Post-submission Strategies to Improve Success: Our Proposal has been Submitted, Now What?
In this series of blogs, we will discuss what companies and teams should do AFTER the proposal has been submitted and how some dedicated post-writing work could reap significant rewards in future efforts, whether you win or not.
While most companies move on the moment they upload their proposal volumes, proposal writing teams should continually be seeking ways to improve their company’s win chances and gain a competitive advantage. Nowhere is this truer than in the world of government contracting, where the margins in some market segments can be very small and competitors, who are also seeking any win advantage, are plentiful. We identified four key post-submission activities your team should accomplish to improve your process and hopefully your bid win percentage.
1. Post-Submission Checklist
Post-Submission Checklist will include all review actions that your team will take after each submission. This will allow your team to gather key information from the proposal development processes. A standardized Post-Submission Checklist will offer consistent team and process evaluations and will lead to continuous improvement. Some items on your checklist may include:
Review and refine capture process
Review and update proposal templates
Organizing proposal documents into a document repository for future reference
2. Lessons Learned
Taking time to thoroughly understand lessons learned is critical to honing your skills and creating competitive winning proposals. It is critical to analyze your proposal processes to make sure you understood what processes and procedures worked and which ones didn’t. Feeding this information back into our standard operating procedures will eliminate errors and drive your team to success. Some steps to consider include:
Collect feedback from the team via a survey tool (Google Forms, Survey Monkey…) Encourage honest feedback and emphasize no part of the process is too small
Hold a debrief and present results. Frame the issues from a systems point of view: proposal process, communication, technology failures, incorrect numbers of personnel or incorrect skillsets, etc
Ensure all “weak points” in the process are identified and captured
3. Process Improvement
The lessons learned debrief will inform your required process improvements. This will include a formal method for identifying issues and laying out a written plan for correction. Your copy may have a formal process improvement system (i.e., Six Sigma, Kaizen, Plan-Do-Act-Check (PDAC), Business Process Re-Engineering (BPRE), Gap Analysis, or Process Mapping. But, if they don’t, you can use a more straightforward system such as Process Mapping, and use key factors from that system to make your Process Improvement plan formalized, implementable, and measurable. Your process improvement plan should include:
Detailed identification of the issues
Delineation of the desired outcome
Discovery of possible solutions and innovations
Identification of the metrics of success
Dissemination and application of the improvements
Management and optimization of changes
By conducting capture, planning the proposal, and spending time and resources to bid on an RFP, you have committed considerable assets to this effort and should prepare to win the award. This may include:
Planning draft position descriptions or job descriptions
Ensuring you have any tools, software, or other promised devices in-house and ready to launch
Developing an action plan to implement your proposed approach and management plan
It may sound like a lot of time and energy, but most successful companies implement a framework that makes process improvement a conscious part of the companies’ identity. This is how these companies evolve to stay ahead of competitors and deliver superior proposals and products.
To hear more, check out The Inside Scoop with Novelle.
Rita Simmons, Ph.D., is the founder and lead consultant of Novelle, where she provides business and research consulting to companies across a variety of industries. Dr. Simmons leverages her drive for innovation and excellence along with her extensive executive and military experience to help companies grow their business, drive revenue, and achieve strategic goals. When you’re ready to take your business to the next level, contact Dr. Simmons at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with her on LinkedIn.