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Top 10 Tips to Write Short Yet Effective Proposal

Ever given thought to what it takes to write the perfect proposal? Well, contrary to what people believe, proposal writing is not all about length. It’s more about writing to win; that is to expand your business with quality relationships. Your goal is to write to convince potential clients to choose your company over the competitor. Moreover, the good news is, you don’t have to go overboard to get hold client’s attention.

That said, this post is going to explore a few tricks to shorten your proposal right off the bat, and the good news is, they’re all easy to engage.

Ready to check them out?

Let’s jump right in!

  1. Quit the Irrelevant Talks

The very first step to writing short yet effective proposals are to stick to customers need to hear. There’s no point in writing or talking about things they barely care about. This is the biggest and most important tip on the list, but of course, there’s still more.

  1. Stick to One Thing in Each Sentence

Next up, we’ll recommend you quit trying so hard to pin down the perfect sentence. For the most part, you should pay less attention to combining features and benefits; just briefly address them and try not to make the entire piece wordier than necessary.

  1. Go Straight to the Point

How do you see your complete proposal? Do you see it as a checklist or a document? Well, if you’ve been thinking about it as the latter, we’ll recommend you do otherwise right away. In essence, see it as a checklist. Just state the facts, qualifications, proof points, and benefits — always be direct.

  1. Try to Group Things

It’s also an excellent idea to group things when you can — doing this will get rid of connecting words, and that’s huge. The big idea here is to consolidate the Scriptures and of course, make a point that covers every one of them. Just figure out what you want to say in each section, then round it off with a succinct yet engaging list.

  1. Use Lists

Another great tip is for you to write in lists. You might not know this, but lists are great space savers. And one extra tip is to avoid explaining every item in your list — just be sure that the available details resonate with clients.

  1. Tell a Simple Story

Here’s the thing; proposals are supposed to tell a story, but the good thing is, it doesn’t have to belong and complicated. That said, you won’t be wrong to tell your story with simple checklists — doing this will show clients just how easy it is to work with your company and that’s huge.

  1. Forget About Warm-Ups

Now, there’s a good chance of thinking that clients are interested in history, background or great universal principles. Well, so that you know, they don’t care about these things. Just focus on talking about your offer and how it can work for them.

  1. No Need to Summarize

You might not know this, but summaries don’t matter — they only make proposals longer! And of course, our goal here is to make it short and effective; so skip the summaries.

  1. Use Graphics Where Necessary

It’s also good to know that graphics can simplify the message you’re looking to get across. So how can you use them? Well, you won’t be wrong to switch to graphics if a process contains quite a few steps; maybe half a dozen or more. And of course, if you’re choosing graphics, there’s no need to explain the illustration in your text — a concise and straightforward introduction is enough.

  1. Skip Conclusions

Already made your point in the proposal? If yes, you’ve done a great job! Trust us; your clients don’t care about the conclusions. They expect you to stop after making your point; the evaluator is already good with what you’ve said so far. Take a break!

So, there you have it! These are ten foolproof tips that can increase your chances of creating short proposals that work. Remember, the goal is to write once and win. To get a quick demo of our proposal management solution, please book your place here!

How to Write a Business Proposal – Part – III (How to Conclude)

The conclusion is like the final chord in a song. It makes the listener feel that the piece is complete. The same is true for our readers. We. We then become a reliable writer for them, and they are impressed with our presentation.

As said prior, writing a business proposal is classified into three segments. The first part covers the concepts of how to start a business proposal, and the latter part covers making our Proposal, and the final section covers how to conclude the Business Proposal. We have already discussed Part I and PartII. Let us now examine Part III which clearly explains how to complete our business proposal.

PART III

Concluding the Business Proposal

Choose a Suitable Closing. Once we have carefully shaped our closing sentences, there are several ways to end a proposal with an appropriate closing or sign off. We must mainly concentrate on summarizing the Main Point and try to restate the Purpose.

