Anyone who has invested hours of time and precious manpower into writing a proposal – and has not been successful in winning the contract award — knows the frustration involved. You wonder what you did wrong, what you did right, and what you should do differently next time. Sometimes it just takes a few tries before you’re able to get your foot in the door, but there are steps you can take to better position yourself for when the next time rolls around.
The first thing you should do is ask the buyer for a debriefing to provide you with an overview of your unsuccessful proposal’s strengths and weaknesses. If possible, arrange for a face-to-face meeting so you can ask questions; otherwise, request a written report. When you’re working on your next submission, take all the feedback you receive to heart.
Proposal preparation takes a lot of time and effort, and you want to expend your energies wisely. Assign someone the task of searching for opportunities and have a mechanism in place to quickly determine if the opportunity is right for your company. Only go after work that you know your company can handle well, and that includes having the time and resources to prepare a winning proposal as well as being able to meet both the specifications and the schedule. (more…)