In the government contracting arena, the competition can be fierce, and the ability to win new business depends on writing winning government proposals. Writing a government proposal is never an easy task – especially when determining how to best stand out from the competition. This is why using outsourced federal proposal consultants can go a long way in helping a contractor of any size to succeed. Federal proposal consultants are seasoned experts who serve as an extension of your team, and fulfill many roles to help you meet deadlines and put your best foot forward to win government contracts.
What is a Federal Proposal Consultant and What Do They Do?
A Federal Proposal Consultant has the experience and judgment to provide tremendous value to developing government proposals. Depending on the size and scope of a contract, federal government proposal consultants can range from proposal managers, writers, editors, graphic designers, and conceptual artists to price-to-win analysts to capture managers and orals coaches.
Each type of federal proposal consultant plays a vital role in helping you win your next big contract. And our deep bench of proposal talent lets us provide consultants with experience in nearly all types of subject matter the federal government procures. Here’s a rundown:
- Proposal Managers: Proposal Managers are the ring leaders responsible for overall leadership, management, and direction of the broad range of activities associated with the federal proposal development process. This professional integrates the efforts of all parties involved in creating a winning proposal, including preparing the up-front plans and running daily proposal staff meetings, tracking fulfillment of all duties, and ensuring that all requirements are being met.
- Volume Manager: Volume Managers are responsible for designing, planning, and managing a specific volume and integrating it with all other proposal volumes. This means managing the development of proposal sections requiring the input of multiple authors. They are typically involved in facilitating the work of authors by helping them outline as needed and iterating the draft back and forth with comments until complete.
- Senior Proposal Writer: Senior Proposal Writers are responsible for writing all sections in a typical government proposal – from the executive summary to technical to program, project, and contract management as well as risk, security management, and others. They also work with customer subject matter experts (SME) to plan and develop graphic concepts.
- Resume/Past Performance Writer: This specialist researches, writes, edits, tailors, and restructures proposal sections – including key personnel and past performance – to ensure that resumes score high against the customer evaluation criteria, as well as meeting formatting and page-count requirements.
- Editor: The Editor improves clarity, consistency, style, and formatting, while ensuring that all editorial standards, spelling, grammar, and punctuation are correct. The Editor also checks and verifies all graphics, figures, listings, tables, and other non-text items, and ensures all callouts are accurate and properly placed. The different types of editors include Copy Editors, Substantive Editors, Rewrite Editors, Technical Editors and One Voice Editors.
- Copy Editor: The Copy Editor is responsible for validating style, consistency, grammar, and syntax of the final government proposal. This professional performs rewrites as needed to clarify and simplify text.
- Capture Manager: The Capture Manager essentially leads in everything needed to develop a winning government proposal. This includes the development of strategy, team building, facilitation of technical solution and pricing – and serving as the key interface with senior management at every stage of proposal development. They also perform gap analyses and assessments to determine the weaknesses and areas for improvement in the capture strategy.
- Business Development Manager: The Business Development Manager analyzes opportunities for potential bids and conducts research to understand the customer, opportunity, and strategy for winning. They work with key customer personnel far in advance to help shape the solicitation. The Business Development Manager also discovers key factors such as what is the budget for the program and what solutions that the customer favors. They also present the opportunity for a bid/no bid decision, and can work with account teams to develop strategies and opportunities related to assigned accounts.
- Desktop Publisher: The Desktop Publisher is responsible for compiling all written and graphical material into a professional, compliant proposal package. This includes the preparation, formatting, and layout of high-quality text and templates for proposals and presentations. They also ensure compliance with RFP specifications/page limitations with a focus on the evaluator’s attention.
- Graphic Designer: The Graphic Designer works with proposal authors and team leads to develop professional visual content that conveys the message effectively and gets the attention of evaluators. This includes preparing, editing, and modifying proposal art such as engineering drawings, photo graphics, models, rough sketches, and others.
- Conceptual Artist: The Conceptual Artist is responsible for the design, preparation and creation of high-quality covers, process graphics and templates for federal proposals and presentations. They ensure that the graphics communicate the proposal message clearly and consistently.
- Price-to-Win (PTW) Analyst: The PTW Analyst performs competitive analysis, helps develop the bid pricing strategy, and supports overall contract negotiations. They are responsible for the collection and analysis of public documentation, information obtained from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, and proposal debriefs. Using market research tools, they generate meaningful analyses to develop an effective and strategic pricing solution for a government proposal.
- Pricing Analyst: The Pricing Analyst provides proposal pricing leadership as needed by the customer organization. This includes leading the preparation of price proposals such as price strategy, price workup, price pool studies if needed, price tables, and price narratives.
