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      1. Advice for Writing Great Business Proposals

        In proposal writing, the only opinion that matters is that of your customer. If you want to know what to include in your proposal or how to best write or format it, you need to look the proposal from the customer's point of view. Proposal writing should answer the customer's questions, explain the benefits of your approach, and articulate the reasons why the customer should select your proposal. If you want to perfect your proposal writing, you need to first perfect your understanding of your customer. It's not about what you want to say or how well you can describe yourself — it's about what the customer needs to know in order to select the winning proposal. Only after you master writing from the customer's perspective can you write a proposal that is the most effective. The following articles provide more proposal writing advice...
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      2. How to Write a Business Proposal

        If you want to know how to write a business proposal, the best person to ask is your customer. When writing a business proposal, your goal should be to answer your customer's questions and persuade them to select you. To do this, you need to discover what the customer needs to read in order to select you, and then present your proposal from the customer's perspective. A business proposal should be about what matters to the customer, and not just what you want to tell them. That is why winning a business proposal depends on what you know about the customer, opportunity, and competitive environment just as much (if not more than) as how you write, format, and present your proposal. The articles below can help you learn how to write business proposals that win...
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      3. Proposal Management

        Proposal management involves implementing repeatable processes and techniques for team collaboration to improve proposal quality. Managing a proposal involves defining the process, planning the content, and coordinating reviews, as well as assigning staff and coordinating their activity. Being a proposal manager involves determining what the best process is and struggling to impose proposal process discipline. Proposal management may be more of an art than a science, but there are proposal management best practices that you can follow. The follow articles provide proposal management tips and techniques to help you improve the quality of your proposals and your win rate.
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      4. Red Team Proposal Reviews and Proposal Quality Validation

        Proposal Red Team reviews are a tool used by Proposal Managers to ensure quality proposals. In addition to Red Teams, a host of other color team reviews are also sometimes used (Pink Team, Blue Team, Green Team, Gold Team, etc.). Most proposal reviews are not effective. Some of the things you can do to improve your proposal reviews are listed below. We are developing a new process for reviewing proposals that focuses on validating specific aspects of the proposal. Proposal Quality Validation is an alternative to Red Team reviews that can add more value and lead to better proposals.
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      5. How to Create a Compliance Matrix

        A proposal copmliance matrix is the secret to untangling the requirements hidden in a complex RFP. Creating a compliance matrix is the first step in creating a proposal outline. When an RFP has lots of requirements in multiple sections, a compliance matrix can help you make sure that you don't leave any of the requirements out of your proposal.
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      6. Improving Process and Procedures

        If you do a lot of proposals, you can benefit from formalizing your proposal process and studying best practices. A well organized and planned proposal process can eliminate much of the chaos and last minute panic that so often haunts proposal development. Well thought-out proposal procedures will also help you coordinate efforts and help you win more proposals.
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      7. Creating Win Strategies and Themes

        When responding to an RFP with lots of requirements, it's easy to lose track of your message. Win strategies and themes are how your message makes it into the document. They are the difference between a proposal that is descriptive and a proposal that is persausive. Themes are how you sell in writing. But to present an effective message and develop your theme statements, you first have to plan the right strategies for winning.
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      8. How to Write an Executive Summary

        You should write an Executive Summary to articulate what you want the reader to conclude after reading the rest of your proposal. An Executive Summary is the most important part of your proposal, for it is where you deliver your message about why the customer should select you. The rest of the proposal just substantiates those reasons. Usually, an Executive Summary is not actually a summary at all. Executive Summary writing should focus on the conclusions you want the evaluator to reach and not on summarizing everything in your proposal. When you write an Executive Summary, the evaluator should know why to select you without having to read the rest of your proposal.
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      9. Professional Services Marketing

        Marketing professional services and writing professional services proposals is very different from product marketing. A professional services proposal usually includes a staffing plan and the resumes of the staff who will be doing the work. Instead of specific line items to include, describe, and price, you often have to develop an approach, describe it, estimate the level of effort to execute it, and then price the labor to do it. This presents a professional services proposal with a different set of challenges than those faced by other businesses.
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      10. Proposal Templates and Reuse

