This is part five of the Aidpreneur.com training on pipeline management for RFAs, RFPs and RFQs. After you’ve assigned a manager or owner for a particular proposal development process, the next step is to develop the proposal and get it ready for submission. The goal of this section of our training is to review how you might divide a proposal development process and monitor the progress of your team’s work.Unless you are an independent professional working by yourself, it’s very rare that a proposal development process will be handled by one person in its entirety. In fact, relying upon one person to develop a technical proposal and financial proposal may significantly limit the creativity or uniqueness of the solution that you put forward for a client.I found that there are five high-level sections that every proposal contains, and should be owned by one person on your proposal development team. First is your technical solution. This is the meat and potatoes of your proposal and should provide a detailed and unique proposition for how you will solve the problem presented by the request for proposals. In some cases, on larger opportunities, a small group of individuals, consultants and partners will all contribute to developing the technical solution.
Second is staffing. A very large portion of the work performed in humanitarian aid and international development is consulting in its classic sense. As such, ensuring that you have leadership and members of your proposed team for your solution who have highly relevant skills and experience is paramount. These team members may come from internal staff, external consultants or partner organizations.
Third is information about your company or personal practice. This is your opportunity to let your potential client know why you or your company are the ones they should trust with this work because of your experience, expertise, geographical reach or some other set of reasons. This is usually combined with the fourth section, your past performance references. The more references you have that show you can deliver on the proposed work, the better.
Finally, there is the budget. There is often a tug-of-war in our industry about whether or not you should develop your budget before, during or after you’ve developed your technical solution. At ISG, we found that we’re most successful when we develop our technical solution first and then create a budget that allows us to deliver that technical solution with the highest quality. The development of financial proposals is a true art form that we cover in many other trainings.
Once you have divided up the work on your proposal, it’s important you have clear expectations and regular updates regarding the process of proposal development. While again this may seem like a no-brainer, it’s incredibly easy for a proposal to get off course, fall behind or simply be forgotten without some simple tools and quality management practices to make sure it stays on track.
As an example, there is an incredibly common phenomenon in development work – you could almost call it an axiom – that whatever day the proposal is due, it will be finished only a few hours before; no matter how hard you try. As with all of the work that you do for your clients, you should make it your goal to have a smooth and well-managed proposal about the process that delivers high-quality bids before or on schedule every single time, without stress, anxiety or last-minute drama.
After you have put those finishing touches on your proposal, you are ready to submit and then monitor the progress of your proposal with the potential client. This is the topic of the next section in this training.
Thank you for watching this section of the Aidpreneur.com training on pipeline management for RFAs, RFPs and RFQs. If you have any questions at all, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.