  1. Past performance
  • Categorize the relevant experience. We expect the reader to have assurance on us that we can follow through and implement the business plan correctly and adequately. We should try to show off our previous similar projects and explain the success we achieved.
  1. Confidentiality
    • We might be restricted to share the client information because of confidentiality agreements yet, we can speak about our past experiences in general terms. For a sample, we can write, “Effectively provided Accounting and Payroll Services to 30 mid-sized businesses for the past five years.”
  2. We are Strong Team
  • Define who we will onboard into the project. We may not be able to handle every single thing. In such positions, we need to make them understand who we will hire to assist and also try to tell the Customer, how. Along with this we also need to explain how we will ensure that they are competent. If we are already aware of whom to hire, then we should include their resumes along with the business proposal.
  1. How we are different.
  • Deliberately open up any anticipated opposition if any. Some business proposals might face opposition. For example, if our business proposal is to assist businesses by categorizing which employees they could fire, then we can expect opposition to rising. At the same time, if we propose to construct the company rebrand, then others in that company might obstruct it. Hence, we need to recognize and then counter any predicted opposition as: summarize the expected competitors, discuss the likelihood and raise counterarguments.
  1. Summarize
  • End with a proper conclusion. The conclusion mainly depends not on the objective meaning of the passage, but the emotions aroused by the words. In the conclusion part, we should iterate the benefits of our proposal. We also need to include a deadline for the Customer to respond and hire us.

Nevertheless, some businesses have moved away from deadlines. Hence, we must search for other business proposals used in our industry to see what is standard. Along with this, we must pay attention to encourage the Customer to contact us with appropriate questions and to visit our website if they would like to seek more information about our business and accomplishments.

  1. References from previous customers
  • Include proper references to the business proposal. If we refer to studies or other sources in our proposal, then we should cite them at the end under the references We should format them with proper standards set by the Customer or any APA style as such. This would allow the client to find what we are referring to and double-check that the cited information is accurate or not easily.
  1. Review, Review, Review
  • Revise the business proposal at the end. After completion of the proposal, set the draft aside for a day or two and then review it. Search for typo errors and dropped words. To find out typos and missing words, we can read the document from the beginning to an end before sending out to the larger audience. Read the last sentence and then read the sentence before that.
  1. Finally
  • Finally try to Email Closing Lines with some eye-catchy statements such as “We would be delighted to have you as a customer,” “We look forward to meeting your every need…” “We know our product is a perfect match for your needs…”, etc.

Follow the measures before sending out the proposal

  • Pay close attention to the numbers mentioned and make sure they are accurate.
  • Review the Request for Proposal (RFP) and any other correspondence.
  • Make sure our business proposal is not missing anything requested by the Customer.
  • Shorten the proposal, if necessary. In short, let’s connect how Zbizlink supports end-to-end sales and the proposed solution. Single sign-in easy to use, Zbizlink enables you to share relevant content, track buyer deal, quickly produce error-free quotes and automate sales workflows and approvals.

Follow us on LinkedIn and try our Demo here.

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Learn How to Start a Business Proposal – Part – II

Business proposals are classified into three segments. The first part covers the concepts of how to start a business proposal, and the later part covers making our Proposal, and the final section covers how to conclude the Business Proposal. We have already discussed part I in our previous blog. Let us now discuss Part II which clearly explains how to make our business proposal more effective.

PART II

Making our Business Proposal

Before writing any business proposal, research plays a major role. “Research and analyze your product, your market, and your objective expertise, consider spending twice as much time researching, evaluating and thinking as you spend writing the business plan.” As a proposal writer, we must be clear in determining the purpose of our plan and try to create a Company Profile. Document all the aspects of our business. Try to have a strategic marketing plan in place. To write the perfect plan, we must know our company, our product, our competition, and the market intimately. Make sure that it is adaptable based on our audience.

  • Suggest a detailed solution. Once we identify the problem, we must tell the reader how we propose a solution to solve the problem. Try to be as transparent as possible. Ideally, our solution would be to provide our goods or services to the Customer. For instance, we could present it as: “Acme Accounting concentrates mainly on Accounting and Payroll Services for future minor and mid-sized businesses. We can offer complete service in the following areas such as inventory account balancing, year-end tax calculations and statements, ledger maintenance and summaries, and finally, standard pay period checks origination.” Ideally. That would be better to represent bullet points so that this information is readable.
  • Explicate the benefits of our solution. There may be various procedures to solve the problem. Hence, we need to explain precisely why our solution is the best. We can represent in bullet points to list out the benefits. The most common benefits include cost savings to the business, professional expertise, and confidentiality.
    • Make sure that we justify our expected benefits with proper evidence. For example, we may rely on previous studies that represent the benefits of following our solution that is proposed.
    • If there are no previous studies, then we need to depend on the observation by prominent people from the industry. For example, a former Customer could testify that we saved their business money.
  • Outline our task schedule properly. We need to explain the timeline for the tasks that are completed. This is essential information that could alter in the future, but it plays a vital role if the reader gets some idea of how we will go about executing our proposal.
    • We can summarize certain milestones. For example, if we suggest remodeling any store, then we should include the date that we start and when the store is ready for reopening.
    • Constantly try to explain that our timeline is an estimate and is liable on other factors too.
  • Include our budget appropriately. For any Customer, a budget may be the most critical part of the business proposal. The reader needs to know if they can afford our services, so we should include information about pricing. Be conventional. For instance, we may need to add up the predicted budget and then multiply by 1.5 to account for any unanticipated circumstances. Ensure to mention that the numbers are only sample estimates. Based on the proposal, we need to include the following information such as initial set-up costs, labor costs, supply costs, ongoing monthly charges and maintenance charges.
  • Label the contract terms. We should also include essential contract terms so that the reader will understand more about the contract they are entering. We could include information such as the following for instance such as:
    • How much is being paid on the date of signing?
    • Penalties or interests calculated for late payment.
    • Cancellation policies, for instance, there are no pre-payment penalties.

