If you’re in the complex business of government contracting, you know it’s nearly impossible to put together a winning proposal in less than 30 days, unless perhaps you’re the incumbent or it’s a Task Order. Yet, last-minute proposals with short turnarounds can pop-up out of nowhere. When you find your team stuck in this pickle, we’ve got your back. Here are our top tips for tight-turnarounds that won’t sacrifice your schedule or the quality of your proposal.
Plan Before You Write
Instead of trying to compress your 30-day process into a 5-day schedule, plan for writing to the time allotted. Yes, you still need to craft a compliance matrix. But when time is limited, validating your solution before the team starts writing should be a top priority.
Your sales team has already determined how closely you’re offering meets the business need and what value it delivers as part of the bid decision process. Use this information to outline your win strategy for each requirement, and consider prioritizing requirements based on the evaluation criteria. Here are some questions to answer for your team:
When you outline, you give your team a plan; they don’t have to stop and think about what to write because you’ve given them specific directions for writing concise, quality content that speaks to the reader.
Write a Solid First Draft
Instead of trying to cover every little detail in the Kick-Off Meeting, focus on questions and answers. Yes, you still need to communicate the schedule, and centralizing it for maximum visibility is best, especially with the potential of last-minute vendor questions in the wind. But when time is tight, answering your team’s questions and making it clear exactly what you expect from the first draft should be at the top of your list. Here are some ideas for kicking off the questions:
When you invite the team to question your solution and strategy up-front, you validate their understanding of the task at hand. When you give your team the tools they need to write it right the first time, you avoid a lot of frustration.
Do Not Skip Reviews
Instead of trying to jam in a bunch of review cycles, or worse, skipping them altogether, focus on one, perhaps two, if there’s time, really quality reviews. Your reviewers are your gatekeepers; they provide input your team needs to perfect compliance and hone strategy. The trick to a productive review is consensus, and that consensus is dependent on clear instructions and an effective feedback loop. Try this: