There are many reasons why bids win or lose. However, in this newsletter, we’ll review the six most common issues and mistakes that cause proposals to lose.

  1. Compliance
    One of the most common (and heartbreaking) reasons for losing a bid is non-compliance. It can be easy to miss something when responding to a complex request for proposals (RFP) with multiple amendments and volumes. Avoid this mistake by creating a compliance matrix early in the process and keep it updated. It can also be extraordinarily helpful to have someone with fresh eyes run a compliance check on your proposal before submission.
  1. Not Knowing Your Customer
    If you don’t know much about your Government customer, then it is very difficult to write a compelling proposal that speaks directly to the evaluators, and you’re unlikely to win. You need to understand your customer’s hot buttons and pain points. What are your customer’s wants, needs, and greatest fears? Only after you thoroughly understand what your customer is looking for can you tailor the perfect solution for them and describe it in your proposal.
  1. Not Researching Your Competitors
    You can only successfully undercut your competition (or convince them to join your team and eliminate them as a competitor) if you know who they are, their relationship to your customer, and what they are likely to offer the customer. You need intelligence on your competitors to help you make the most informed decisions on teaming, price, and win strategy.
  1. Start Early and Do Capture
    You get a lot more bang for your buck investing in preparation before an RFP is issued. Every dollar invested in capture on the front end saves you the money (and hassle) of having to hire extra writers on the back end to pull together a substandard proposal. Boost your win probability by performing capture and preparing as much as possible in advance.
  1. Follow a Proposal Process with Color Team Reviews
    Don’t expect to win with a proposal that’s written in pieces and only partially reviewed before submission. To increase your win probability (Pwin), follow a proposal process with Color Team reviews, even if the schedule is abbreviated and your review team includes only a handful of people. Identify your proposal team early and clearly delineate tasks, deadlines, and responsibilities. The proposal improves with each draft. At OST, we use a six-phase proposal process based on agile, iterative development that uses a sprint-like draft development process and includes formal synchronous or rolling color team reviews.
  1. Do a Pricing Analysis, such as Competitive Analysis or Price-to-Win (PTW)
    Price is key to winning Federal bids. The Federal Government awards most contracts to the lowest bidder or to a slightly higher cost bidder with an outstanding solution in a best value tradeoff evaluation. It’s vital to have the information at your fingertips to develop winning pricing strategies for your proposals. Depending on the bid size and complexity. You may need a competitive analysis of labor rates for a services proposal, or you may need a full Price to Win exercise to arrive at the right price targets needed for your proposal.

If you’re unsure of why your proposals keep losing, then reach out to us to discuss our proposal review service. We will grade your proposals like a Government evaluator using 60 quality parameters, and we work with your proposal team to show exactly how they can improve on the next proposal. Click this link to learn more:

OST Global Solutions is a professional business development consulting firm. Our capture and proposal consultants have helped our clients win more than $25 billion in funded contracts. We can provide capture and proposal teams to develop a complete, winning proposal, or we can provide consultants on a case-by-case basis to fill gaps on your business development team. Our services include capture management, proposal management, orals coaching, proposal writing, graphics support, editing, desktop publishing, and cost volume development.

Reach out to us to discuss how we can help you win your next bid.

[email protected]

(301) 384-3350


Upcoming Bid & Proposal Academy Classes

Master AI to Enhance BD, Capture, & Proposal Processes Updated to Include the Latest AI Developments

OST Global Solutions Virtual Classroom MD, United States

Are you ready to enhance your bid flow, improve your Pwin, cut down the time it takes to do most BD tasks, improve decision-making, and reduce proposal risk by ensuring your submissions are compliant and compelling? This course is specially designed for BD professionals in Government contracting firms seeking to harness the power of AI in their operations. Over three comprehensive sessions, you will gain the knowledge and tools to transform your BD strategies and execution. Learn More

Winning Government Cost Proposals Including AI Essentials

OST Global Solutions 7361 Calhoun Place, Suite 560, Rockville, MD, United States

Developing a Winning Cost Volume course helps you increase your federal contract win probability. We focus on Government contract evaluation, pricing fundamentals such as cost buildup and cost volume elements, price strategy, developing basis of estimate (BOE), coming up with assumptions, Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), cost volume narrative, winning in lowest price technically acceptable proposals (LPTA), and much more.

Register Now $1,390.00

Proposal Editing With & Without AI

OST Global Solutions 7361 Calhoun Place, Suite 560, Rockville, MD, United States

This class teaches how to edit Government proposals while working with a proposal team. Not another English grammar class, this course teaches proposal-specific professional editing skills to improve your proposals' Pwin.

Register Now $1,390.00