A tool box to master Proposal Management, and WIN!

Elevate your craft. Make the most of your every effort.


I enjoyed the blessing to grow up in a multi-generational home. From my formative years, I distinctively recall three tool boxes ever present in my home; one for a carpenter, one for a mechanic, and one for a seamstress. The boxes and tools therein were unique to their craft, but shared common traits:

· The tool boxes and tools were always immaculate – no matter the work they had done.

· The tools were always groomed and ready for the hands that mastered them.

· The tools were periodically rotated and augmented as jobs dictated.

Proposal, Capture and Business Development Managers need their tools. Account, Project and Staffing Managers need their tools. Pricing Analysts and Corporate Strategists need their tools. While these teams share some tools in their modern day “cloud-based” toolboxes, like a CRM tool; there are some tools created uniquely and purposely to elevate their work product and increase their chances of success in an age of stout competition.

Here are three unique tools for your Proposal Management toolbox(es):

The Past Performance Database (PPDB)

If you sell to the US Government, you need this – period.

A PPDB is a content management system specifically prepared for Proposal and Capture managers. Beyond the corporate network proposal content graveyard and the insane ability to recall past work by your proposal elders on staff, the PPDB makes it easy for all the Proposal Management team to:

  1. Verify the team meets the RFP requirements

  2. Identify the differentiators your team should highlight and shore up those areas where the team may be otherwise rated as “weak” or “questionable”.

  3. Manage historical performance to keep it relevant to the RFPs being worked.

  4. Index and catalog all historical work to facilitate the focused retrieval of useful facts that support your proposal claims.

The PPDB is a tool that allows you not only to “re-cycle” content (using it several times in different proposals) but also to “re-purpose” (using it to address a similar requirement) and “re-package” (modifying it to show a new value proposition) it.

If you are simply copying and pasting from your word documents on the network, you are wasting time, money and opportunity.

The Resume Database (CVDB)

A well implemented CVDB is money. Like – it literally makes you money.

Here is a scenario: an urgent message comes from a business partner who needs an FSR in [INSERT HERE NAME OF GARDEN SPOT IN MIDDLE EAST]. The FSR must be [INSERT HERE ACRONYM SALAD] certified. They need an answer within the hour.

No offense, but good luck in identifying an FSR that can meet the need if you don’t have a database that translates descriptions on resumes and correlates them to acronymed certifications and skills.

Here is a follow-on scenario: you find an FSR that can do the job only to find out that the functional manager missed the upcoming recertification of the FSR and he can’t fill the requirement.

The CVBD goes well beyond archiving resumes and makes it easier for your Program, Proposal and Capture Managers to:

  1. Collaborate with your HR specialists to maximize your staff’s utilization

  2. Manage specific elements of your talent pool like their certifications and specialties

  3. Compel higher rates based on level experience comparisons and automatic updates

  4. Identify SMEs that have the academic qualifications to support their opinions on proposals of in oral presentations.

If you don’t have a CVDB you are likely scrambling more frequently to answer questions related to “meeting requirement” and likely not making the greatest return on the human capital you have invested in, and have at your disposition. If it is not synchronized with your PPDB you are missing out on even more.

The Price to Win (PTW) tool-suite

PTW = LPTA; true or false?

While you must have the right PTW in order to secure LPTA work (and why are you chasing this to begin with?), they are not the same. A good PTW tool-suite helps Pricing Analysts and Capture Leadership to develop a capture plan that has the highest probability of securing the business at the highest margins that are both possible and justifiable. An excellent PTW tool-suite can even help your Capture Leadership team steer a solicitation away from the competition, making it too risky or unappealing to them.

Sometimes the “tool” is manifested in the form of an external entity or service that can give you a perspective that can only come from outside of your team’s corporate walls. Such a service or PTW tool can help your Pricing Analysts and Capture leadership to:

  1. Strike the best cost/benefit balance for presentation it in the proposal

  2. Offer goods and services at prices that are historically consistent, profitable and competitive.

  3. Develop a rate card with rates that are justifiable to any client

  4. Properly steer the solicitation through understanding the pricing practices of the competition.

Even if you are pricing every proposal from scratch, if you are not using a PTW tool or service (Like Richter’s laborRATER) you are very likely to be less consistent a both winning and, being profitable

These tools are different in form and function, and they serve separate but collaborative disciplines. They do however share some common traits:

  • They allow you to monetize your resources and bidding historical data.

  • They help your team increase their Pwin and master their craft.

  • The help you assume the most advantageous position in your pursuits.

Beyond being well trained, if you want to be a “master” of your craft you are likely to need a well-appointed tool box to unleash excellence, manifested in your body of work. Let’s face it, Michelangelo’s David may have been “different” if he had used a crescent wrench. Just sayin’.

Give your BD and Capture teams the best opportunity to win and make sure your team has the best tools! If you have not upgraded your Proposal Team tools in a while, or would like to implement new ones like these, comment below and let me know. You can learn more a www.tridentproposals.com.

Recent Posts

See All