10) Have the capability to bid the work. You’d be surprised how often you don’t find out about an RFP requirement that you can’t address until very late in the game. Identify problems early so they can be corrected.

9) Don’t try to improve the RFP. Interpret the RFP literately. Give them what they ask for, in the order, terminology, spelling, and any other way they ask for it.

8) Meet assignment deadlines. Whenever something takes longer, something else gets squeezed. Often the your value-added gets into the document in the later stages. Don’t let them be what gets squeezed off the schedule.

7) Know the competition. Remember, it’s a competition. In order to submit a proposal that’s better then the competition, you have to know who the competition is, what they are likely to bid, who’s on their team, how competitively they price, what they are likely to say about their solution, and what they are likely to say about you. Only they can you convincingly present why you are the better choice.

6) Don’t compromise on review standards. Never skip a review because you’re running out of time, and resist the temptation to reduce the “level of effort” required to perform the review. The only way you can reliably achieve a quality document is to validate it.

5) Staff the proposal appropriately and not simply with whoever’s available. Identify who you need to write the proposal and then have them made available. If they company won’t invest in preparing the proposal it has no business submitting it in the first place.

4) Know the customer. A winning proposal not only responds to what the customer asks for in the RFP, but also responds to why they asked for it. To do that you have to know the customers goals and intentions beyond what they’ve described in the RFP itself.

3) Plan before writing/Write to the plan. How do you know you’ve included everything you need to in all the right places in your proposal? You don’t — unless you’ve planned what is going into each section in great detail before you start writing. Writing against a plan also makes reviews and quality assurance because you can validate the prose against the plan.

2) Address the evaluation criteria in all volumes, sections, and paragraphs. The evaluation criteria sets out how you will be scored. In order to get the highest possible score, your entire proposal should revolve around the evaluation criteria.

1) Know enough about the bid to start well ahead of RFP release. Some companies consider “advanced opportunity intelligence” to mean knowing about the RFP release two weeks ahead of time. A good metric for whether you know enough about an opportunity is whether you know enough to put pen to paper. And as for how far ahead of release you should be prepared to start, you can never be too far ahead.

Courtesy of Carl Dickson – CapturePlanning.com