As a government contractor, you need to ensure that the proposal you submit in response to an RFP, is evaluated as low risk and that your team is ultimately selected as the contract winner.To do this, you must also have excellent technical, management, and past performance approaches that prove to the evaluators your team is the low-risk option and they can easily verify your data.
To win more government contracts, contractors must recognize that the entire BD lifecycle must center on the customer. Capture, meetings and discussions with the customer should focus on their needs, not on the history of your company. The Capture Strategy development must focus on the customer, and during the Proposal Phase, every word in the proposal must be relevant to the customer. Your proposal is much more than your company capabilities or your approach to a particular PWS element. If you want to win the contract, your proposal must be a custom solution for this customer. It must reflect the things that matter to this customer at this time.
Develop the technical approach with each required technical element as its own mini-proposal. There are many elements to address to create a compelling technical approach, it is usually not one brief paragraph per PWS element. The technical approach for one PWS element is a thorough plan for completing this specific technical section of work for this specific customer, using best practices, innovative ideas, and required documents or regulations. To ensure that your entire proposal is cohesive and thorough, develop the outline with these separate sections in mind, so that writers have to consider each of them for each PWS element. In the final version of the proposal, you may choose not to present each of these with separate headings.
Show understanding of the technical element and the reason this technical area is important to the customer. The big picture for this PWS element, how this element supports overall success for the customer, and why it is important.
Detail how you will complete this PWS work using specific best practices and industry standards; tools and software; processes, directives, and guidelines; customer, other agency, and other contractor interfaces; quality measurement; CDRLs and other documentation. Facts and figures are important, use the correct directive number, and the software tool name, to show your deep knowledge of the customer, their mission, and contract tasks.
Features of Your Proposed Approach
To develop features for your proposal, gather customer concerns, issues, needs, and hot buttons so you know what solutions the customer needs. Make a list of Customer Concerns, Hot Buttons, Issues, Problems, etc. and refine and edit throughout the capture process. Prioritize these concerns as low, medium, or high. Ensure that you address the concerns by highest priority first, then medium, and finally lowest priority.
Follow industry best practices for capture, gathering information from customer meetings, phone calls, and emails; researching other contracts, leadership changes, and major program announcements; researching USASpending.gov to analyze contract awards, spending, and trends; talking with incumbent contract personnel; talking with industry peers who previously or currently work for the customer in some capacity; and networking at professional meetings, Industry Day, and one-on-one customer meetings.
Develop targeted custom Solutions for each customer concern. Vet solutions with the customer and customer-approved solutions will be included as Features in the proposal.
Benefits to the Customer
Develop Benefits for each Solution/Feature for Technical, Management, and Past Performance section. Benefits save time, save money, or provide a new capability to the customer. There may be multiple Solutions/Features for a customer concern, so make separate entries for each. Vet every detail of a proposed Solution/Feature and Benefit with the customer.
Align Proof Point
For each Solution/Feature offer clearly stated proof in your proposal. Determine a Proof Point to support each Solution/Feature and demonstrate that your team can provide this solution, has successfully implemented it on another contract, and cite that contract information. This may be called a Proof Point, Golden Nugget, or Experience Example. If you do not provide proof, you may have an Unsubstantiated Claim, which can lead to a high-risk assessment.
Example Proof Point: ABC Company implemented XYZ configuration control process on the Information Technology and Support Services (ITSS) contract for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in 2018. Since implementing this process, ABC has saved our customer over $1.1M per year in documentation costs for a total of $4.5M in cost savings in 4 years.
If you simply state, “We have saved customers over $4.5M in configuration management costs,” you have not substantiated your claim with facts that the contracting office can validate. You must tell the HOW so the evaluator can substantiate the proof.
Use customer feedback and align it to the customer’s vision.
Develop and Refine Proposal Win Themes
Develop a format for writing a compelling technical approach by implementing Shipley’s proven Win Theme process, using the Capture data from this list. State the Customer Concern, your Solution to the Customer Concern, the Benefit that your solution provides to the customer, and provide Proof of your solution.
This is the 12th in a 13-part series focused on learning about Government RFPs and your response to RFPs as a government Contractor. Be sure and download our complete guide, Government RFPs: What you Need to Know. Check back each week for another installment in the series. Happy Bidding!
OneTeam is a complete, secure, cloud-native collaboration platform for GovCons to track, qualify, capture, propose and win more contracts with fewer resources by streamlining and automating processes. OneTeam was designed and developed by a federal government contractor to address the lack of resources and time, as well as the pain associated with winning government contracts. Our team of Proposal Managers, Capture Managers, and BD Managers write extensively about business development topics and best practices.