the followings to demonstrate your understanding of requirements and compliance. Create your compliance matrix early in the planning process, before writing begins, and update it throughout the proposal process, following solicitation amendments, customer responses to clarifica­tion questions, and proposal outline changes. A compliance matrix is a powerful tool used by different proposal team members in different ways: 4. Submit a response matrix with your proposal You must make the proposal evaluation process as easy and efficient as possible Prepare a clearly written and arranged proposal that is easy for evaluators to compare to their RFP requirements. A response matrix 5. Maintain a customer focus When you understand and have a trusting relationship with your customer, you will be prepared to write a customer-focused proposal Demonstrate that you understand the customer by citing its vision and hot-button issues in your executive summary and then weaving corresponding theme statements throughout your proposal. A customer-focused bidder

2.1.3. Summary Winning proposals ore not only compliant, but responsive to the customer's underlying issues. Compliance and responsiveness ore two different, but equally crucial elements. It is possible to be compliant without being responsive and vice verso. Winning bidders ore both. Before beginning any work, you should thoroughly review and clearly understand the customer's bid request. You should prepare a compliance matrix for every proposal that contains requirements, regardless of size or timeline. Make it clear that your proposal is compliant by submitting a response matrix with your proposal. This will also ensure that your proposal con be easily evaluated. Developing responsiveness begins in the early stages of the business development lifecycle and continues throughout. Responsiveness can vary greatly across different markets, groups, and cultures.

2.1.4. Terms to Know Benefit Clarification Compliance Matrix Compliant versus Responsive Customer Focus Customer Issues Customer Requirements Feature Hot Buttons Non-Compliant Bids Protest Response Matrix

2.2. 2. Customer Analysis and Competitive Intelligence

2.2.1. Introduction Customer and competitive intelligence Requires researching what your customers need and what your competitors can offer. Provides the data you need to create effective strategies and compelling proposals. Is a key part of opportunity planning and can help organizations develop winning proposals. Allows you to present solutions that overcome competitor weak­nesses Enhances narrative development, Strengthens your value proposition, highlights your strengths that complement your cus­tomer's priorities and RFP requirements.

2.2.2. Best Practices 1. Understand the importance of customer and competitive intelligence. Customer intelligence Competitive intelligence Customer analysis and competitive intelligence work together to drive the strategy. They are critical to the 2. Foster information sharing among all members of your extended organization The best sources of competitive intelligence data may be your colleagues. Opportunity planning teams should take time to build information networks with colleagues Application of customer analysis and competitive intelligence helps focus your opportunity planning and proposal writing in two critical ways 3. Leverage public sources of customer analysis and competitive intelligence data Employees: SMEs engaged by your company Customers' websites Competitors' websites Trade/industry association websites Social media: Facebook, Linkedln, Twitter, etc Publicly available information: government agency reports, industry/trade publications, webinars Trade shows/conferences Annual reports. onclusts' reports, and other SEC reports Subscription services: OneSource, Hoovers, Dun & Bradstreet, GovWin, Gartner, PWC, etc. 4. Use a bidder comparison matrix (CM) to identify your key competitors' strengths and weak­nesses Capturing a true picture of the competitive field for any proposal will add dimension to your writing . It also directs your writing to requirements from the customer's perspective, complemented by a discussion of your own company's strengths and discriminators. The matrix clearly shows the strongest competitor and highlights strengths and weaknesses of others. Figure

2.2.3. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions Belief that competitive intelligence data collection is a covert activity Competitive intelligence is an ethical business practice guided by written rules from the association of Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Pro­fessionals (SCIP). Difficulty obtaining competitive intelligence data You can find the majority of the competitive intelligence data you need among colleagues and online With so many resources readily available, it is relatively sim­ple to find most of the data needed for an effective proposal narrative. Proprietary company data, however, is not always available. In these cases, teams may have to derive information from available data and make assumptions.

2.2.4. Summary Customer analysis and competitive intelligence uses research to understand customer needs and competitor strengths and weaknesses. An important source of competitive intelligence data is information shared by colleagues. Proposal teams should work to gain information from others in their organizations. Gathering competitive intelligence is an ethical activity; most sources of information are publicly and readily available. This knowledge helps proposal writers show a company's own value proposition in the best possible light . Organizations can use a bidder comparison matrix to showcase their own capabilities in comparison to their competitors.

2.2.5. Terms to Know Competitive Intelligence Customer Intelligence

2.3. 3. Executive Summaries

2.3.1. Introduction Must be clear and persuasive to grab customer attention. is a concise, informational, persuasive piece of writing. It is generally a standalone section at the front of a proposal. If the customer's instructions do not allow for an executive summary, then include this content as part of the cover letter or first-page introduction. it is a sales document that shows that you: Grasp your customer's vision Understand the customer's explicit and implied needs Offer better value than any competitor Have built a solution that satisfies those needs Aim the executive summary at senior-level decision makers in your customer's organization Write the executive summary in the opportunity planning phase, before a kickoff meeting. Then, as appropriate based on value and strategic importance, review it early with management based on decision gate criteria.

2.3.2. Best Practices 1. Keep executive summaries customer-focused. A customer-focused executive summary: Organize your executive summary around the answers to seven key questions: Define a structured approach for your executive summary If customer instructions or procurement rules disallow an executive surnrnary 2. Write and review early. Preparing executive summaries early promotes clear alignment for the pursuit. This ensures that every individual, from the proposal team to senior executives, conveys the same message to your customer. Drafting your executive summary early allows you and your team to: If you are not prepared to write the executive summary early you probably are not ready to bid and should consider a no-bid. 3. Use your executive summary to make an impression. As a sales document, your executive summary helps to advance the sales process to the next stage. 4. Clearly indicate your proposal's responsiveness and compliance. Tailor your executive summary to match the priorities of key decision makers: Clearly show that you have validated needs with the customer. Make it clear that you comply with the client's requirements. 5. Assign writing and review responsibilities strategically. Use a clear, easy-to-read writing style. The ideal author for your executive summary is When choosing reviewers for your executive summary, make sure you have a good mix of Use a professional proposal editor for edits. This may be the Proposal Manager or an Editorial Specialist on the proposal team, depending on the size of your team and organization. 6. Mirror your executive summary themes in the proposal cover, title, and cover Letter When preparing these aspects of a proposal, consider the following:

2.3.3. Common Pitfalls and Misconception Including irrelevant information in executive summaries

2.3.4. Summary 1. A good executive summary provides a value proposition that helps evaluators choose you. 2. Always include an executive summary as a standalone document unless the proposal is very short. Follow instructions if provided. 3. Write a draft executive summary before kickoff and get it approved early. Use it as a briefing tool to drive the direction of the proposal team. Allow time for changes and be sure to do a final proofread, while keeping production schedules in mind . 4. Plan before writing. Adapt your approach to the time available. 5. Write executive summaries for nontechnical, upper-level decisionmakers. 6. Tie major discriminators explicitly to customer issues. 7. Match the goals and priorities of the evaluators. Give them good reasons to select you by showing them the unique value of your solution with relevant proof points. 8. Mention the client first and benefits before features. Show your solution's compliance. 9. Use a clear writing style and include graphics to add emotional appeal. Avoid too much technical detail. Include high-level pricing and related value propositions unless prohibited or irrelevant. 10. Ask the salesperson (or Opportunity Manager) who knows the client best to write the draft executive summary. Enlist a proposal editor for final edits and a mix of client, technical, competitor, executive, and proposal skills for reviews. 11. Keep your executive summary short. Use a structure that works. Each executive summary differs for each opportunity because the client, evaluators, competitors, and solution are all different.

2.3.5. Terms to Know Bidder Comparison Matrix Executive Summary Hot Buttons SWOT Win Themes

2.4. 4. Strategy and Win Themes

2.4.1. Introduction Strategy and win themes play an evolutionary role in the development of an opportunity. As intelligence improves, strategy evolves and competitive focus matures, driving improved win themes. Proposal strategy statements are tools to verbalize your win strategies in a way that helps everyone on your team understand how the bid will succeed Strategy is inextricably linked to the customer, competitor, bidder capability assessments developed in the opportunity plan. As you move from the opportunity planning phase to the proposal planning and development phases of the business development lifecycle: Opportunity strategies will influence proposal strategies, and win themes will influence proposal themes Each time those assessments are updated, strategies and associated win themes must be reassessed. A win strategy Your win strategy is the collection of win themes and actions you develop after a pursuit decision to win a bid. It is documented in the opportunity plan you develop to win a specific opportunity.

2.4.2. Best Practices 1. Develop opportunity strategies and win themes early. Using a bidder: 2. Identify a "killer" opportunity strategy and refine it as intelligence improves. The litmus test of the very best opportunity strategy is that if it were revealed to the competition, it would damage your chances of winning. 3. Use the following to focus your strategies and win themes Opportunity plan review Competitor review feedback 4. Build proposal strategies for anticipated response requirements. 5. Design a proposal cover and key graphic that reflect your overall offer and overarching theme. Earlier in the process, You chose a one- or two-word theme that was the basis of your elevator speech. If you have not already done so with early marketing activities, create a customer-focused cover for the proposal and a key graphic that summarizes your offer. The process of representing your concepts visually will help you further sharpen your message. In addition, visuals will kick-start your executive summary mock up and transition of opportunity plans to proposal plans. 6. Monitor transition of strategy and win themes to: -Proposal content/Final proposal response, -Contract negotiations. The best-laid opportunity plans are not always transitioned into proposal plans, Avoid this by carefully mapping strategy statements and win themes all the way through to technical management, and price solutions at contract negotiations.

2.4.3. Summary Strategies and win themes must evolve from positioning actions and statements to solution strategies and themes based on the entire opportunity environment. The litmus test of the best opportunity strategy is that if it were revealed to the competition, it would damage your chances to win. Review and repeat SWOT analysis to confirm that your strategy statements are still aligned as the requirements and competitive field change. Translate win themes to proposal themes for each major section of the proposal. Communicate and ensure understanding of your strategies and themes through the proposal all the way to contract negotiations. Use quantified benefits statements in customer-focused themes.

2.4.4. Terms to Know Bidder Comparison Matrix Competitor Review Elevator Speech Executive Summary Ghosting the Competition Opportunity Plan Opportunity Plan Review Opportunity Strotequ Proposal Strategy Statement SWOT Theme Statement Win Strategy

2.5. 5. Value Propositions

2.5.1. Introduction Value proposition Offers clients something they want Gives them a good reason to choose you over your competitors. In the executive summary and in your full proposal, as well as in any other customer interactions, communicate a strong value proposition that matches your client's needs and demonstrates your unique offer.