- Orals Coach: The Orals Coach oversees all phases in the development of an oral proposal, including strategy, themes, and messages, as well as presentation materials and graphics. They also coach individual presenters and the entire team in technique, timing, and performance in mock orals and Q&A sessions.
- Subject Matter Expert (SME): Since government contracts often involve deep knowledge of a solution or need for government, the SME is a true domain expert, and shares domain knowledge and insight in process of developing the bid proposal.
- Solutions Architect: The Solutions Architect performs analysis as required to help develop the technical solution for a federal proposal. They normally work with the Capture Manager through an iterative process, as necessary, for developing the solution that will get the job done — likely beating competitors’ offerings – and is within the government customer’s budget.
- IMP/IMS Lead: The IMP/IMS Lead develops the Integrated Master Plan (IMP) Integrated Master Schedule (IMS) to demonstrate how the program is structured to be executable within schedule and cost constraints and with acceptable risk correlated with the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and Statement of Work (SOW).
- Color Team Lead: The Color Team Lead is responsible for managing the various phases of the government proposal review process. They often lead the Blue, Pink, Red and Gold Teams, as well as Black Hat reviews.
- Color Team Member: A Color Team Member participates in proposal reviews as a member of a collaborative team that independently performs a variety of evaluation tasks focusing on content, organization, and compliance. They review draft proposals and ensure that each requirement in the RFP has been addressed in a manner that provides clear reasons for the Federal Government customer to select you as the winner.
The Types of Government Contracts That Are Ideal for Outsourced Proposal Services:
Outsourced proposal consultant talent can effectively help win virtually all types of proposals. This includes the following:
- Task Orders: Task Orders (TO) tend to be smaller programs that often have a turn around time-frame of around 4 to 14 days. OCI can usually provide responsive support based on our deep talent pool and the ability to deliver the talent as soon as next day, as well as provide consultants with significant TO experience.
- Recompetes: Recompetes are one of the most difficult contract types to win. This is because of the disease of “incumbent-itis,” which affects many contractors. Most companies don’t have in place processes starting on contract day one to capture the historical data needed to win. A strong consultant group like OCI can provide powerful assistance on recompetes with a fresh outside view that is an antidote to “incumbent-it is.” This is why outsourced federal proposal consultants can help organize and execute a recompete capture in a way that effectively enlists input from programs, sales, and other stakeholders. Here’s an APMP webinar with more information.
- Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Contracts: An IDIQ is a type of contract that provides for an indefinite quantity of supplies or services during a fixed period. IDIQs sometimes have “Task Orders” that require a quick turnaround. At any given time, OCI is usually helping customers with several IDIQ contracts.
- Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs): A GWAC is a contract where multiple government agencies align their needs and purchase a contract for goods or services. Polaris is an example of a large GWAC. These types of contracts often benefit from a range of outsourced federal proposal writing and support.
- Must-Win Contracts: All contractors face the make-or-break government contract that they must win. These are usually contracts that account for a large percentage of annual revenue, where losing would have catastrophic effects. Whole Proposal Support is often needed to ensure that the right government proposal expertise is available to leave no stone unturned.
- One-Contract Divisions: OCI has assisted divisions with only one operational contract many times. Such groups often don’t maintain proposal development assets. We help customers with this, or any other type of proposal task, as well as nearly any type of subject matter.
In What Ways Does Outsourcing Government Proposal Writing Become More Helpful?
There are many ways that hiring outsourced federal proposal consultants can be helpful. Specifically, they can:
- Handle the entire process for you, or seamlessly become an integrated part of your team.
- Fill gaps in knowledge and/or skills that your full-time team may not possess.
- Offer real experts with the experience and proposal skills your team needs to increase your chances of winning.
- Bring a deep capability to read between the lines as to the nuances in the RFP. They help you make persuasive and winning responses to the government contracting opportunity.
- Keep costs low, versus hiring or having to staff up with full time employees who may spend the slow season sitting on the bench.
- Demonstrate their subject-matter expertise to write winning government proposals especially for the following markets:
- Information Technology (IT) and Systems
- Health and Medical
- Professional Services
What Are the Best Practices for Outsourcing Federal Proposal Development?
There are five key considerations for hiring the right federal proposal consultants:
- Are they compatible with your internal culture?
- Do they have a good reputation in the marketplace?
- Do their sales personnel understand the industry?
- Can the sales personnel help to define the correct type of consultant skills needed?
- Can they deal with problems such as a consultant who has to leave the assignment due to a family emergency and make adjustments as needed
How Do I Get Started on Hiring Federal Proposal Consultants?
It’s very easy, and OCI can provide you with consultants in two days – even sooner if it’s truly urgent. All you have to do is:
- Fill out this web form and we will get back to you ASAP.
- Or, call OCI directly at 703-689-9600 and ask for an Account Manager.