Writing an insightful and strong proposal is a key drive to win new businesses. It is your sales pitch, an in-depth yet concise document of all the valuable solutions you are offering to solve clients’ problems.
Like everything else, writing a proposal that wins must be carefully thought out, planned, and developed. This may prove a daunting task but Milena Darko, Marketing Lead at Fihankra Corporate Consult Limited in a Ghana Talks Business Webinar, outlines the vital stages and the content of a winning proposal.
Assessing the Request for Proposal
According to Milena Darko, “everything in business has to do with perception.” So, to write the winning proposal, first, ask yourself the relevant question.
Can you win?
This can be judged by finding out if your clients deem your brand trustworthy. That is, your prospective client need to know if you have the brand equity to handle their business. Also, find out if your company’s value and ethics is in sync with that of your client. Furthermore, evaluate the formal and informal organizational criteria of your client and indicate your differentiator. You need to ask yourself, what sets me apart from the rest?
Is the proposal worth winning?
Once you can answer the question of “can you win?”, you need to ask yourself, is the proposal worth winning? Along with this question, you should determine if the proposal will generate a single revenue or a lifetime revenue. You will also need to determine the strategic value of your proposal and follow suit with a risk assessment. Ask yourself, could the solution I am offering fail? How will it impact me? Are there any governance issues?
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Also, seek to determine your fee strategy/profitability. Furthermore, conduct a feasibility study on the prospective client to gather sufficient background information.
Conducting a SWOT analysis of your client
According to Milena Darko, before you tender in your proposal, conduct a SWOT analysis of your client. This involves analysing the following;
What is their need?
What made the client decide to publicize the proposal? You need to have an in-depth understanding of the clients’ needs and issues. Building a client profile by determining the industry or underlying issues, financial position (ability to pay once or a lifetime), the formal and informal buying process, and who the final authority is in the organization will help you in this regard.
You need to determine what your competitor is offering so you can “up your game and put out a quality value proposition” she said. With that in mind, ask yourself the following questions.
• Is the information I have about my competitor current? (Check out specific dates)
• What current industry solutions are my competitors likely to capitalize on?
• How is my solution different from my competitor?
Determine your eligibility
Government requests for proposals typically have eligibility criteria. This is because most government proposals require:
• Legal documents such as tax, SSNIT, and VAT information. This is typical to determine the legality of your business.
• Business Registration information
• Power of Attorney. This is to hold the signatory to the proposal accountable for any legalities that may arise.
• Insurance (Guarantee). In some cases, you will be required to purchase a bidding form. In such a scenario you have to purchase a “Guarantee” from any insurance company.
• Salary slips of team members. This may be required to ascertain the authenticity of any payments that are to be made to any member of the ream.
• Curriculum Vitaes of team members
Determining your required team expertise will invariably determine your eligibility. In the event that you would have to enter into a joint venture, determine the right calibre of expertise that can help you execute your proposal effectively.