Zbizlink is a cloud-based software that helps in streamlining the proposal management in the RFP response process. The solution automates import and export functions, centralizes content, and enables collaboration among shareholders. One-stop solution, enhanced by an intelligent recommendation engine, provides centralized content and a collaboration hub. The integration of Technology allows all the teams to connect instantly to the people and content. Dashboards give evident reflectivity into RFP progress. Get in touch for prominent services. 

Zbizlink helps you be more productive when locating, creating, collaborating on and managing business-critical documents like pitches, proposals, contracts, RFP responses and more. Let’s take a Demo and explore more about ZBL.

Learn How to Start a Business Proposal – Part – I

A business proposal is a black and white agreement from a vendor to a prospective customer. Business proposals are the key documents in the complex sales process.

A proposal puts the Customer’s requirements in a context that favors the vendor’s products and services and informs the Customer about the abilities of the vendor in satisfying their demands. We need to draft a business proposal before we offer products or services to another business. We need to write a proposal in response to a Request for Proposal (RFP), which companies or government organizations send out when they have a problem which they need assistance with. Hence a business proposal should identify the Problem Statement, Proposed Solution and explain why you are the best vendor to solve the problem. A business proposal is never a business plan, which is a different document.

Our current blog is classified into three segments. The first part covers the concepts of how to start a business proposal, and the latter part covers making our Proposal, and the final section covers how to conclude the Business Proposal. Let us discuss Part-I in detail.

PART-I

Starting the Business Proposal

  • Starting the Business Proposal
    • Go through the given Request for Proposal (RFP) carefully. We need to submit a response to a business proposal to receive an RFP. Large businesses and public sector agencies send out RFPs when they require, for instance, an industry that is being charged may send out RFPs to different companies related to law asking for a business proposal. In turn, the public agency may also send out RFP if they need to buy supplies of a product. The proposed RFP should contain the required information which we must understand carefully before writing our business proposal.
      • Ensure that we can meet the Customer’s requirements as mentioned in the given RFP. For instance, if we cannot come in under the detailed budget or given a timeline, then we should not submit the proposal. Instead, we can reach out to a business which we think could use our services.
    • Ask proper questions. We need our business proposal to respond to the Customer’s actual needs. Which means we need to understand the Customer clearly and clearing up all the confusions in the RFP by asking proper questions. We always need to step into the Customer’s shoes and try to analyze the problems from their perspective. To help this process, you need to talk to the Customers and get answers to the following questions
      • If there were any prior attempts made to address the issue. If yes, why did they fail?
      • What are the criteria that the Customer will use while evaluating a business proposal?
      • If there are any concerns about the current vendor.
      • If the Customer wants to make sure whether their proposal is consistent with existing operating policies.
    • Format the document properly. We need our business proposal readable. The font that we follow should be in a size and style that the reader is comfortable with consistency throughout. For this, we have to use the font that is asked by the Customer, if not mentioned, we ideally use Times New Roman 12 point.
      • We can also go through sample proposals used in the industry. We can also find business proposal templates online. Using one of these templates can make our business proposal look professional.
    • Add a suitable title page. We need to have a title page as the cover page to our business proposal. The title page should comprise of the following information such as our name, our company’s name, the name of the person we are submitting the proposal to, and finally the date we are providing the proposal.
    • Introduce the problem carefully. A business proposal recognizes the problem and recommends a solution. Hence, we should start by identifying the problem in simple and clear language and try to explicate why the present situation is a problem for the Customer.
    • Provide the context if required. We need to explain the background so that the reader understands the proposal.
    • Define critical terms if any. Though our proposal should be simple and clear, there may be some terminology that we need to define for the reader. Note that we might submit our business proposal to an industry that understands industry jargon. However, the person who makes the final decision might not be familiar with industry terms.
    • Suggest a roadmap for the proposal. If we have a lengthy business proposal, then we need to offer an overview of what follows the introduction. For instance, we could write, “This business proposal has four parts. Part I covers Introduction, Part II, we offer the proposed solution, timetable, and an explanation of benefits in detail. We offer an itemized budget and a set of standard contract terms in Part III. Finally, in Part IV, we summarize our experiences and approve that our proposed solution is the correct course of conduct.”

