Unless you are incredibly lucky and everyone assigned to the proposal is a great writer, you will need to do some just-in-time training to get everyone on the same page. The same goes for conceptualizing graphics. Here is how you go about quickly getting everyone on board to create a winning proposal.
Step 1. Assess your entire team’s government proposal expertise. You will need to find out whether they know how to:
- Find sections in the RFP?
- Structure sections?
- Write to get the most points?
- Develop excellent graphics?
- Deal with writer’s block?
- Use collaboration tools?
Step 2. Train your team on navigating RFPs. Tell your team how to locate the requirements they have to respond to in the RFP, how to read them, how to be compliant with them so that it counts, and why they are relevant.
Step 3. Train your team on writing. Most people struggle with writing to a certain degree. Some are painfully slow, some consider themselves decent writers but dread doing it, yet others don’t think they are good writers and feel they better stick to what they do well (and reduce themselves to cutting and pasting stuff that they find to provide the dreaded proposal section write-up). Believe it or not, as a proposal manager, you have to teach your team how to write fast, and how to overcome writer’s block. This should not be a session about editing – instead, you need to teach people how to come up with the winning content. The first step with any writing is knowing what you want to say. If you don’t know what to say, you will not be able to write anything good – let alone write fast. Your section writers cannot start writing until they can positively answer the following questions:
- Do they understand the customer’s hot buttons behind each requirement?
- Do they get your proposal solution?
- Have they grasped the benefits to the customer?
- Can they prove that your company can do the job?
Step 4. Train your team on graphics. Show how to conceptualize graphics, and explain how to distinguish graphics that work from those that don’t. Also, to keep the team organized and to conserve your graphic artist resources, describe how your graphics process works:
- Do the graphics go through you?
- Do you use a folder system or post graphics online?
- When do you expect graphics concepts?
- How should authors submit redlines?
- How will you track graphics?
Step 5. Train on collaboration tools used for your proposal. Make sure everyone has access to collaborative tools such as Microsoft SharePoint, Privia, or other platforms by the kick-off. Invite your tool expert to provide training or give a basic demonstration yourself. If you do not have tools yet, join the 21st Century using inexpensive options that are widely available as a SAAS (software as a service) model.
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