2.5.2. Best Practices 1. Sell the value based on client benefits. People make decisions based on Salespersons should not sell features, but rather positive discriminators that deliver benefits that matter to the client. Selling on value helps to organize your proposal strategy. A good value proposition 2. Link benefits to your unique selling points. Making your value proposition the foundation of your executive summary gives evaluators a reason to select you, even before they read your proposal 3. Use effective price-to-win methods. You don't have to offer the lowest price to win a deal. The role of the Proposal Manager is to maximize the difference between the value the client gets and the price paid. Use price-to-win methods to arrive at a winning price, the following can help you do this: 4. Quantify the payback Quantify the payback. Use proof points to further convince the customer. This is far more persuasive than making vague claims about the value clients will gain. 5. Make it visual. Using pictures to explain your value proposition helps clients understand your value faster and remember it longer. It also adds emotion to persuade. 6. Structure your value proposition in a logical, orderly way. Follow the SMART approach: According to Tom Sant, a value proposition can be presented in three parts: 7. Focus on the right kind of impact. The return your client wants might not only be financial. clients might seek the following kinds of impact: Look for impact that is measurable, linked to your products or services, and proportional to the fees you will charge.

2.5.3. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions Common obstacles to using value propositions include Lack of awareness Poor information about clients or competitors Fear of mentioning specific results

2.5.4. Summary Failure to sell on value will result in the client choosing on price or doing nothing. Overcome obstacles to using the value proposition to increase your chances of winning. A value proposition offers clients something they want and gives them a good reason to choose your organization rather than your competitors. The value proposition forms the foundation of the executive summary. You don't have to offer the lowest price to win a deal; you must show more value than your peers. Quantify the payback using a measure of time, rate, or value. Make the payback visual and add emotion by including a graphic, even when the value is intangible. There are many ways to structure a value proposition; choose the method that works for your organization and the proposal you are working on . Focus on the right kind of impact, which may not necessarily be financial.

2.5.5. Terms to Know Intangible Value Price-to-Win Proof Points SMART Value Proposition

2.6. 6. Proposal Theme Statements

2.6.1. Theme statements Link "customer benefits" to the "features" of your offer. communicate your discriminators, making evaluators' decisions easy.

2.6.2. Introduction Proposal theme statements are section- topic- or paragraph-level elements offering the key points you want the customer to remember If win strategies are the things you plan to do to win, theme statements are the things you say about those strategies. The best theme statements tie benefits to features and address customer issues. Often highlighted or incorporated into callout boxes.

2.6.3. Best Practices 1. Build a proposal theme outline against the structure of the response and flow themes into content plans Proposal themes should flow from: Develop feature/benefit pairs that reflect the executed opportunity strategy Start with the highest level of the outline and create a statement that: When you have completed the top levels of your outline, flow related themes to the indented sections of the outline. . This exercise will identify areas needing further information to showcase benefits. 2. Use theme statements consistently. If you place themes inconsistently, evaluators may become confused or annoyed. Be sure to format all theme statements in the same way. If themes do not have the same font, color, size, and design, evaluators may miss them-and you may miss an opportunity to score points. 3. Maintain customer focus. Customer-focused writing is key in developing proposal themes. Placing benefits before features and tying them to customer issues, and naming the customer first and more often than you name yourself will sustain the attention of evaluators and communicate a reduced sense of risk. 4. Read your theme statements out Loud Did you need to take a breath to finish it? Did it make sense, or did you stop yourself and start over with new words? Does it sound believable? Does it sound Like something a normal person would say? 5. Test the impact of your theme statements and improve them accordingly. The litmus test for a good theme statement is twofold:

2.6.4. Common Pitfalls and Misconception Writing proposal sections before themes are identified and reviewed This can lead to lack of alignment between themes and proposal content. Failing to provide adequate proof Evaluators will not believe your proposal themes unless you use sufficient, quantifiable, and verifiable proof Focusing on features over benefits For theme statements to be effective, you must clearly and tangibly show customers how they will benefit.

2.6.5. Summary Theme statements tie benefits to features and address customer issues. They should be woven throughout your proposal. Build an outline for proposal writers. Ensure that theme statements focus on your customer, not on your organization. The litmus test of a good proposal theme is that competitors cannot believably make the same claim and that evaluators could cut and paste it into their evaluation to justify your high score.

2.6.6. Terms to Know Best and Final Offer (BAFO) Content Plan Customer-Focused Writing Discriminator Elevator Speech Opportunity Strategy Theme Statement Win Strategy

2.7. 7. Features, Benefits, and Discriminators

2.7.1. Introduction customers are sold on benefits, not features Deep understanding of the followings allows you to communicate compelling, substantiated benefits to buyers your customer's needs, competitors' offerings and discriminators, and your own capabilities (features) and unique characteristics (discriminators) simplified way to think of features, benefits, and discriminators: Features= What? Benefits= So What? Discriminators= Why Us? (and why it matters to you)

2.7.2. Best Practices 1. Understand your customer's needs. Advantages In your written offer, document the confirmed benefits in feature/ benefit tables. 2. Develop and evaluate competitive intelligence. To develop features, benefits, and discriminators, you must gather and analyze data about Competitive intelligence is a key element of developing effective features, benefits, and discriminators. It can be gathered by competitive intelligence professionals inside an organization or consultants outside of it. When you have completed this analysis, take the intelligence you have developed and complete a bidder comparison matrix that scores the capabilities of all significant bidders against the "what" and the "why" of the requirements. The next step is to document the strengths and weaknesses of each player using a SWOT analysis. Many strengths and weaknesses will surface during the bidder comparison exercise to justify the scores 3. Determine your discriminators. Maintain a clear focus on the customer's perceptions when determining your discriminators. Relying on your brand as a discriminator is a common mistake in this area. Your past performance may support your claim, but it is the people, processes, and tools applied to successful customer engagements that ore the discriminators, not your brand. Figure 4. Use feature/benefit tables. Figure 5. Quantify the potential value of benefits. 6. Apply the "So what?" Litmus test.

2.7.3. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions Mistaking features for benefits Applying the "So what?" litmus test can help proposal developers distinguish features from benefits. How­ever, this requires writers to detach themselves from a solution and look at a proposal from the customer's perspective. Sellers, particularly incumbent contractors, also fall into the trap of thinking they know what the customer really wants, which may be different from what they have requested.

2.7.4. Summary Features are your organization's capabilities. Benefits result from features and are solutions to customer problems. Ultimately, customers buy benefits, not features. Determine your discriminators by assessing what the customer needs that you can offer better than any other competitor. To ensure that you have distinguished correctly between features and benefits, apply the "So what?" test. Benefit statements should provide clear answers. When possible, quantify the value of proposed benefits.

2.7.5. Terms to Know Advantage Benefit Bidder Comparison Matrix Differentiator Discriminator Feature SWOT Value Proposition

2.8. 8. Proof Points

2.8.1. Proof points, drawn from past performance and experience, give tangible evidence that builds confidence in your solution's features and benefits.

2.8.2. Introduction Proof points often describe performance on similar past efforts. They can be project data, case studies, customer quotes or testimonials, awards or recognition earned Crafting effective proof points requires understanding your win strategy before the RFP is released and conducting a data call to gather data.

2.8.3. Best Practices 1. Understand your win strategy and corresponding win themes. Effective win themes must contain A win strategy 2. Get started before you have an RFP. The Proposal Manager should partner with the Opportunity Manager to understand the win strategy and the proof points you need The Opportunity Manager should provide the following information Customer Debriefs 3. Conduct data calls before and after RFP drop, both internally and from teaming partners. Pre-RFP, the Opportunity Manager and Proposal Manager should determine: Post-RFP, the Opportunity Manager and Proposal Manager should analyze the solicitation to determine Proposal proof points should be presented for both the prime contractor and any proposed teaming partners Data calls are requests to members of your company and teaming partners for data to be used to build proof points. 4. Maintain a repository of proof point data. Know whom to ask for various sources of proof point data. Some examples of data and POCs for data sources include the following: A proof points tracking checklist is provided among the tools and templates for this section in the APMP BOK. You can use this checklist to inventory and maintain a repository of reusable proof points. 5. Ensure that proof points are persuasive, tangible, and credible Proof points must be persuasive by substantiating features and benefits that meet or exceed customer objectives and requirements Proof points must also be tangible by providing quantitative facts and figures Proof points must be credible by providing verifiable information 6. Verify accuracy of proof points. The customer must be able to verify the proof points. Therefore, the proposal should identify data sources where possible and provide specific customer references and quotes Some potential sources include: 7. Aggregate and interpret data. 8. Use the standard APMP proposal and business development roles to guide responsibilities for development of proof points. Opportunity Manager Knowledge Manager Proposal Coordinator, Facilitator, or Specialist Proposal Desktop Publisher Proposal Manager Proposal Writer Project Manager

2.8.4. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions Waiting until the RFP drops Relying on features to sell the company Believing that benefits are enough Assuming that general statements are acceptable Putting proof points only in callout boxes

2.8.5. Summary Proof points assure the proposal evaluator that features and benefits claimed are real, verifiable, and achievable. Assembling, analyzing, and presenting proof points requires time. Gather data early to substantiate proposed features and benefits. Conduct data calls with your team and partner contractors to collect data needed for persuasive, tangible proof points. Establish a repository of reusable proof points and continually update it based on lessons learned. Effective proof points reduce the customer's risk perception because the data provided substantiates claims made in the proposal

2.8.6. Terms to Know Benefit Data Call Discriminator Feature Hot Buttons Proof Points Win Themes Win Strategy

2.9. 9. Persuasion

2.9.1. Summary People make decisions using either Central Processing Peripheral Processing Social psychologist Robert Cialdini identified six Weapons of Influence that can be used to persuade. They are reciprocity, consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity. Writers should never misuse principles of influence. The principles should be used to highlight true benefits, never to deceive.

2.9.2. Introduction Research shows that people can be persuaded to act in universal, predictable ways. When making contract decisions, decision makers rarely apply cold, hard logic and exclude all other considerations. Many factors influence decision-making, including the content of a presentation, the relevancy of a product and even a proposal's font. proposal developers must successfully apply the principles of influence

2.9.3. Best Practices 1. Understand how central and peripheral processing affect decisionmaking. Elaboration Likelihood Model, Proposal readers use both central and peripheral processing in their decisionmaking processes. 2. Use the six Weapons of Influence to structure your argument effectively. Reciprocity Consistency Social proof Liking Authority Scarcity

2.9.4. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions Overuse of persuasive techniques Writers shouldn't load proposals with all of the tools of influence they can find What is the right amount of persuasion to use?