Zbizlink is such Proposal Software and RFP management solution that enables sales, proposal and bid teams to generate, collaborate on and share all opportunity related content without leaving the familiar world of Microsoft Office and CRM. Bid, Sales and Marketing Teams globally, use Zbizlink.

Zbizlink helps you be more productive when locating, creating, collaborating on and managing business-critical documents like pitches, proposals, contracts, RFP responses and more. Let’s take a Demo and explore more about ZBL.

Get to Know 06 types of Business Proposals

A business proposal is regarded as one of the most crucial documents you ought to learn how to compose. This is what invocates the difference between a win and no win, whether you are a service provider, or you own a company. In these days, business people are tending to spend hours upon hours in submitting business proposals to all possible clients, and in return not getting any results. On the other hand, few people can get the contract after just submitting the business proposal.

Business Proposal-Its Basics

Before start writing any business proposal, one must first understand what the proposal is all about and learn the basics of that proposal.

Any business proposal is that written document that offers a specific product or service to a potential Customer. According to Ben Mulholland, in his article: 6 Types of Project Proposals that Get Approved, there are six types of business proposals.

  • Formally solicited
  • Informally solicited
  • Unsolicited
  • Continuation
  • Renewal
  • Supplemental

Out of all the above categories, solicited business proposals which are submitted in response to an announcement issued by the client and unsolicited proposals that are presented out to potential the Customers though they are not requesting are the principal types.

A formally solicited project proposal is prepared in response to an official request for a proposal. This is the easiest way of creating a proposal for any new project since the Request for Proposal (RFP) document will usually tell us exactly what the customer is expecting and at times, it also provides directions in preparing the proposal. Request for Proposal (RFP) forms is not to be confused with the project request forms though the former is a way to react to the needs directions and desires, whereas the latter one is a way for the management to request for a project of their teams.

Hence, for formally solicited proposals we should opt for a structured approach and have to respond directly to the details that have been relayed, essentially turning off feedback into a quantifiable project which we can then judge the worth of starting.

Informally solicited project proposals are the ones that are same as formally solicited proposals, except the information they are based on is not specific in any written document. Because of this, it makes it little harder to deal with and hence more research is involved in analyzing such type of opportunities, but we at least have a little-jagged starting point. It’s much simpler than a piece of small information that separates formal from informal, that is

Formal proposal requests have prior details, goals, deliverables, and potentially even methods, while

Informal proposals are based on any conversation. If we are asked for a proposal but are not given any specifications, then it is an informally solicited one. The approach for this is not much different from a formally solicited one, but we will have to put some extra work in illustrating the details like the objectives and method, and in evaluating how practical the whole thing is.

Unsolicited project proposals are cold deals. No one asks for this; still, it can provide tons of value for our business. These are the proposals that are thought of by a person who is submitting them and can be inspired by anything like a moment in the employee’s daily work to a casual conversation with the Customer. Perhaps these are called as the hardest proposals to present, as you will have to be extra credible as no one asked for the proposal. Hence we have to be little extra prodding. This means gathering more confirmations than the normal to prove the proposal’s standards. One should take extra care while writing to make sure that it’s more convincing.

Planning for Proposal

Once you are comfortable with what kind of proposal we are presenting, we need to research and prepare for the document content to make sure that we do not miss out any vital information. Though what you write will differ based on the type of proposal we are submitting and the format it is using. In any of the proposal, we must concentrate on the below headers mainly. We have to

  • Define our audience
  • Know what problem the proposal handles
  • Research on the current state of the issue
  • Define the proposal clearly
  • Forecast the effect this would hold
  • Calculate the time and resources that would opt for
  • Moreover, finally, create an outline of the document

We need not worry much about the language that we are using; instead, focus on getting the base facts accurate and covering ourselves for any questions that might counter our proposal. Let’s connect with Zbizlink representative today and start preparing quick proposals. 

Find 08 Quick Steps to Business Proposal Writing

To better understand steps in writing business proposals one should know types of Business Proposal first. In the current blog, we would concentrate on the stages of writing a business proposal. As discussed previously, a business proposal is considered as one of the most important documents that we need to learn how to write being as a proposal writer.

It is the deciding factor that spells the variance between success and failure, no matter you are a freelance proposal writer or you run a company of your own. In today’s business world, industrialists try themselves spending hours in succumbing the business proposals to the Customers and failing in getting positive results. On the other hand, few people can understand the deal after just submitting one business proposal.

The process involved in writing a business proposal:

Basics of a Business Proposal: Before attempting any business proposal, we must first get an understanding of what the proposal is and learn the basics. A business proposal is a written artifact that deals with a specific product or service to a potential Customer. As discussed, 6 types of Business Proposals there are generally two significant kinds of business proposals:

  • solicited business proposals (which is prepared in response to an official request for a proposal)
  • unsolicited proposals (proposals that are thought of by a person who is submitting them and can be inspired by anything like a moment in the employee’s daily work to a casual conversation with the Customer).

Business Proposal vs. Business Plan: The terms “business proposal” and “business plan” are often used as swappable terms which give us the impression that they are the same. However, in detail, they are not. A business proposal is documented to offer a product or service to a client, and a business plan is considered as a formal statement with a set of business goals and how these would be accomplished. Then, based on understanding, we must decide on what is to be included in a business proposal.

3‘P’s of a Winning Business Proposal: The success mantra behind writing a winning business proposal is the presence and application of the 3‘P’s, are Problem Statement, Proposed Solution, and Pricing Information.

  • Problem Statement: A compelling business proposal should be able to define their requirements plainly and directly to the Customer. This is important because we should not expect the Customer to believe that we can help them to solve their problems if we don’t understand their issues.
  • Proposed Solution: The core criteria for sending out a business proposal is to bid a solution to a problem faced by a Customer. This section should be elaborated in detail as possible and should be able to address every requirement that we have discovered.
  • Pricing Information: For most of the Customers, the pricing information plays a significant role in deciding them whether they would agree with the contract with us or not. Presentation of this part significantly depends on the solution or solutions you include in the previous section. If the solution offered would only entail a short period, a Fee Summary will suffice, if not for longer projects, these payments have to be specific and clear in a Fee Schedule list.

Points to be Considered When Writing a Business Proposal: With the above understanding, we have got some knowledge on the essentials of a winning business proposal. The next important aspect for consideration is to find out what to put under the 3 Ps so that we can develop a business proposal that gets their consideration and wins the contract.

Do our Research: Before start writing any business proposal, we should firmly believe in that not all clients give us the complete information of their needs and requirements, particularly when we are submitting an unsolicited business proposal. Try to research to the entire extent and include the competitors of our Customer, and their clients as well. This would ensure that the business proposal will be crisp and detail.

Put ourselves in their Shoes: Another essential thing to be considered while writing a proposal is always to put ourselves in the Customer’s shoes. With this we can get some clarity on most of the things like, why should the Customer pay this much amount for the solutions that we are providing and how can these changes benefit.

Why us: If we determine the needs of a Customer, there may be a probability of other competitors who have done the same which means that there would be others who have submitted their respective proposals to the Customer. Hence it is essential to make sure to portray our talents, experiences and other qualifications to convince the customer why they should choose us.

Writing a Business Proposal: Once we get all the required information, we are finally good to go. One of the best ways of writing a convincing proposal is to use a business proposal software like Zbizlink. These programs help us to write our business proposal without worrying about how they should align together and the content that we need to include. When you write your proposal, it’s important to be as clear and concise as possible. Zbizlink is one such Business proposal writing software that agrees on assisting you with a wide range of document responsibility for each Opportunity and continuously go beyond the usual assurances of quality. Let’s connect and schedule Demo today!

how to proposal development lifecycle management

How to Proposal Development Lifecycle Management

The proposal development lifecycle of a proposal starts way before the RFP is received. Many proposal writers seldom seem to pay attention to this. It could be because they do not know. Sometimes, it could be because they are not informed although they think it is crucial for them to understand. However, most often, it is because they do not have the right tools to help them manage and curate this information throughout the proposal development lifecycle. In this article, we want to stress what information you must collect, and where you must begin. Collecting information never ends, but at a bare minimum this article will tell you what to gather during the proposal development lifecycle to make your proposal persuasive, informative, and most importantly- intelligent.

