How to pick the right mix of proposal professionals to build and drive your bid engine (Part 3 of How to Build a Bid Engine Series)

As I discussed in my previous posts in the series, the first, and the main component of a robust bid engine are people who put it together and help drive it. This is no surprise, since having the right people is the main ingredient of any successful undertaking.

So, where do you start? First and foremost, if you are starting from scratch, you may have to begin with a bare-bones business development organization. At the very minimum, you need a capture manager, a proposal manager, and a cracker-jack production shop lead that has skills in proposal coordination, graphics design, and desktop publishing. Here are their job descriptions:

Capture manager leads activities that include:

  • Participating in opportunity identification and filling the pipeline
  • Developing, updating, and maintaining the capture plans for specific opportunities
  • Managing the development of the win strategies and win themes
  • Developing and updating customer contact plans
  • Preparing bid review presentations
  • Shaping the RFPs
  • Developing teaming strategy
  • Performing competitive analysis and facilitating Black Hat reviews
  • Overseeing development of solutions that include discriminators, technical and management approaches, cost strategies (in conjunction with the Price to Win exercise), and risk management strategies
  • Preparing proposal resource plans, and assisting with assembling winning proposal teams
  • Participating in proposal efforts by reviewing content for the right messages, and preparing executive summaries

Proposal manager leads proposals to include:

  • Leading the development of Proposal Plan
  • Conducting proposal Kick-Off
  • Developing proposal forms, templates, and compliance checklists
  • Issuing assignments
  • Training the authors who are your technical and project personnel
  • Developing and tracking proposal schedule
  • Maintaining shared proposal workspace
  • Overseeing all proposal activities that include outlining, storyboarding, section drafting, graphics development, and progress tracking
  • Overseeing preparation of proposal for reviews and delivery
  • Working in conjunction with the orals coach to prepare for orals
  • Leading status meetings and other proposal management activities
  • Working in conjunction with the capture manager to implement win strategy in the proposal

Production shop manager that combines the skills of a graphic designer, desktop publisher, and proposal coordinator, is responsible for the following:

  • Rendering graphical concepts drawn by the original authors by hand, in PowerPoint, or Visio in professional vector graphics and photo editing software, using the proper graphic design principles
  • Managing the flow of graphics and overseeing configuration control of the documents
  • Using Word, PageMaker, or InDesign, laying out the proposal as a final document ready for review and customer submission
  • Providing administrative support during the proposal effort
  • Organizing meetings, posting announcements, managing collaborative workspace folders, and updating the proposal wall
  • Producing copies of review documents
  • Coordinating proposal sections among the writers
  • Consolidating the proposal document
  • Serving as the proposal managers right hand

With this basic staff, you can do up to two small to moderately sized page-limited proposals at once, if they have help with developing the cost proposal and handling all the contractual matters, and some writing assistance from your subject matter experts.

In the next post, I am going to discuss whom you will need to hire as you grow your business development organization into a real bid engine.

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