        People often assume that because the topic of a proposal is similar to an earlier proposal it can be easily recycled just by "changing a few words." This is hardly ever true. Unfortunately, the level of effort required to transform the focus, goals, win strategies, themes, results, keywords, and points of emphasis in a template or sample into another document can easily exceed what it would have taken to write it from scratch. That's okay because there are better approaches than templates or reuse files to provide inspriation, guidance, and acceleration for your proposals.
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      11. Miscellaneous Proposal Tips

        CapturePlanning.com is about learning how to win proposals by help you to improve your proposal writing. Along the way, we've collected a bunch of tips and useful advice for preparing proposals that can help you improve your win rates. They are on a variety of proposal subjects that don't fall into any of the other categories we have on our site. While we focus on proposal process and quality validation, sometimes a simple tip can be all you need.
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      12. Storyboards and Content Planning

        Storyboards are are a bad way to plan the writing of a proposal. While you can collect useful information that way, no matter what headings you choose it will be a tradeoff between levels of granularity, and coverage of topics. It will also inherently store the information under headings that are different from what is needed by the document, increasing inefficiency. But the issue really shouldn't be about whether or not to use storyboards. It should be about what's the most effective way to plan your proposal content.
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      13. Government Contracting

        Winning government contracts means understanding complex rules and regulations. If you are already a government contractor and want to win more government contracts, you must perfect your techniques for finding government contract RFPs and for winning government proposals. Business development and marketing for government contracts is very different from doing business in the private sector. There are also differences between federal contracting, state contracting, and local contracting. Here are some articles to help you become a government contractor and win more contracts.
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      14. Request for Proposals (RFP)

        Most large proposals are written in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP). An RFP will generally tell you what the customer is interested in procuring and provide instructions regarding how to prepare and submit your proposal. In addition to RFPs, some organizations publish a Request for Information (RFI) when they need information prior to issuing a solicitation, and some publish a Request for Quotation (RFQ) when all they are interested in is the price.

        Government procurement is highly regulated, and therefor government RFPs have a particular format and structure. Commercial RFPs do not have to follow the same rules, and can be anything that the company publishing the RFP wants it to be.

        How to ensure you are ready to win a qualified lead at RFP release. Your best chances of winning an RFP come when you start the pursuit before the RFP is released. But how do you do that? What steps should your business development process have? How do pursue an opportunity pre-RFP and get to RFP release with the best possible chances of winning? what are the goals, questions, and action items you should accomplish in order to be ready to write the winning proposal?

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      15. Bid/No Bid Decisions

        Most companies would be better off bidding fewer opportunities and winning more of them. Your bid decision process can be the difference between success and failure. Unfortunately, the idea of bidding less to win more sounds a bit too much like bidding less. It can be hard to convince companies of the need, and even harder to maintain the discipline needed. Here are some tips to not only make better bid/no bid decision, but also to get everyone on board.
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      16. Business Development and Marketing

        To win your bids you must get into position with the right marketing efforts. Your business development strategies should include market assessments, relationship marketing, lead generation and qualification, sales and closing techniques, customer and competitive intelligence gathering, and ultimately proposal writing. If you don't position yourself with the right business development and marketing efforts, your chances of winning the proposal are greatly diminished. Here are some business development tips.
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      17. Relationship Marketing and Customer Contacts

        These articles discuss how to successfully roll out a proposal process. It's not enough to have a process. You have to get people to follow it. A lot of proposal managers find it harder to gain process acceptance than it is to have a process in the first place. You may be convinced that your process can help you company boost its win rate, but if you can implement it successfully, it won't matter at all.
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      18. Sales Letters and Copy Writing

        Small, simple sales proposals are often written in the form of a letter instead of as a separately bound document. The requirements for a sales letter or letter proposal are significantly different from their larger cousins. For example, copywriting plays a much greater role in sales letters. Since sales letters usually aren't written in response to an RFP, you can present your offering how you choose. Sometimes having so many choices and such little structure actually makes it harder for some people. So here are some tips:
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