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Planning To Win A Proposal By Going Beyond RFP Compliance

Responding to the RFP is only part of what needs to go into a winning proposal. Consider:

  • Evaluation criteria should be taken into consideration everywhere relevant in your proposal.
  • The customer, opportunity, and competitive intelligence you have gathered that should be incorporated into your responses.
  • The major components, features, and corresponding benefits of your offering.
  • Your strategies for winning.
  • All the themes and discriminators that provide the customer with the reasons they should select you.
  • The points that you would like to emphasize in your response.
  • The recommendations you would like to make to the customer.
  • Any calls to action or things you would like the customer to do after reading your response.
  • Any graphics, tables, appendices, and other exhibits or attachments you may want to include.
  • Anything else you can think of that should go into your proposal.

Each of the items above should be allocated across the outline for your proposal so that you know where they should be addressed.

A compliance matrix is only part of what you need to plan your proposal writing. One approach you can take is to expand the compliance matrix into a comprehensive cross-reference matrix and include columns for each of the items on the list above. The only problem with this approach is that your matrix will quickly outgrow the paper size you are printing to. You need to cross-reference everything that will go into your proposal; you just can't (practically) use only a table to do it.

By Carl Dickson, Founder of

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