It starts with the sales team identifying the right market for you to penetrate. Your market research teams identify and explore target markets and assess your potential to succeed in the market. Then, the benchmark your capabilities and figure out if the market is already saturated with similar players offering similar solutions. Once they have figured that out, they define a clear strategy that reduces the impact of your competition’s strengths and increases the effectiveness of your organization’s strengths. It would be great to have a proposal management software that will track these parameters- as often, this critical information gets lost in a pile of irrelevant email threads.

It is critical for any proposal author or manager to be aware of the inputs derived from previous phases of the lifecycle. Otherwise, when they write the proposal, the proposal will be void of the vital win themes that can be obtained from market assessment and strategic targeting. Therefore a proposal management software that tracks all these elements is so essential to business success

Once the market penetration strategy is developed, the organization must market the product or services they specialize in. They must implement their marketing strategy as planned, lest the potential customer misunderstands what we have to offer. In this phase, the marketing agents must note and track the conversations with potential customers, what they have to say about their needs and requirements. A proposal management software with opportunity management and assessment tools will be a great addition here to pick the right opportunities to pursue. The collection of this information and its effective duration is essential, and yet oft-ignored part of the proposal development lifecycle.

At this point, the sales team needs to circle down on the right opportunities to pursue. They must pick the battles that they can win, lest they waste their resources and energy on dreams and mirages they cannot feasibly reach. They must keep records of the strategy using a proposal management software so that those who are working on the proposal will know the strategy to implement in the writing

Once the marketing has been completed and customers are aware, the opportunities available must be assessed and funneled out. For this, the proposal development team and the sales teams must participate together in industry briefings, customer intelligence reports, and gathering specific program intelligence. At this phase, the customer’s requirements must be understood, and an initial position with the customer must be cultivated. Competitors strategies and how to overcome them must be an essential part of the opportunity assessment phase. Once all this information is collected, preferably on a proposal management software/ platform, the opportunity pursuit decision (also called Go/ No-Go decision) must be taken. Usually, organizations do not consider this information and seldom pass it on to the next and more crucial stage of the proposal development lifecycle- where the business proposal is written and developed.

The Bid Decision must be based on the answers to the following questions at a minimum:

  • Does the opportunity fit within our capabilities?
  • Who is the incumbent? Can we partner with the incumbent?
  • Do we have a good relationship with the customer?
  • Do we know and understand the client’s needs, goals and the impact of the solution?
  • Do we possess the resources and commitment to pull this off?
  • Can we deliver the proposal within the right timeframe?

It is important not just to ask these questions but also to keep the outcome within a system that can be accessed by those who are working on the proposal. If we do not have a systematic way of preserving and obtaining this crucial information, it is very likely that our win rates will succumb to the pits. A proposal management software will help to save this information and allow relevant members to access it throughout the proposal development lifecycle

Once the opportunity assessment phase is completed, we arrive at the proposal development phase. In this scenario, we either get the RFP from the customer, or we write a proactive proposal. The proposal manager must study the RFP or the statement of client requests to thoroughly understand the customer’s stated and unstated needs. Inferences need to be made, but of course, within the confines of logic. Any clarifications required are to be duly noted and circulated within the teams that are authoring the proposal. Once this is done, the team responsible must initiate a kick-off call and progress towards the development of the proposal from thereon.

The average proposal has about 100 micro iterations and ten major iterations throughout its lifecycle. Having the proposal in a single location where teams work collaboratively is a key to bidding and proposal success. We recommend using software like Zbizlink which can help you throughout the proposal development lifecycle. From capture management to opportunity assessment. From proposal development to final strategic reviews- Zbizlink helps you throughout the breadth and span of the proposal development lifecycle.

Find the Wining 03 Tips to Federal Proposal Writing

Just like any company, government organizations have needs that they find hard to fulfill on their own. Hence, they send out RFPs in the open market and make public announcements seeking any prospective bidders. Usually, government RFPs have fixed budgets, and hence, projects awarded are fixed-price contracts. Unlike commercial RFPs, government RFPs are usually hard to read and have complex jargon and legal terminology layered in nearly every single section.

In this article, we give you three tips (and a bonus tip) to help you respond well to a federal RFP and be compliant.

