Novume company AOC Key Solutions recently shared seven ways that large contractors can setup a winning proposal process:

By Raymond Thibodeaux for AOC Key Solutions

So much about developing proposals to win a government contract, is the scaffolding, the process.

That’s where large primes have a decided advantage. They often have “proposal factories” of their own with well defined proposal processes and trained dedicated resources such as capture and proposal managers, technical writers, and graphics artists who can churn out proposals like Willy Wonka churns out Wonka bars.


Small businesses, being leaner, often don’t have that luxury. They seldom can support a proposals-only staff. They usually don’t have baselines for typical proposal items such as proposal management plans, technical approaches, and transition plans. They don’t have a database of past performance references that can be called up by contract type, period of performance, contract value, scope of work, or any other relevant detail. When small businesses bid a government contract, it’s often an all-hands-on-deck affair. They pull staff from their day jobs to pitch in. It’s can get a little chaotic with no one quite sure of who’s doing what.

As proposal consultants, we’ve walked into situations where clients had limited government proposal experience and no reliable processes, and so helping them with their proposal included the task of helping them set up a maintainable process.


Here’s a practical to-do list that most large government contractors use to keep their proposals on the right track. It’s by no means a complete list, but it’s a very good start.
1. Integrate your proposal outline with a compliance matrix.
Even if your RFP doesn’t require a compliance matrix, do it anyway for your own sake (just don’t submit it with the proposal). This requires a thorough reading of the entire RFP, including attachments. The integrated outline/compliance matrix should include all relevant RFP references, whether it’s Section M evaluation factors or the Scope of Work or even requirements tucked away in other sections of the RFP. Of course, the outline should easily track to RFP Section L instructions. The outline/compliance matrix should include page limits or allocations for each section, proposal volume or section owners, and a column for comments/suggestions. It becomes the proposal playbook: who does what, where, and why…[continue reading]

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