2.9.5. Terms to Know Central Processing Peripheral Processing Principles of Influence

2.10. 10. Price-to-win

2.10.1. Price-to-win combines customer and competitor intelligence with careful attention to the balance of capabilities and cost.

2.10.2. It is an assessment that helps vendors arrive at prices that customers will value

2.10.3. Introduction Price-to-win is a process for analyzing competitor and customer data to determine how other bidders are Likely to position their solution and bid price with their understanding of the customer's budget and their assessment of value. It is an assessment that shows how competitors' pricing is Likely to be derived. Price-to win is an external examination that defines where your business should target your offering. Price-to-win analysis is used to develop winning bid strategies. following relationship must be true: Customer Perceived Value >= Customer Budget >= Your Price >= Your Cost

2.10.4. Best Practices 1. Understand the characteristics of a mature, successful price-to-win capability. What makes price-to-win successful? Successful price-to-win activities share several additional key elements: 2. Engage price-to-win as early as possible and update as new information comes to Light Price-to-win is used to identify what kind of solution your team should offer and the price point at which you should offer it. it should be engaged as early in the proposal process as possible before a solution is developed. Price-to-win is needed for effective best value solution development. Price-to-win activities are a continuous process, extending throughout the opportunity phase through post-award 3. Employ information systems and analysis tools. A customer relationship management (CRM) system and an internal knowledge base are important to mature organizations for The most useful analysis tools for price-to-win analysis are custom built using spreadsheets 4. Gain as much customer intelligence as possible. In the commercial environment, you wouldn't quote a price without knowing whether it was available winning price. The best intelligence sources are people, especially those in your own organization. Customer intelligence can be obtained from Intelligence about the customer's authorized funding and what it is able to spend on the project is vital. Other important information about the customer might include: 5. Gain as much competitor intelligence as possible. Competitive analysis can help establish what your competitors' bid and actual award prices would be based on prior similar contracts. Other sources of competitive intelligence include: Consider previous contracts awarded to likely competitors and the budgets for those acquisitions. Use findings to estimate where competitors might position their offers on the current opportunity. Similar contracts awarded by other customers may serve as additional data points. 6. Maintain strong opportunity activities parallel to price-to-win analysis. 7. Focus pricing on value to the customer. 8. Align pricing strategy with your sales strategy.

2.10.5. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions Belief that price-to-win is an externally set parameter Price-to-win Failure to embrace price-to-win concepts Misunderstanding the importance of price-to-win leads many companies to "lose on price. " Many companies think price-to-win is the lowest price they can set after examining their own bottom-up costing. This is not true and can lead to a loss.

2.10.6. Summary Getting to a price-to-win target range is an iterative process that begins early in the procurement cycle and continues throughout the life of the opportunity and beyond to lessons learned after the win. Information obtained about: the customer, the competition, one's own organization Custom spreadsheets and market intelligence gathering are important tools for assessing price-to-win. All things being equal, a winning price must offer value to the customer. It is up to offerors to learn from their customers what constitutes value to them.

2.10.7. Terms to Know Pricing, Bottom-up Pricing, Top-down Price-to-Win

2.11. 11. Teaming

2.11.1. Introduction Teaming with other businesses can help companies fill competency gaps and increase their wining probability. To succeed, however, recruitment and management of teaming partners must be approached with care. The larger and more complex a contract opportunity, the more likely it is that prime bidders will need to form teams of multiple companies to provide the resources and solutions required in an RFP There is a complicated, delicate balance of strategy and tactics required to assemble a winning team. Effective teaming strategy can significantly improve a bidder's win probability. Poor executed strategy can create serious performance, reputation, legal, and financial problems.

2.11.2. Best Practices 1. Determine objectively whether teaming is needed to strengthen a win strategy or a competitive position. 2. Identify, evaluate, select, and recruit teaming partners. Teaming partners should be selected primarily on their ability to increase win probability and secondarily on their ability to work cohesively with the team and customer under the conditions of the proposed contract. Fill out a bidder comparison matrix. Use data to identify an optimum mix of teaming candidates that strengthen your weaknesses and improve your score based on expected evaluation criteria If you don't have a relationship with the company, then reach out on a peer-to-peer basis (business development, C-level, operations, etc.) to have the same discussion. 3. Select the most appropriate team structure. Traditional prime/subteam. Joint venture team. Partner arrangement. Prime contractor with subcontractor pools. Mentor-protege arrangements. Company-specific versus integrated project teams. 4. Negotiate and document effective teaming agreements and subcontracts. 5. Optimize and strengthen the competitiveness of the team.

2.11.3. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions 1. Automatically teaming with strategic partners 2. Delaying senior management approval 3. Miscommunications related to teammates' price/cost 4. Data and intellectual property rights

2.11.4. Summary 1. Objectively assess your company's resources and capabilities to identify gaps and deficiencies compared to the customer's expectations and competitors' capabilities. 2. Determine if teaming with selected companies could create a winning bid. 3. Choose teaming partners based on their ability to increase the win probability and ability to work cohesively with the team and customer under the conditions of the proposed contract. 4. Assemble your team by recruiting the selected companies, clearly negotiating defined roles and responsibilities, and codifying the arrangements in legally binding teaming agreements. 5. Optimize and manage the team to maximize your competitive position and win probability.

3. Part 2: Create Deliverables

3.1. 12. Compliance Matrix

3.1.1. Introduction The compliance matrix is a tool for managing response preparation and demonstrating compliance to the customer A good compliance matrix also serves as a plan of action for writers You also can-and should-use a compliance matrix to make the evaluator's task easier. even when it is not specifically required.

3.1.2. Best Practices 1. Prepare a comprehensive compliance matrix for every bid request Introduction Submittal instructions Requirements Internal compliance It can also be used by proposal team members in different ways, such as: 2. Build the compliance matrix early. preparing a compliance matrix saves time by reducing mistakes and rework. It helps teams break down requirements and bunch them into bundles appropriate for different sets of stakeholders The compliance matrix also goes a long way toward preventing the big mistake that can sink an otherwise potential winning bid: an overlooked requirement. 3. Shred the RFP Line by Line. Resist the urge to save time by shredding RFP requirements only by section or paragraph Separate every requirement (e.g., every "shall," "will," "must") into separate rows within your compliance matrix. 4. Tailor the compliance matrix for your customer and setting. Customize the content of your compliance matrix to the situation and team needs. A basic compliance matrix starts out with the following: If you plan to extend your compliance matrix to provide guidance to writers , you can include information such as: 5. Create your compliance matrix using a spreadsheet application. The sorting function also enables users to toggle between ordering the compliance matrix by proposal section or RFP section. This can be a big time saver Spreadsheet programs also enable the Proposal Manager to quickly and easily hide columns for different users. 6. Follow the customer's Lead. Follow the numbering system used in the RFP in your compliance matrix and in your proposal. To increase your customer focus, use the customer's words and phrases in the compliance matrix. Do not paraphrase or substitute your own preferred terms Begin each item with the action verb used in the bid request, 7. Keep the compliance matrix up to date throughout the proposal process. Building the compliance matrix is part of proposal planning, but it must be continually updated throughout the proposal process. 8. Submit a response matrix with your proposal. A response matrix is a simplified version of your compliance matrix. It is a derivative of the compliance matrix that shows where a given requirement is answered. It serves as a roadmap for elevators to easly connect each proposal section to its respective compliance items. This matrix identifies where in the proposal you have addressed the solicitation requirements. 9. Enhance compliance with responsiveness. Before completing a compliance matrix, carefully review all "partially comply" and "non-comply" responses against customer requirements. If possi­ble, update responses to comply as closely as you can. "Nice to haves" are additional requirements that are usually important for only a part of the customer's organization. 10. Use the compliance matrix as a selling tool. RFPs typically don't specify a compliance matrix format. (If they do, follow it explicitly.) This means you can use the compliance matrix as more than just an index-you can use it to sell. Construct a compliance matrix that doesn't merely state the requirements and directions to the response (more work for the evaluator), but contains a brief statement of the proof of the compliance (less work for the evaluator) that also reiterates a win theme or discriminator (selling the solution). Make the layout of the compliance matrix as user-friendly as possible. Having requirements and responses in separate columns can result in hard-to-read layouts, especially if the requirement is long and detailed. One way to work around this is to design a table that lines up the Requirement in one row and Response in the row below, then shade the response a different color than the requirement. Make it easy to read, and make the summaries brief and concise.

3.1.3. Summary A compliance matrix is both a guide to the evaluator and a checklist for the Proposal Manager to make sure every requirement is answered. Compliance matrices can also serve as a guide to writers. They should be created early in the proposal process, before writing begins. The compliance matrix also serves as a response assignment matrix for the Proposal Manager to effectively manage and follow up on responses from different stakeholders. A good compliance matrix ensures that all customer requirements have been answered and provides the customer an easy guide for understanding the response. A compliance matrix should always be used in any proposal in any industry. Proposal developers can develop a compliance matrix by shredding an RFP line by line.

3.1.4. Terms to Know Compliance Matrix Compliant versus Responsive Response Matrix

3.2. 13. Proposal Organization

3.2.1. Introduction Proposal evaluators often scan rather than carefully read proposals to find the answers they need. For this reason, information should be easy to locate and understand. Proposals that are well organized and easy to understand have the following attributes: They provide a roadmap to how the proposal is organized. They make key points for evaporators to identify and understand. They are written from the customer's point of view, evidenced in the organization scheme. They tell customers what is important to them. Theu use multiple highlighting techniques (headings, roadmaps, graphics, etc.) to enable evaluators to scan the document and locate the information theu need.

3.2.2. Best Practices 1. Plan content before you write. Content plans are essential in team writing efforts. Use key team members to build the content plan. Content plans help writers plan and structure their thinking before beginning to write It also captures proposal strategies and shows writers where and how to include the strategies in written content Carefully planning can ensure you have clearly communicated your win themes and are on track to producing a compliant, consistent proposal Draft value propositions and include these in content plans. A few common planning tools are 2. Organize your bid or proposal according to the customer's instructions. Use the exact headings from the bid request. and include all sections that the customer requires. Prepare a top-level, topical outline that follows the prospect 's organizational priority Mimic the numbering system, naming conventions, and order listed in the bid request. 3. Make information easy for evaluators to find. The introduction to the proposal and all subsequent sections should provide a roadmap for what follows. Plan summaries at all levels of the proposal to reinforce key information Headings are a key way to direct evaluators to information. They clearly mark when you are moving from/to the next key point. Use headings to organize and announce content. Use both telegraphic headings and informative headings throughout the proposal Executive Summary 4. Use a structure that Layers information for the reader. For responses in which you have some flexibility, structure your points in a way that "layers" information for the reader Begin by introducing a topic (e.g., your solution) and explaining it at a high level. Gradually add to your explanation with supporting facts and claims (these could be the features and benefits of your solution). Next, give proof for your claims with examples, case studies, and other details (e.g., descriptions of your past performance). Finally, write a conclusion that summarizes your main points and reinforces your position. 5. Group similar ideas and avoid redundancy. To limit confusion, examine an RFP before writing and use content plans to help writers identify and group similar ideas. If an RFP does not require a particular structure, group similar ideas together and eliminate redundancies. If the RFP has specific instructions for response structure, use the following guidelines: 6. Put the most important points first. This technique helps busy proposal reviewers, who want to get to the heart of your solution as quickly as they can. The faster you can give them a compliant response, the faster they can score the question and move on.

