Business Development Blog

Do’s and Don’ts of Risk Management Sections

There is no better way to convince a potential customer that yours is the right company for the job than to demonstrate a true understanding of the risks the program will be up against and to come up with plans to mitigate those risks upfront. But in many proposals, the risk management section ends up as a missed opportunity to shine at best and a setback at worst. Rather than showcasing a real knowledge and understanding of the program and proposed solutions, the risk section falls flat or actually does harm.

What People are the Main Ingredient in Winning Contracts Consistently

Many companies reach a point at which they have to start maturing and growing their business development, capture, and proposal capability. It usually happens when they have a constant volume of bids and they are looking for a more efficient way to develop proposals and win consistently. They want to scale up, grow aggressively, and create a true business development engine.

Public Bid Posting Doesn’t Mean a Level Playing Field

The U.S. government is all about transparency: it posts bids publicly. Yet, just because most opportunities are posted for the world to see, that doesn’t mean a level playing field. You have to learn how to take advantage of other open sources of information, ...

Employ a Strategic Business Development Planning Process

Business growth in the federal market does not happen by accident. Many companies grow to a certain point through hard, albeit, rather chaotic efforts. Many are stuck, however, at a certain size, and their ability to compete for new market share begins to shrink. We recommend that you implement proper strategies to grow aggressively in the federal market.

2013 APMP Conference Updates

APMP 2013 Bid & Proposal conference in Atlanta became a great success with hundreds of people attending. And we are happy to announce that on behalf of the National Capital Area Chapter Olessia accepted the 2012 Communications Award, and especially the fact that our colleagues from OST, Julia Pochekueva and Alex Brown were largely responsible for the chapter communications during 2012 (Julia as the E-zine Chair and Alex as the Marketing Chair).

Three Categories of Win Themes

To develop your proposal winning strategy, you need cross-functional contributions that might include people in your organization who know the customer well, subject matter experts in the statement of work, contracts, pricing, and account executives or business developers who communicate with the customer. Start the first team meeting with a presentation on the opportunity background, and then discuss what to expect during the meeting. Then, explain to your team what your win themes are, and how you are going to go about developing them.

Why You Need a Proposal Process

A robust proposal process is integral to writing winning proposals. Being able to translate all the great information collected during capture into a compelling, concise, and compliant proposal by the due date (and without undue stress) is the key to success of a proposal effort. The use of proven processes eliminates chaos and it enhances and coordinates everyone’s efforts.

Keeping Your IDIQ Team on the Same Page

Having your IDIQ vehicle information documented correctly and in one easily accessible for the team place brings many benefits to your proposal development process, contributing to better communication and collaboration among team members, more efficient use of ...

How is FedBizOpps Useful in Business Development?

Anyone in the know in business development doesn’t get too excited if they happen to see something that looks exactly like what they are trying to bid on when searching FedBizOpps.gov (FBO). The Federal Government is supposed to post all unclassified opportunities over $25,000 on FBO. It is safe to say, however, that FBO is pretty much useless to you for bidding purposes because most of the opportunities that appear there have been discovered already by your competitors. Your competitors may have been planning for these opportunities for a while, throughout the entire acquisition process from when the opportunity was created to the point of its culmination in a Request for Proposal (RFP) or Quote (RFQ). Rarely do you stand a chance of winning if you pick an opportunity off a website as public and popular as FBO late in the game, once a draft RFP, and especially the final RFP, has been issued. It has probably been “spoken for” or “wired” by some company that has taken its time to prepare.

Seven (Almost) Deadly Proposal Review Sins

Writing a proposal without formal and informal reviews is as absurd as making a blockbuster movie without dailies and other review meetings to scrutinize every camera angle or editing decisions. Just like in the film industry, missing a key detail or making a continuity mistake undermines your credibility in the eyes of the audience. It can outright ruin the impression you want to make with just a few gaffes, or even open you up to ridicule.

What are your top three proposal management challenges?

I am working on the new material for my upcoming free webinar on June 3, 2013, on the subject of Top 10 Proposal Management Challenges and How to Overcome Them, and am looking for your feedback. I have my idea as to what these are from my observations – but would ...

10 Things to Avoid When Writing Proposal Sections

Everyone struggles with proposal writing—even proposal veterans. But when it comes to subject matter experts, it gets even worse. Here are ten things to avoid doing while writing proposals – with some suggestions on how to improve your writing experience and, of course, produce winning results.

Dealing with Fiscal Constraints and the Increased Competitive Edge

Government contracting market is somewhat chaotic, although it breathed a sigh of relief when the Congress agreed on the spending bill, preventing a government shutdown. We should see a barrage of procurement activity between now and the end of the fiscal year. Although we have narrowly avoided one train wreck, there still remains the $85 billion in automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. Over time, they may hit some businesses harder than others, depending on the specific contracts they hold or pursue. Companies, especially those in the DOD arena, should carefully check market forecasts and their portfolios to dampen the hard hits by diversifying their customer base. If they haven’t strategized and done market research already, it is an urgent priority now.

Your Proposal’s Overall Professional Look and Feel

Your proposal’s overall professional look and feel has a lot to do with presenting you as a credible and reliable company to your prospective customers. Even the best possible solution, presented it in a sloppy manner, may plant the seeds of doubt in your evaluators’ minds.

Seven Cardinal Rules of Proposal Graphics

Another tool of proposal persuasion is graphics. Graphics will always prevail over text. Quite simply, they are infinitely more effective at presenting the marketing and sales message. You wouldn’t even fathom not using graphics when you put together a marketing or sales brochure. Yet, people routinely underuse graphics in proposals. It is important to define that for proposal purposes, graphics or visuals are not just pretty graphs and flowcharts or photos. Instead, they are all the visual elements that break up the monotony of the text. A visual could be a figure, a text or a focus box, or a nicely rendered table.

Can You Outsource Capture to Consultants?

Many companies question whether they can have an outside consultant come in and be their capture manager. They may not have internal resources to run proper capture on a pursuit, but they don’t venture outside the house to get anyone else.

Earning a Trusted Advisor Status

When interfacing with government customers while doing business development or capture, you need to remember that you are still dealing with people. The government has its own rules, and the process is hard to navigate in the beginning. Government officials have their own culture and language, but all the universal rules for building business relationships still apply. When you build a relationship with government representatives, you have to take a multidimensional approach. Your first task is to create a contact plan using phone calls, visits, and, to a lesser degree (and very cautiously), e-mails. You need to build as many relationships as possible, with as many contacts at the agency as you could possibly find time to get acquainted with.