Tip 1: Know what is in each section

  • Section A contains the most basic information such as contact information, important addresses, solicitation number, guidelines and deadlines for submission, specific submission instructions, and even information on current incumbents.
  • Section B requires you to enter information on billing. You will need to enter in detail line by line on various billable expenses such as travel, labor, supplies, etc
  • Section C gives you the Statement of Work (SOW). The SOW forms the essence of what services are required and how they are expected to be delivered. It is crucial that this chapter must be thoroughly studied and analyzed by the delivery teams.
  • Section L gives you details on formatting, organizing and laying out of content. It may also contain additional submission requirements- such as a maximum page count, margin, spacing, font, etc.
  • Section M gives you details on how you will be scored and what are the scoring criteria. Focusing on this will help you evolve a strategy that will enable you to have a high likelihood of winning the deal. Reading section M and C together will enhance your ability to create a sound winning strategy and value proposition.
  • Section K has information on representations or certifications that you need to provide. This is especially important if the RFP requires only a specific type of a bidder, such as a US Firm, a minority bidder, a woman-led enterprise, etc.

Step 2: Ensure 100% compliance with a compliance matrix

Often, proposal writers and managers avoid creating compliance matrices because they may take much time to prepare. They feel that they would be more productive if they directly spend their time in responding to the RFP. However, industry studies have shown that creating a compliance matrix before writing an RFP response actually saves more time than they take to prepare.

Even if your font size does not match the compliance criteria mentioned in section L, your proposal will be instantly dismissed. It is crucial therefore that each compliance factor is captured well and adhered to by the proposal writers and contributors. We strongly recommend using a good capture management tool to auto-fetch the compliance factors, or to note down the compliance factors in a spreadsheet manually. Zbizlink provides a capture management tool that will fetch all relevant compliance factors for you so that you can focus on what is more important: strategy.

Tip 3: Read and Ask, Don’t Assume

Proposal writers who work on federal RFPs end up being either too complacent or too worked up while responding to a federal RFP. They either overthink of the RFP or too little. While you can use the above guidelines to find the information you need, depending only on the above guidelines may cause you to miss out on some important guidelines that may be hidden in other sections of the RFP. Hence, it is a good practice to glance through the entire RFP once to ensure that you have not missed anything before the kick-off call. During the kickoff call, allocate specific chapters to be re-read by a specific date by specific accountable proposal contributors. Since federal RFPs have long response times, ensure that the entire RFP is read thoroughly before responding.

Just like how proposals contain much boilerplate content, RFPs also contain much boilerplate content. Contradictions and confusions are commonplace. If you are not sure what the RFP’s intention is in-regard-to a specific matter, ensure that you ask about it. You can usually find guidelines for queries on the RFP and how they can be addressed in section L of the federal RFP. Ensure that the RFP is thoroughly read, and all queries are noted and sent to the customer by the date mentioned in section L.

Bonus Tip: Use a proposal management software.

Good proposal management software will help you organize and prepare the proposal better. Instead of wasting time on mundane tasks such as finding compliance factors, getting approvals and developing and maintaining proposal schedules, a good proposal management software will help you do the same, with a lot less effort. Consider using Zbizlink, a proposal management software built by proposal managers for proposal managers.

Zbizlink is entirely online, ensuring that all communication regarding a proposal is available in one place. It also helps you with scheduling, getting approvals, ensuring compliance, finding resumes and teaming with partners who have relevant resources, among other things. Save time. Don’t bid to respond. Bid to win, with Zbizlink.

7 Quick Tips to Find the Best Proposal Management Tool

Every single seller will tell you that their proposal management tool is undisputed, unequivocally, unmistakably the best proposal management software in the whole wide world. While some specialize in a particular area, others perform multiple functions.

In a world where there are so many proposal management tools, how do you select something that would really solve your problem instead of ending up in the valley of despair, where other procured enterprise tool has been condemned?

#1. Relevance over Aesthetics: We’ve been given this advice since childhood, and yet, the human brain falls prey to how things look. Often, a fancy ppt and a colorful sales pitch, and even a choreographed demo presented to a senior manager end up winning the votes. Beware of tools in the market that look great but don’t serve the purposes that matter. Remember those aesthetics come only second to the effectiveness

#2. What exactly are your requirements? We’ve noticed that quite often, organizations do not have a good set of requirements when they are procuring a proposal management tool. It is a good practice to have a well-articulated and realistic set of requirements when seeking a proposal management software. If you have a tool that performs multiple functions, focus on your key needs and priorities and seek a tool that solves the biggest problems best.

#3. The best vendors let you use it for free: For a while at-least, test and use the free version of the tool. Ask the vendor and see if you can get to use the full version for a month at no cost. See if you are comfortable using the tool. Make notes on the response time once you have clicked a few buttons.