3.2.3. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions Writing before planning Ideally, teams should plan proposals using a content planning tool to organize their most important points. Only when a solution is fully planned, organized, and illustrated should the team begin to write. Content planning doesn't have to be complicated-it simply means thinking before you write.

3.2.4. Summary Content planning matters because proposal evaluators are short on time. The more easily they can get the information they need from your proposal, the better. Proposals should be organized with customers in mind, following their requirements and making navigation simple. One way to make reviewers' jobs easier is to put the most important information first, followed by less critical information. Content planning should always precede actual writing. In fact, the writing stage should come last.

3.2.5. Terms to Know

3.3. 14. Persuasive Writing

3.3.1. Introduction Well-written proposals draw on the techniques of persuasive writing. Proposal writers and managers can Learn and apply persuasive writing techniques to win business and build partnerships. Persuasive writing is: Personal. About probabilities. Conclusive.

3.3.2. Best Practices 1. Know your audience so you can use the right techniques to match their perspectives. Persuasive writing is all about the audience. Be specific. Make it personal. Find common values. 2. Apply the traditional rhetorical principles of argument. your proposals will be more persuasive if you build them in a logical sequence The rhetorical structure makes perfect, logical sense: Establish the validity of your proposal with Logic Appeal to the emotions of your audience Figure 3. Anticipate your readers' questions so you can remove reasons for rejection. 4. Apply Cialdini's Weapons of Influence to hone your arguments with Lessons from modern behavioral science. Persuasion is presenting a case in such a way as to sway the opinion of others, make people believe certain information, or motivate a decision. Influence is having a vision of the optimum outcome for a situation or organization and then, motivating people to work together toward making the vision a reality." Weapons of Influence Figure 5. Use graphics and multimedia to immerse your audience in the potential of your solution. Graphics are powerful tools for persuading audiences. Graphic design influences:

3.3.3. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions Importance of asking for what you want

3.3.4. Summary Persuasive writing is completely about the reader. Craft every strategy, theme, section, and line with the reader in mind. Rely on the classic techniques of persuasion and adapt and enhance them using research in human behavior. innovatlvely apply sound graphical design and multimedia technologies to persuade tech- and media savvy audiences. Adapt your use of persuasive techniques to match the cultural backgrounds of your audiences.

3.3.5. Terms to Know Principles of Influence Rhetoric

3.4. 15. Writing Clearly

3.4.1. Introduction If your writing is clear, your readers probably won't notice The root cause of unclear business communication is style, not form or grammar.

3.4.2. Best Practices 1. Tell stories. "Storytelling is fundamental to human behavior. No other form of prose can communicate large amounts of information so quickly and persuasively." 2. Write Like you talk. Use simple words with precision Use jargon only when it's clearly to your advantage to do so Build intimacy with your reader through personal pronouns. Use contractions as needed to create an informal, friendly tone Use a variety of punctuation to engage readers. 3. Write tight. State your idea up front and make sure everything else relates. Provide a point statement for a powerful takeaway. Keep paragraphs short. Tie your sentences together to make unified paragraphs. Use only the words your readers need. Watch out for Long strings of nouns in succession, or "noun stacks." Use concrete images and precise measures. Be consistent when using technical terms. Stay positive. 4. Show your document's structure Write informative headings. 5. Plan to revise.

3.4.3. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions Using proposals as technical references Many proposal contributors and even some proposal managers think that proposal content must be the dense, complex, and jargon-ridden prose of technical manuals because technical experts compose the primary audience or are the key influencers for decisions. Writing proposals in objective, formal language

3.4.4. Summary Follow the principles of clear writing and plain language to improve your chances of winning business. Understand that all readers appreciate clear writing, even technical experts, keeping in mind that teams of analysts from a variety of backgrounds and expertise assess proposals. Investigate ways to incorporate modern multimedia techniques (video, animation, interactive demonstrations) to keep up with communication trends. Analyze and understand your readers so you can anticipate their needs, write to their expectations, and accommodate their communication and cultural preferences. Revise your work to reduce the cost of rework, to test the validity of your ideas revealed by plain language, and to ensure the integrity of your content.

3.4.5. Terms to Know Active/Passive Voice Nominalization Noun Stack Style Sheet Transitions

3.5. 16. Headings

3.5.1. Introduction Headings help evaluators quickly understand your proposal's organization and key points. Effective headings Give readers an overview of the story of your proposal and can help you earn higher evaluation scores. Effective headings highlight your solution's benefits and discriminators. Should convey a clear message, Capture the reader's attention, Address evaluators' hot buttons or specific requirements. Headings accomplish the following goals: Break large amounts of text into smaller, more manageable sections Make important information easy to locate Simplify complicated information Make your proposal easier to score Guide readers through your "proposal story

3.5.2. Best Practices 1. Follow exact bid request instructions for proposal headings, including heading content, numbering scheme, and heading Levels 2. Use an informal table of contents. Including an introductory paragraph at the beginning of each section aids clear responses and gives evaluators an idea of what information to expect in the section that follows. Proposal professionals refer to this paragraph as an informal table of contents or section introduction. Review this introductory section every time you edit a section or heading in the proposal content. Ensure omissions or additions to the write-up are reflected in the informal table of contents. Example 3. Use headings to convey key benefits and discriminators. 4. Use informative and telegraphic headings as appropriate. 5. Use verb headings to convey action and noun headings to demonstrate your purpose. Verbs Noun 6. Create a clear hierarchy of information. Numbered headings help evaluators find responses to requirements in longer proposals (more than 10 pages). However, headings with more than three levels can create confusion. After level three, use run-in headings to give a similar effect to a new subheading without creating additional heading levels. A run-in heading may be in boldface or a large font; text follows after a period or a colon and a space. 7. Maintain consistency throughout your document. Headings can be aligned right or left, centered, indented, or presented as run-in headings. No matter what style you choose, ensure headings at the same level are consistent throughout your proposal.

3.5.3. Summary Effective headings attract readers' attention, tell them what to expect in subsequent sections, and help evaluators find responses to specific questions easily. Where possible, use the exact headings listed in the RFP, especially i n government proposals. The most effective headings are informative, numbered, and consistent in structure. Verb headings express action and noun headings state a purpose. Make your subheadings identical with the topics listed in your introductory sections. Review the listed topics every time you modify your text. Consistency in heading styles is critical; proposal producers should create their own libraries of heading styles.

3.5.4. Terms to Know Benefit Discriminator Feature Hot Buttons Informative Heading Telegraphic Heading Value Proposition

3.6. 17. Graphics and Action Captions

3.6.1. Introduction Graphics and action captions make complex content easier to understand and remember. Clear, compelling, audience-focused graphics and action captions improve win rates. Visual aids are 43 percent more persuasive than those that do not. Research shows: Graphics lead to a more profound and accurate understanding of presented material. Graphics grab our attention and may influence how (and whether) we attend to the rest of a story. Graphics enhance or affect emotions and attitudes, and emotions influence the very mechanisms of rational thinking. The combination of graphics and words has a communicative power that neither singularly possesses

3.6.2. Best Practices 1. Know when, where, and why to use graphics and action captions. It's best to create graphics and action captions before you write a proposal Begin with an action caption, then create supporting graphics .. then, use the graphics and captions as a roadmap for writing. Making graphics first ensures the team is on the same page, There are three situations in which proposal graphics are especially important: To improve your likelihood of winning, make your proposal easy to review and evaluate. Here are a few ways to do this: 2. Write action captions and conceptualize graphics before rendering. Your action caption should be the message you want your graphic to convey and should be no longer than one sentence. The simpler you can make an action caption, the better. Actions captions are composed of three parts: Avoid graphic reuse unless on existing graphic is consistent with The Four Steps for Developing Successful Proposal Graphics 3. Understand and use basic design principles. Color. Style. Consistency. Grid. Balance. Shapes. 4. Use templates. A graphic template is a key ingredient to quickly developing quality graphics. The resulting graphics demonstrate that the solution provider is acting as a team with one consistent vision Your template should take into consideration the following variables: 5. Objectively validate your graphics against Content: Aesthetics: 6. Understand copyright Law. If you do not hove permission from the owner of an image, you cannot legally use that image in your proposal. Copyright low stipulates that once on image is created, the owner holds the rights to that image. 7. Know the differences between graphic file formats. Proposal graphics ore usually at a print resolution of 150 to 300 dots per inch, or DPI. Some file formats allow image compression (e.g. , JPG). Compression decreases file size by lowering image quality. Avoid heavy compression when possible. Some file formats allow image compression (e.g. , JPG). Compression decreases file size by lowering image quality. Avoid heavy compression when possible.

3.6.3. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions Using more detail than needed A visual becomes too complicated when the author attempts to convey too many messages in one graphic or includes too much detail. This typically results from a poorly written or missing action caption. Failing to explain yourself An unclear graphic, due to lock of identification and/or explanation, happens when the author erroneously assumes that the customer understands the subject matter on the some level that he or she does. Making design mistakes Poorly rendered graphics result from a lock of design skill . These graphics ore homogeneous at best and unprofessional at worst.

3.6.4. Summary Write customer-focused action captions before conceptualizing and rendering graphics. Create graphics before writing your proposal. Start with a graphic that summarizes your entire proposal (e.g., executive summary) and use it as a roadmap during proposal development. Use on objective, repeatable process and graphic templates to ensure consistency, lower cost, and improve win rotes. Know when and when not to use graphics. Ensure that all aesthetic decisions hove a clear purpose that is consistent with the RFP, audience, and message. Track graphics development to effectively schedule and staff graphics support for future proposals. Understand that the style and professionalism of your graphics reflects your company culture, the professionalism of your company, and the quality of your solution.

3.6.5. Terms to Know Action Caption Aesthetics Balance (Visual) Graphics Template

3.7. 18. Page and Document Design

3.7.1. Introduction A proposal's visual presentation is nearly as important as its content. Application of design principles, combined with clear production timelines, can help you create a compliant and consistent document. The overall design and layout of your proposal documents is critical for communicating your information, making on impression on reviewers and evaluators For starters, documents must: Follow instructions or guidelines from your customer, your company, and/or your writing outline Be aesthetically appealing in on appropriate and professional way Use design techniques to highlight specific text and information Be produced efficiently using the tools and resources available

3.7.2. Best Practices 1. Understand the desktop publisher's role. creating and implementing a document template that is compliant with instructions and applied consistently over all pages or files of a proposal submission insert, label, and number graphics within a document implement a list of figures and tables; coordinate with editors, writers, and graphic designers to ensure consistent style interface with any physical production, including printing and creation of electronic files. 2. Choose the right tools. 3. Create a document template to ensure compliance and consistency. A document template must first be compliant: Second, a document must be consistent. A document template includes 4. Schedule effectively using metrics. Documents may be formatted in parallel to writing/editing Formatting should align with major review cycles and may require reformatting or rechecking of formatting Documents are often formatted several times throughout a proposal review cycle before final formatting, Successful teams track productivity metrics over time 5. Prepare for production. 6. Use graphic elements to create emphasis and guide readers. Beyond being consistent and compliant, proposals should be easy to understand and evaluate This top - down reading or viewing is interrupted by items that contrast with the rest of the page, including items that are 7. Apply six design strategies to create effective Layouts. Contrast Proximity White space Consistency Balance Alignment

3.7.3. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions Presumptions about staffing and resources Inconsistency in document formatting

3.7.4. Summary Ensure your entire team understands that effective, consistent application of page design is critical for improving readability and understanding of information. Always schedule appropriate time for formatting and desktop publishing using metrics and based around major reviews. Develop a document template based on customer requirements and corporate brand standards with defined and repeatable processes/procedures early, and communicate templates clearly to your team. Train your team and stay up to date on software/application trends; don't expect teammates to understand how a piece of software works simply because it is on their computer.

3.8. 19. Cost and Pricing Data

3.8.1. Introduction Cost and pricing data are developed based on past performance and customers' perceptions of value. Cost and pricing are highly dependent on the setting Pricing may differs between government and commercial settings because bids for government agencies often have strict regulations regarding pricing data. Before you consider bidding for a government procurement, be sure you understand acquisition rules and regulations Showing what your price comprises demonstrates your logical approach and gives credibility to your proposal

3.8.2. Best Practices 1. Distinguish between price, value, and added value. Price is what you charge a customer for a product or service. Value is what your customer perceives your product or service is worth. Added value is defined as the difference between the customer's perceived value of a solution and the price they pay , plus any implementation costs The following is usually true of winning prices 2. Present cost and pricing data in a summary form Presenting a cost section executive summary is essential to gaining credibility and making your value proposition a complete circle with the technical proposal. In your summary, make sure you reach as many of these objectives as possible: 3. Use graphics to clearly convey value. Use graphics, tables. and charts to quickly give the reader a snapshot of the message you are delivering. suggested methods to present cost and pricing data 4. Quantify all claims with measurable data To substantiate your cost or pricing data, you must present facts. Your facts not only validate what you are claiming and lend credibility to your organization Justify and build your case for your costs with your past performance historical information. Bottom-up Pricing Cost analysts rank estimated rationale in the following order, from most to least reliable:

3.8.3. Summary Cost and pricing data must be based on facts rather than judgment. To add value, you must know what your customer considers valuable. Use customer intelligence to shape your proposal pricing. A quick and easy way to convey value is by using graphics. Choose the right graphic for the data you need to display. The cost executive summary is crucial to gaining credibility with the evaluator and making your value proposition sell.

3.8.4. Terms to Know Cost Section Pricing, Bottom-Up Pricing, Top-Down

3.9. 20. Proactive Proposals

3.9.1. Introduction Proactive proposal(s) are submitted without a formal customer request. Vendors can use them to address unmet customer needs generated after an informal discussion with a customer, such as a sales visit or phone call might be disguised as Other terms for a proactive proposal are sales letter sales commercial unsolicited

3.9.2. Best Practices 1. Confirm customer interest in your solution. Preparing and submitting an unsolicited proposal has about the same probability of success as a mass or bulk mailing (near zero). However, a proactive proposal might be a best practice under the following conditions: 2. Determine your objective and design your proposal around achieving it. To develop the most effective proactive proposal possible, you must define your objective more precisely. If your objective is to persuade this customer to forgo competitive bidding, then focus on the opportunity cost of delayed implementation. If your objective is to persuade this customer to meet, then proposing a complete solution is premature 3. Organize according to the customer's hot-button issues, without customer direction. Address these fundamental elements of persuasive writing in your proactive proposals: Consider two organizational patterns: 4. Use graphics with action captions to differentiate your proposal. 5. Limit attached or appended materials. Attached information dilutes your message and discourages readers confronting what appears to be a Large document. Instead, List additional materials that are available and explain how they can be viewed or obtained.

3.9.3. Summary Confirm a customer's interest before determining whether to prepare and submit a proactive proposal. Limit your proposal to the content necessary to advance this sale. Adopt a customer-focused document organization, either as requested or according to the customer's hot-button issues. Use graphics with action captions to convey persuasive information efficiently and effectively. If content does not directly support your objective, eliminate it, either reserving it for a subsequent client request or noting where customers can access supporting material at their convenience.

3.9.4. Terms to Know Action Caption Benefit Compliant Versus Responsive Customer Issues Feature Graphics Hot Buttons Informative Heading Persuasive Writing Proactive Proposal

4. Part 3: Manage Processes

4.1. 21. End-to-end Process

4.1.1. Introduction An end-to-end process is a systematic series of actions or steps directed toward a specific end. Organizations that consistently follow a defined business development process: win more business and use fewer investment resources The impetus to reengineer an organizations BD process often stems from situations such as: Merged or restructured organizations Changes in management Sale of the organization Failure to meet sales or win-rate goals Loss of key customers or contracts Staffing fluctuations Maturing markets Analysts' concerns affecting stock price There is no one-size-fits-all process model Due to the variability of the buying-selling cycle in various markets, there is no one-size-fits-all process model. What works for a complex, multisector company may not work for a company whose proposal department consists of only one or two people Every organization should design its own end-to-end BD process suited to its organization and customers-and gain senior executive support. Generalized BD process Common features that will pertain to most end-to-end processes include: BD Phases Figure Bid Decisions. Progressing from one phase to the next is determined by bid decisions, sometimes referred to as gate decisions. These decisions are led by executives and address business and strategic issues. Their primary purpose is to help teams make decisions regarding allocation or withdrawal of BD resources. Disciplined bid decisions reduce BD costs by avoiding investment in low-probability opportunities. The most successful organizations tend to bid less and win more The major questions considered at each decision point are listed in the table below. major questions considered at each decision Figure Team Reviews. Team reviews are aimed at improving the quality of thinking and documentation of a pursuit. The team reviews and expected outcomes Outputs Outputs are developed in each phase and become inputs to the next phase. Beware of outputs required for no justifiable reason. If an output does not contribute to advancing the effort, you should eliminate it. Outputs and their contents Additional Elements on end-to-end BD process The customer's buying process Notional timeframes for phases, decisions, reviews, and outputs Defined goals for each phase Critical business decisions for each phase Listing of activities embedded within each phase Indication of accountable roles for all activities Listing of tools, templates, and other aids associated with each activity Notation of changes to pipeline status, CRM, or other tracking systems

4.1.2. Best Practices 1. Create a documented, unified process. BD-CMM Organizations with a defined end-to-end BD process realize significant benefits: In the absence of a defined BD process, To achieve the second level of maturity (Repeatable), the organization must at least have a repeatable process for response generation. At level three (Defined), a defined BD process allows teams of business developers with organizational competencies to focus on developing a winning solution guided by a shared understanding of process and roles. When the BD process has been fully integrated with corporate operations, the benefits of levels four (Managed) and five (Optimizing) maturity can be realized. 2. Align with the customer's buying cycle. The customer's interests, priorities, and accessibility vary across their buying cycle Create phases in the BD process that include activities responsive to the customer at each phase Generic buying cycle: 3. Make the process flexible and scalable. The end-to-end process provides a baseline for designing a BD process tailored to any organization. Tailoring begins by determining who the primary customers are. Are they governmental bodies (business-to-government) [B2G]) or other companies (business-to-business [B2B])? A flexible process implies that phases, bid decisions, and team reviews are included based on the opportunity categories. Commercial Business Development Process 4. Clearly define roles. Distinguish between roles and positions. Identify supporting organizations. 5. Develop needed staff competencies. Rely on the competencies for "Proposal Managers" and "Opportunity Managers" identified by APMP as a baseline for establishing a training plan. 6. Ensure consistent, disciplined use. Designing and developing an end-to-end BD process is a straightforward task that most organizations can accomplish relatively quickly. Even smaller organizations can adopt an existing process rather than continuing with ad hoc operations. implementing and sustaining an effective BD process requires management focus and continuous effort. Barriers include to BD is To succeed, the launch of a new BD process must include a change-management plan. This plan must take into account the predictable stages that most individuals experience when faced with change. Change management is a significant challenge and those attempting it should take advantage of guidance from experts in the field.

4.1.3. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions Lack of discipline and accountability an organization must have the discipline to "walk the walk" and not just "talk the talk." This begins with executive leadership Lack of support with tools and training The very best BD process will not be successful if it is not supported with appropriate tools and training. Corporate inertia and changing priorities

4.1.4. Summary A defined end-to-end BD process is critical to achieving high levels of BD capability. It is composed of a series of phases, decisions, reviews, and outputs. The generic end-to-end process introduces the principles and best practices common across selling environments. Organizations must develop tailored end-to-end processes that best support their company and their customers. For an end-to-end BD process to be successful, a proactive change-management plan must support its implementation.

4.1.5. Terms to Know Best and Final Offer (BAFO) Bid Decisions (General) Bid/No-Bid Decision Bid Pursuit Decision Bid Validation Decision Business Case Review/Senior Management Review Business Development Phases Competitive Intelligence Competitor Review Content Plan Delivery Executive Surnmoru Final Document Review Lessons Learned Review Market Identification Market Strategy Opportunity Plan Opportunity Plan Review Opportunity Qualification Decision Pricing Strategy Proposal Proposal Development Proposal Outline Proposal Planning Proposal Responsibility Matrix Proposal Strctequ Review Response Matrix Reviews (General) Role (Relationship of Roles to Job Titles) Style Sheet

4.2. 22. Gate Decisions

4.2.1. Introduction A disciplined gate process is required to make effective decisions on whether to compete for business and can help organizations increase their win probability. Bid decisions ore aimed at eliminating opportunities or soles leads with a low win probability, thus permitting stronger focus on opportunities with a higher win probability. organizations should only pursue opportunities with a reasonable probability of win. These important concepts drive successful gate-decision processes: Organizations view gate decisions as critical to Decisions to continue pursuits or to abandon opportunities are made at the gate-decision reviews. Opportunities are qualified by Gate decisions have a regular schedule on the organizational calendar that people understand and adhere to. A formal team is established and tailored to the value and risk of the bid. All gate decisions focus on answering three basic questions about a business opportunity:

4.2.2. Best Practices 1. Make a series of gate decisions. Gate decisions must be organized to achieve organizational objectives related to winning business and managing the cost of winning business. Gate decisions ore normally organized around the following milestones related to business opportunities: Gate decisions 2. Standardize company templates and schedules. Standardized templates and schedules promote effective decisionmaking. Meeting dates are known, expectations are set, and information to be presented for the decision is defined and understood. In large organizations, gate decisions are generally scheduled for a consistent day, time, and location. An opportunity plan template is used both for developing the opportunity plan and making gate decisions. 3. Set expectations for information maturation across the gate-decision cycle. Organizations must set reasonable expectations for information quality and maturity at various gate decisions. As the opportunity matures, more information is expected 4. Determine bid and proposal investment. Gate decisions often focus on "is it worth it?" Cost should always be determined based on what it will cost to win, not what it will cost to bid Cost should include labor, other direct costs (consultants), travel, and incidentals required to develop and submit a winning bid. 5. Establish company-appropriate decision criteria. Most organizations develop first-order decision criteria to enable the rapid elimination of opportunities that do not contribute significantly to the organization's annual and strategic business objectives Examples of these first-order metrics include: 6. Determine probability of win and probability of go. Probability of win and probability of go are broad-based calculations of an organization's likelihood of winning an opportunity. They are generally expressed as Probability of win Probability of go Industry-standard calculators can help with these analyses and are available from multiple sources. 7. Understand who is responsible for gate decisions. The leadership and presentation role changes at gate decisions as the opportunity progresses. For the pursuit, the assigned Opportunity Manager assumes the lead and generally maintains it through the final review. 8. Follow up on action items related to gate decisions. Successful gate decisions depend on recording and following up on action items that fall out of gate decision reviews. This affects opportunities receiving a "proceed" decision at the gate Overview of gate decisions and the end-to-end BD process.

4.2.3. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions All opportunity information is known at the beginning of the cycle. → Set information maturity expectations for each review. Strategy should remain static throughout decisions. → Win strategy is key and should be reassessed at every review. You can't win a Low probability of win deal if you start early. → The right actions can make low probability of win deals high probability of win deals. You can't Lose a high probability of win deal if you start Late. → A late start equals lower probability of win. Probability of go has no value in the decision to pursue or not. → If a bid does not generate revenue, you cannot gain ROI. Resourcing is unimportant in probability of win calculations. → Subpar teams do not often win. Gates can be treated as reviews rather than decision points. → Deferring decisions wastes time and money. Gate-decision quality is not indicative of probability of win → Strategy rules. Bad strategy is often associated with low probability of win. Price-to-win can come Late in the gate process. → Competitive pricing strategy must come early to match the solution presented.

4.2.4. Summary Gate decisions are a key component of the business development lifecycle. Gate decisions prevent businesses from unnecessarily expending resources on bids they have a low probability of winning. Consistent decision criteria can help organizations make decisions effectively. Two important criteria are probability of win and probability of go, or the likelihood that a customer will actually proceed with a funded program upon making an award decision.

4.2.5. Terms to Know Bid Decisions Probability of Go Probability of Win Win Rate

4.3. 23. Kickoff Meeting Management

4.3.1. Introduction Kickoff meetings are a team's introduction to a proposal effort. A successful kickoff sets the stage for a successful proposal response. A kickoff meeting is an early, major milestone in a proposal response. It is included in the proposal management plan and should take place after RFP release. The Proposal Manager generally leads kickoff meetings, supported by the Opportunity Manager.

4.3.2. Best Practices 1. Understand when and why to conduct kickoff meetings. Schedule kickoff meetings about 15 percent into the response timeframe Plan the meeting using The salesperson should explain At this meeting, distribute a draft executive summary. Kickoff meetings should be Kickoff meetings have the following objectives: A sample checklist can be used to plan a successful kickoff meeting. Figure: The Goals of a Successful Kickoff Meeting 2. Develop necessary materials prior to a kickoff meeting. Documents that must be in place in advance of a kickoff meeting: Materials that should be included in a kickoff meeting. 3. Include all team members. This includes The kickoff meeting is when lines of authority are established and roles and responsibilities defined and shared 4. Stick to a schedule The first part of the kickoff meeting is an overview of the program The second half of the kickoff meeting is delivered by the "Proposal Manager" Participants should walk away from this meeting with a complete understanding of the time frame and how this response will be completed Sample Kickoff Meeting Agenda with Roles and Responsibilities 5. Adjust operating procedures for virtual kickoff meetings Pay additional attention to planning the kickoff call. Confirm understanding and commitment with the team after each schedule item. Be sure every participant understands his or her role and tasks. Check progress more frequently than you would with a co-located team. You need to replace your physical presence with both individual and group support. Use email, calls, and quick check-ins. Your collaboration system can give you alerts, but will not provide the coaching and hands-on support to keep morale high and fix issues

4.3.3. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions Confusing kickoff with initial planning meeting The kickoff meeting should not be confused with the initial planning meeting. An initial planning meeting should be an internal meeting with core team members immediately after the RFP is released The outcomes and directions of this initial planning are the inputs to the kickoff meeting. Not allowing sufficient time to plan a kickoff Considerable time needs to be spent preparing for the kickoff. Having a kickoff meeting as quickly as possible after the release of the catalyst documents can set the team up for failure if key information and guidance is missing

4.3.4. Summary A successful kickoff meeting is the cornerstone for a successful proposal response. Kickoff meetings are a team's introduction to a project. They provide team members an overview of Strategies to accomplish the mission, Infrastructure for efficiency in sharing content. Solution Meetings should be attended by all proposal contributors, including a C-level sponsor. During the meeting, several key documents should be shared and presented, allowing all members to start from the same page.

4.3.5. Terms to Know

4.4. 24. Daily Team Management

4.4.1. Introduction Day-to-day management is the engine at the center of all successful proposals. helps everyone focus on what is important keeps the entire team moving towards the ultimate objective: delivering a winning proposal. The Proposal Manager Has to walk the line between injecting structure and formality where it is needed Know when to allow the proposal to run on its own

4.4.2. Best Practices 1. Make sure that daily activities are consistent with a written proposal management plan. A Proposal Management Plan Each proposal activities must relate to the proposal management plan. The Proposal and Opportunity Manager have a responsibility to make an up-to-date version of the plan available to everyone on the team. Adherence to a plan ensures that everyone on the team moves in the same direction 2. Conduct a short, daily stand-up review or call. The participants in the review should include team members with accountability for proposal sections and functions, as well as the support team. Proposal and Opportunity Manager Use a standard stand-up meeting agenda to keep meetings on track 3. Identify roadblocks on the daily stand-up or call, but resolve them outside of the daily review in a smaller meeting. 4. Track actions with imminent deadlines or long lead times on the daily stand-up and track other actions outside of the stand up. The proposal schedule and the proposal management plan together drive daily priorities, but day to day activities should be driven by near-term interim deadlines For smaller, embedded sub-tasks or action items that ore not milestones in and of themselves, but ore on the critical path, use a written action-item tracking matrix to document progress and close out 5. Listen for potential problems that are not always articulated clearly. 6. Clarify roles and responsibilities to avoid duplication of effort and ensure complete coverage of all proposal functions. 7. Track activities enough to be able to show progress, but not in so much detail that the tracking interferes with the development of content. 8. Use appropriate techniques to keep the team motivated and productive.

4.4.3. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions Overreliance on virtual communication Failure to ask questions of team members

4.4.4. Summary The daily discipline of tracking of progress and escalating problems is critical to completing a winning proposal on time and within budget. Use and update a proposal plan to guide teams' activities. Conduct daily stand-up reviews to assess team members' progress against assigned tasks. Adjust the specifics to suit the particulars of the environment and the proposal, but maintain consistency and transparency. day-to-day team management entails not just tracking the status of tasks but also prioritization based on an understanding of the big picture.

4.4.5. Terms to Know Daily Stand-Up Review Proposal Management Plan

4.5. 25. Review Management

4.5.1. Introduction Structured and timely reviews throughout the proposal process ensure compliance completeness higher probability of winning bids. Good reviews result in actionable improvements that increase probability of win on opportunity pursuits.

4.5.2. Best Practices 1. Use appropriate reviews to improve the quality of your bid. Reviews A key element of the BD process is a series of appropriately timed reviews Figure: Matured BD reviews. 2. Set up each review to answer a series of key questions. Figure: Team Reviews and the BD Lifecycle Competitor Review Opportunity Plan Review Proposal Strategy Review Final Document Review 3. Adhere to the following guidelines for more effective review management. Standardize company review templates. Establish review teams early. Select the right review team Lead. Keep the same core team throughout the review cycle. Incorporate teammates into reviews. Use consultants in reviews as needed. Conduct effective review kickoffs and debriefings Record comments and decide which to incorporate. Use subreviews effectively. Debrief management on review results.

4.5.3. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions Reviews are just a "check-the-box" exercise. Little value comes from reviews. Reviewing late in the proposal cycle is all right You can cut review time to gain time for authors. Reviews can be planned quickly and easily. Anybody can be a good reviewer. The Proposal or Opportunity Manager should lead the review. Executives should not be part of the review team. Subject matter experts have more important things to do than review. You don't need to review price proposals as carefully as other volumes

4.5.4. Summary Reviews should be timed appropriately to allow sufficient time for proposal team members to incorporate reviewers' comments. All reviews should have a review team lead who understands the customer and can keep team members on track. Organizations should keep the same core team throughout all functional reviews, adding team members with subject matter expertise as needed. Most reviews are associated with corresponding bid decisions.