#4. Does it save time and effort? We use chainsaws instead of axes because it takes less time to chop a tree with a chain saw than an ax. It also reduces the effort taken to chop a tree. The same goes for tools. Ask the following questions:

  • Does it save time and effort in proposal development?
  • Can you quantify the time and effort saved by using the tool in your environment?
  • Do you lose money or an equivalent amount of time by not using this tool?

Answering yes to all the above questions is a good justification for purchasing the tool, but there are more questions to be asked.

#5. Can it help you win? While all proposal management tool saves time and effort in some way or the other, the more important question that you must ask is if it will increase your likelihood of winning deals. It will not matter if you save all the time and effort in the world and end up on the losing side. Ask the following questions to

  • What strategic output will the tool generate that will enhance your likelihood of winning?
  • Will you be able to generate a better proposal by using this tool?
  • Will you be able to develop a competitive edge by using this tool?

#6. Can potential risks be mitigated?

Winning and losing a deal are pretty much two sides of the same coin. Hence, you must ask if the proposal management tool reduces your likelihood of losing the deal. To begin with, ask the following questions:

  • Will the tool mitigate your risk of non-compliance?
  • Will the tool reduce your likelihood of losing?
  • Does the tool track deals that you’ve lost and provide analysis on the same?

#7. What are the perks?

In addition to the above questions, it would be good to ask a few more which are as mentioned below:

  • Are there features in the tool not necessary now, but which you may need in the future?
  • Does the vendor offer after-sales support?
  • What are additional features for the tool available in the pipeline?
  • Do the price and functionality justify the purchase?
  • Is there are price hike that is expected over the years?
  • What are the future plans for the tool?
  • Do they take your suggestions for improvements?

Zbizlink was literally built by proposal managers for proposal managers. We built it because we could not find a single product in the entire market which could sufficiently help us with our needs for proposal management. We wanted a tool that could increase our win rates. We wanted a tool that could save time and help us manage the time we had before submission deadlines. We wanted a tool that can help us parse resumes for Request for resumes RFR, autofill documents and make the entire approval process very clear.

Moreover, hence, Zbizlink was born- out of a need that the market could not meet. Curious to know more about what Zbizlink can do for your business? Get in touch with us now!

The Zbizlink Advantage And Business Proposals

When it comes to preparing proposals, there are a lot of moving parts that have to be taken into account. Governmental RFPs tend to be extremely specific, detailed and exacting, with strict deadlines, and it’s important to have a complete understanding of expectations when navigating through the proposal writing process. All it can take is one missed detail or one misunderstood requirement and the entire proposal might be dismissed, and hours of work scuttled.

Writing proposals almost invariably means lots of stakeholders and SME’s involved in the process, and it’s imperative that they be able to communicate effectively and find the best methods and channels to collaborate in preparing the Business proposal.

There are plenty of proposal tools and proposal templates on the market that help achieve these ends, but few can boast the features that Zbizlink can bring to the table.

What you need in the proposal creation and management process is a way to keep information organized and easily accessible for everyone involved. This real-time access to vital information can save so many headaches and slowdowns in the process and can make the difference between putting your proposal over the goal line or seeing it get rejected.

Imagine a proposal tool that compiles all the information you need in one place, like a SharePoint library that’s populated with RFPs, reports, contracts and any other documents you might need in the proposal creation and management process. Now, imagine it organized so that the files you need can be quickly tracked down by author, solicitation number, bidder, procurement agency, data type or even by a given phrase or keyword. If you’ve ever experienced the frustration of digging through a clutter of emails or MS-Office folders to try to find the specific file you need (while the clock is ticking, of course), you’ll appreciate what a powerful proposal tool this could be.

What you need is a way for writers, editors and other stakeholders to have access to the information they need, whenever they need it – a resource that can work online or offline, on any device. It’s the kind of proposal tool that can open doors for you and can let your team collaborate in ways that are clear and direct and can mean the difference between turning in a winning proposal on-time or losing your chance at landing an all-important contract.

A few of the features that Zbizlink offers for document control and collaboration:
• User-friendly dashboard for transparent sharing of files and data
• Smart autofill feature and customizable templates to streamline the proposal process
• Control tool that archives every version, with regular backups to the cloud, protecting your content and all your hard work
• Customizable reports that can alert specific users automatically
• Live chat and email
• Automatic alerts when a bid solicitation is opened up and is a good fit for your organization’s niche

When it comes to putting together winning proposals that will get you the procurement contracts you need, there’s too much riding on the outcome to take chances. Find out how Zbizlink can streamline the process, get your team on the same page and get the results you need.