4.5.5. Terms to Know Functional Reviews Review Team Lead Subreviews

4.6. 26. Production Management

4.6.1. Introduction Production management is the process of getting a proposal formatted, published, and delivered to a customer. Although it occurs at the end of a proposal process, teams should begin planning for production as soon as preliminary production needs are known Although production activities require significant time, effort, and attention to detail, their ultimate success depends on the planning activities initiated long before proposal writing and functional reviews begin.

4.6.2. Best Practices 1. Begin planning for production during the pre-RFP stage. Be sure to: Use the production, editing, and printing checklists included as tools and templates for this section in the APMP BOK Allow approximately 10 percent of your available proposal development time for production efforts, Carefully read and reread RFP instructions. Confirm instructions and any relevant amendments prior to production Planning for production activities early in the proposal lifecyle allows you to identify gaps or shortcomings in your team's production capabilities, tools, equipment, facilities, and personnel, 2. Assign responsibilities for key roles involved in proposal production early. Proposal production requires 3. Scale your proposal production plan based on proposal size and complexity and on your organization's size and capabilities. 4. Consider outsourcing proposal production. 5. Carefully plan contingencies to mitigate risks for final delivery Always plan to submit a day early, and train your management to understand the need for this schedule. Be sure to implement 6. Maintain senior management visibility to ensure support throughout the production process. 7. Ensure version control in all phases of the proposal development Lifecycle. 8. Do not make Last-minute changes to your proposal.

4.6.3. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions Failure to plan adequately

4.6.4. Summary Begin planning for production during the pre-RFP stage. The more time and attention you pay early on to planning for proposal production, the more smoothly and professionally your proposal productions will run. Assign proposal production resources early, including people, facilities, and equipment. Scale your production plan based on proposal size and complexity, as well as your organization's size and capabilities. Ensure that the proposal complies with stipulated font size and formatting instructions. Make contingency and backup plans for all aspects of your proposal production efforts. Maintain version control of all proposal text and graphics. Not doing so can completely derail your production effort, jeopardizing compliant and on-time proposal delivery. Make no last-minute changes to a proposal unless not doing so would cause you to deliver a non compliant product and thereby lose the proposal.

4.6.5. Terms to Know Contingency Plan Functional Reviews Production Manager Proposal Coordinator Proposal Desktop Publisher Proposal Development Proposal Editor Proposal Graphic Designer Proposal Management Proposal Manager Teaming Partners

4.7. 27. Virtual Team Management

4.7.1. Introduction Virtual teams are those that interact through electronic means. can also include peripheral team members, such as SMEs, and team members from partner companies. Although they have the same governing principles, their effective management requires special consideration. Advantages Can use time differences to be productive during other team members' downtime Provide flexibility and increase knowledge sharing; organizations have more resource options when they can include anyone in the world Increase productivity Are cost effective Meet green initiatives Disadvantages: Feelings of isolation and restlessness Cultural clashes Loss of team spirit Overwork Lack of

4.7.2. Best Practices 1. Create a virtual proposal center. The first step to take before you hold a proposal kickoff meeting is to evaluate the RFP. Next: A good virtual proposal center is easy to use, access, and administer. It push information such as: Tools may include: 2. Set a foundation for clear communication. Ask all team members a few critical questions, including: What version of software do they run What is their technology Level/experience? What are their vacations/holiday schedules? What hours will they work? What is their preferred form of communication? 3. Communicate clearly by email and phone To improve email communication: Use these techniques include to strengthen communication and build rapport among teams. 4. Conduct virtual reviews Kickoff Meeting Daily Stand-Up Review Document Reviews 5. Close out projects upon completion.

4.7.3. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions Insufficient infrastructure and communication Failing to build rapport among team members Be sure to regularly acknowledge all team members. Otherwise, they may feel their contribution is not sufficiently valued, which could, in turn, affect the quality of the finished bid.

4.7.4. Summary In leading a virtual proposal team, build trust and rapport through regular communication and interaction. Picking up the phone and speaking to people is ideal. Encourage contributors to do the same, using their contact list. Virtual teams have the same goals and are governed by the same principles as traditional proposal teams. What differs is simply the ways in which they communicate. A virtual proposal center provides a central "hub" where your team can access and share project information. Other digital tools, such as screen sharing and video conferencing, can facilitate communication among team members. Proposal Managers should keep in mind considerations such as differing time zones, software compatibility issues, and team members' familiarity with various technologies when managing virtual teams.

4.7.5. Terms to Know Daily Stand-Up Review Kickoff Meeting

4.8. 28. Lessons Learned Analysis and Management

4.8.1. Introduction Lessons Learned are gathered from your team and your customer after an award decision has been made. They are a way to improve your team's strategies and processes in response to wins and Losses alike. Producing winning bids requires a willingness to learn from experiences, both positive and negative. Debriefing The internal debriefing should be held soon after bid submission, you can learn: The customer debriefing should be held after the customer has made a final award decision, you can learn: Lessons-learned reviews should be held on all major engagements soon after they are submitted. The depth and frequency of reviews should be tailored to the setting and organizational maturity. should typically be gathered and applied in the following order: Organizations that learn from their previous pursuit experiences see more wins in the marketplace

4.8.2. Best Practices 1. Conduct an internal Lessons-Learned review to determine how to improve opportunity planning and proposal development processes. Your review team should answer the following questions: For participants to provide constructive feedback, create an atmosphere devoid of blame; focus on the project, not the people An Opportunity Manager or Bid/Proposal Manager should lead and facilitate the internal lessons-learned review. During the review, solicit feedback from all internal personnel who supported the entire BD effort, including: 2. Conduct a customer-focused lessons-learned review to determine how well you understood the customer's perspective. The purpose of the customer-focused lessons-learned review is to determine whether your organization effectively captured the customer's perspective in the opportunity planning phase and converted that assessment into the final proposal for the customer. During this review, focus on how to improve collection and analysis of opportunity-specific information and how to incorporate that information into a proposal This review should begin with a customer debriefing. A face-to-face or phone debriefing with the customer should be led by the sales executive in charge of the opportunity. Follow these tips for effective debriefings: Follow up the customer debriefing with an internal analysis of the feedback and a lessons-learned session focused on the results of the analysis. This session should answer the following questions: The following members of your team should attend the customer-focused lessons-learned review: 3. Use a structured approach to conduct and follow up on Lessons-Learned sessions. Give participants advance notice. During the session, the session leader should: Encourage all participants to provide constructive feedback along with appropriate solutions. Allow all voices to be heard. If feedback starts getting personal, the leader should step in and ensure that all feedback is issue based. not personality based. Ensure that the team reaches consensus on the lessons-learned based on feedback. Document lessons learned and provide them to the bid process owner.

4.8.3. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions Misunderstanding the purpose of Lessons Learned Some people think that lessons-learned reviews are for identifying individuals who did not perform well. But this isn't the case. They are about the Others believe that lessons learned are just for the "big team." However, lessons learned should begin when the opportunity is first identified and a pursuit decision is made, and they should continue throughout the entire BD lifecycle. Failure to apply Lessons Learned Organizations should have a plan to harvest and track lessons learned so they are communicated to the responsible stakeholder to promote continuous improvement. Learn to view both wins and losses not as isolated events, but as opportunities to improve.

4.8.4. Summary Organizations that invest in lessons-learned sessions tend to see more wins in the marketplace. Conducting lessons-learned reviews both internally and with your customer can help you understand what went well and what you can improve. Using a consistent post-award debriefing protocol provides valuable trend analysis for what drives wins and losses in your market. Lessons learned are not about dwelling on the past but about winning the next opportunity conditioning the customer and your organization for the future.

4.8.5. Terms to Know Customer Debrief Lessons Learned Review

5. Part 4: Use Tools and Systems

5.1. 29. Opportunity Plans

5.1.1. Introduction Opportunity plans are useful tools for sellers to improve customer positioning, They document: begin by identifying an opportunity, followed by a making a bid pursuit decision and assigning an Opportunity Manager will do approached by Includes the following topics Potential bidders who use opportunity planning may ultimately decide that a favored position is either not possible or not desirable, prompting a no-bid decision long before resources are committed and consumed in preparation of a proposal The Opportunity Manager builds a team appropriate for the bid. can have a variety of titles depending on the setting: For major procurements, opportunity planning could begin 2 years in advance or more. In the case of recompetes of existing contracts, opportunity planning begins at award. A mid-term review is a perfect trigger for in-depth opportunity planning for the next award.

5.1.2. Best Practices 1. Gather and analyze intelligence about the customer and the competition. It is not enough to know: When you have completed this analysis, take the intelligence you have developed and complete a bidder comparison matrix. The next step is to document the strengths and weaknesses of each potential bidder. The best-known way to do this is using a SWOT analysis, but other techniques, such as gap analysis and the chain of differentiation, can be useful in certain situations. 2. Work collaboratively with the customer to craft a solution addressing explicit requirements and hot buttons. The period before the RFP drops is also the time to develop pricing: At this stage, your solution is notional, but should reflect the intelligence developed to date and hopefully position your offer positively with the customer. 3. Develop program, opportunity, and proposal budgets. The strategic importance of the opportunity and your company or team's resources will affect the levels of resources and budgets committed. it may be a good idea to no-bid, or consider switching to a subcontractor position with another firm acting as prime contractor If your company is unable to provide the necessary resources 4. Initiate teaming and make/buy decisions. You can improve your competitive positioning by cementing good partnerships early Teaming can also facilitate make/buy decisions. 5. Conduct opportunity plan and competitor simulation reviews. Opportunity plan reviews and competitor reviews focus on quality improvement. Make certain that reviewers can offer different perspectives on the customer, competitor, and solution. 6. Mock up an executive summary. it serves as a valuable aid to drive transition from opportunity planning to proposal planning Key proposal graphics, such as 7. Guide transition of opportunity plan elements to the proposal plan. A current, up-to-date opportunity plan and mocked-up executive summary effectively front-load proposal planning, saving time and helping you establish a consistent message early. The more you can shorten the final proposal planning timeframe before kickoff, the more time you will have to develop a winning proposal. 8. Develop and Lead decision gate reviews. The number and focus of decision gates depend upon the complexity of the opportunities and company governance processes, but will always include at least a bid/no-bid decision. Good decisions that avoid a bias toward always going forward should be the goal.

5.1.3. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions Focusing on the plan rather than the customer Opportunity plan must be developed collaboratively with a customer. Interacting with the customer during opportunity plan development benefits your company in the long run.

5.1.4. Summary Use opportunity plans to document your work, inform your organization, and facilitate reviews. Tailor and scale opportunity plans to match the opportunity. Start early: "front-loading" proposal planning can give you more time to develop a winning proposal. Remember to do the work, not just "fill out" the opportunity plan. This means working closely with customers to understand their needs. Keep completed opportunity plans for reuse on future deals.

5.1.5. Terms to Know Bid/No -Bid Decision Bidder Comparison Matrix Competitor Review Customer-Focused Writing Customer Positioning Executive Summon, Hot Buttons Opportunitu Plan Opportunitu Plan Review SWOT Win Strategy

5.2. 30. Proposal Management Plans

5.2.1. Introduction Proposal management plans, or bid plans, are used to allocate effort, structure work, and ensure adherence to timelines throughout the proposal development process. This planning is increasingly focused on two key documents: Opportunity plan Proposal management plan (PMP) Plans are now tailored by industry sector and bid size and type.

5.2.2. Best Practices 1. Prepare the PMP before the kickoff meeting, using the opportunity plan as a starting point. The PMP is an evolution of the opportunity plan. In many cases, more than half of an opportunity plan will appear in its corresponding PMP, with the key additions of: Always follow your opportunity plan, unless capture is not used 2. Use plan templates when appropriate. 3. Ensure executive buy-in and support of plans. There are a few ways to foster and support buy-in: Explain to stakeholders how plans can benefit them Ensure respect of plans by all members of the lead organization and any other key bidding partners, especially senior staff (key staff will help set an example for the rest of the team). Clearly identify the owner and updater of the plan (a senior bid team member). Clarify the process of conducting signoffs and sharing changes. Ensure that bid leads and key staff refer to and use plans regularly and visibly 4. Carefully plan and organize content. Use OVERVIEW PLANS to map content at a high Level Use DOCUMENT-BASED PLANS to organize key resources. Use ACTION-BASED PLANS to visualize the proposal process in detail. Use CONTENT PLANS to develop ideas before you write.

5.2.3. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions Allocating too Little time for plan development Bid operations invariably benefit from extra care taken in planning phases. Good plans often require more time than is allocated to be researched and produced in a user-friendly format. Misunderstanding of plans' role A plan should be followed as closely as possible, but must not become an end in itself. The existence of a plan does not mean that it will be followed. Refer to your plan regularly to be sure you are on track toward reaching your goals.

5.2.4. Summary A bid or proposal of any size is a complex project with many tasks to be completed by a strict deadline. These projects benefit from plans that clearly define the schedule and effort needed to complete tasks. Choose the plan type that best fits the opportunity and your organization. Ensure that the plan is owned, understood, and approved by all key proposal personnel. Follow the plan, but not to the exclusion of common sense; allow for modifications as needed.

5.2.5. Terms to Know Opportunity Plan Proposal Management Plan

5.3. 31. Content Plans

5.3.1. Introduction Use content plans to create consistent, compliant, well-organized proposals. Teams should not start writing until there is a clear and shared view of what the finished product will look like. Without a clear specification of what needs to be created, the finished products will be inconsistent, incoherent, and low quality. The approach is no different from best practice on any project or development effort. Plan, define quality criteria, and then execute.

5.3.2. Best Practices 1. Implement a systematic approach to designing content. Follow a simple, clear, and requirements-driven process to design content The term content plan embraces a wide range of techniques such as: The time invested in content planning should match the likely ROI. There should be a surplus of benefits over costs. 2. Adapt the approach to each proposal's situation. Content planning offers the following benefits: No benefits are achieved without costs. The main costs of content planning are the time and effort of the appropriate amount of planning will be determined by the nature of the proposal solicitation and the required response, check attached table Figure: Determining Level of Planning Needed In other situations, the return from detailed planning is determined by the sales situation, Check Figure: Determining Level of Planning Needed 3. Build and manage a requirements baseline for each proposal. To document requirements, use For 4. Create a robust topical outline. Start the content planning process by building a robust topical outline for the proposal Making your outline consistent and compliant Making your outline robust Figure: A Robust Outline 5. Annotate the outline to provide guidance to authors. Provide guidance to contributors by annotating the outline. Annotation can be added in-line to text or in a list Annotation should include 6. Develop detailed content plans for important sections. Apply the "just enough planning" principle. The test of a good content plan is to ask, "Could I give this to the responsible author and expect him or her, using only what is in the plan and the kickoff briefing, to create compliant, responsive, focused content?" For There are many ways to plan detailed content, including: Templates 7. Involve your writing team in content plan creation. If section content plans are to be used, the Proposal Manager, with the support of the proposal team, should develop initial section content plans before kickoff. The Proposal Manager should agree to and sign off on content plans before writing starts. The completed section content plan will provide a "contract" between the Proposal Manager and the contributor, defining what is to be developed. Like outline annotations, sample content plans provide quality criteria for acceptance of all finished content. 8. Review content plans before starting to write. Where time and budget allow, schedule a review of the completed section content plans before writing starts. The content plan review should include all internal stakeholders in the proposal, including: Team review of content plans helps Review Types Consolidate review comments before ending the review meeting so that participants are clear what changes, if any, they should make to their plans. 9. Integrate content plans into the proposal development plan. The outline is the basis for planning proposal development activities. For each unique assignable item in the outline, allocate a responsible developer. From the outline and page budget, decide how many pages and graphics are required for each outline item. Identify how much of the content can be created bid adapting reusable content Use historic metrics collected from previous pursuits to estimate the time and effort required. Metrics 10. Use content plans to monitor quality and progress. Extend the proposal responsibility matrix to show additional details such as Use the resulting product status register to monitor progress and status

5.3.3. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions Not enough planning Introducing new techniques without training and support

5.3.4. Summary Compliant, responsive, focused proposals do not happen by accident. Proposal content must be specified before it is created, and a wide range of techniques is available to support this process of specification. Proposal managers should select and use techniques appropriate to the proposal environment. At a minimum, a robust topical outline should be created as a basis for checking compliance and planning writing tasks. Use more detailed approaches where the opportunity is complex or important. Focus on complying with customer instructions and achieving a clear brief for proposal contributors so that requirements are not missed or duplicated. Set clear writing criteria for authors so they can create winning content that is "customer ready" from the first draft.

5.3.5. Terms to Know Annotated Outline Content Plan Kickoff Meeting Mock-Up Proposal Outline Win Themes

5.4. 32. Knowledge Management

5.4.1. Introduction Knowledge management is getting the best knowledge to the right person at the right time For proposal management (PM) and business development (BD) professionals, this means: is less about technology (storing and retrieving knowledge using databases and search engines) and more about the processes of and more about the processes of creating, classifying, sharing, and improving what we know about what we do. By adopting and applying KM principles, BD and PM organizations can: Convert tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge people can find and use when they need it. Turn disorganized information into reusable knowledge objects classified under a useful taxonomy. Learn how to share know-how, know-why, and know-what with others to improve performance. Distribute knowledge objects as valuable assets that improve efficiency and effectiveness. Three keys challenges of successful KM, especially in the BO and PM worlds, are: Choosing the most relevant knowledge from the sheer volume of information available The variety of tools to manage that information A cultural bias against knowledge sharing To successfully implement KM, you should first distinguish between: KM principles (the guiding concepts crucial to KM success) KM tools and systems KM processes (the tangible assets that make KM work)

5.4.2. Best Practices KM Guiding Principles 1. Gain top-management commitment and sponsorship 2. Start small with quick, Low-cost knowledge management initiatives. 3. Assess your knowledge status through external benchmarking and internal knowledge audits. 4. Establish or join communities of practice for knowledge management. 5. Create a culture that rewards knowledge sharing and transfer. 6. Create standards that promote knowledge re-purposing. KM Systems, and Processes 7. Build the following knowledge management tools, processes, and systems

5.4.3. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions Falsely equating KM with IT Some erroneously equate KM with IT. Although KM is greatly enabled by database, communication, and computer technologies, KM will not succeed through technology alone. KM is

5.4.4. Summary Knowledge is is "understanding gained from experience." KM is getting the best knowledge to the right person at the right time. Both tacit and explicit knowledge are best stored, managed, and delivered when converted to discrete digital objects. BD and PM organizations of any size, in any business setting, anywhere in the world can benefit from application of KM principles. Most KM tools can be scaled or enabled by technology to meet the needs of all BD and PM professionals. KM is more about change management than IT.

5.4.5. Terms to Know After-Action Review Benchmarking Change Management Community of Practice (CoP) Content Management System (CMS) Expert Locator Explicit Knowledge Fundamental Knowledge Object (FKO) Knowledge Audit Knowledge Base Knowledge Cafe Knowledge Management Knowledge Management Heuristic Knowledge Manager Knowledge Map Knowledge Repository Knowledge Sharing Lessons Learned Tacit Knowledge Taxonomy

5.5. 33. Scheduling

5.5.1. Introduction Effectively allocating time and resources across multiple tasks-and communicating and enforcing milestones are essential parts of proposal management. The basic principles of proposal scheduling are consistent with those of good project management. Careful project schedule development and management is the only way to ensure on-time delivery Contingency planning, based on the specifics of the organization, the proposal, and the team, is an essential component of schedule management.

5.5.2. Best Practices Schedule backward, starting with the proposal due date and time. Start with the due date and time. Estimate the total proposal development effort, then schedule delivery and production before scheduling tasks that occur earlier. When you have built in enough time for delivery and production, make a list of the other tasks and subtasks, using as menu levels as necessary to describe the work in detail. Develop realistic time estimates for specific tasks and record these in a proposal resource schedule Allocate time for proposal planning and for establishing the proposal infrastructure Setting up a proposal infrastructure and creating realistic plans are critical to a smooth proposal process. They also decrease the overall effort required The planning process, including Minimize sequential tasks and maximize parallel tasks Clearly explain the start and end date for each task as well as the expectations associated with completion of the task Break Large assignments into short, manageable pieces. Make sure the schedule drives the priorities for daily activities. Avoid scheduling weekends and holidays. Allow sufficient time for proposal reviews. Plan for production time conservatively. Change the schedule only if it absolutely has to be changed, and be sure to communicate changes clearly to all involved.

5.5.3. Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions Rigid adherence to allotted timeframes

5.5.4. Summary Even if everything else is functioning, scheduling mistakes can threaten quality, compliance, and on-time delivery of a proposal. Base the schedule on metrics collected from previous proposals and make a single person accountable for completion of each task. Use interim deadlines to keep tasks on track and provide feedback early. Look for tasks that are independent of one another that can be completed in parallel. carefully plan tasks that have multiple dependencies. Leave enough leeway in schedules for time off on weekends and holidays, multiple review cycles, and potential RFP changes, as well as for unexpected setbacks

5.5.5. Terms to Know Project Schedule Proposal Management Proposal Resource Schedule