Javier Escartin

An engineer who loves proposals

Javier Escartin

An engineer who loves proposals

Perspectives for a Better Proposal Management and Writing Profession

Proposal Management office building at night with bid writers working on RFPs and grants
Photo by Valentin Farkasch

Miscellaneous ideas about our profession—bidding and proposals—coming from the conversations with the proposal/bid/grant management and writing professionals in my newsletter.

Some of these topics are covered in detail in different posts in this same blog, so dive into it for more information about processes, best practices, methodologies, techniques, resources, tips, and tricks.

To receive tips, stories, and insights on bidding, proposals, and tech—along with valuable resources—directly in your inbox for free, sign up here: Top Proposals Stuff.

Embracing a Sales Mindset in Proposal Writing

In the world of proposal writing jobs and proposal management, recognizing that proposals are fundamentally sales tools is crucial. This realization is the first step toward transforming the effectiveness of your proposals, whether in bid management jobs or grant writing jobs.

Proposals as Sales Instruments:

  • Sales Core: At its heart, every proposal is a sales pitch. Understanding this aligns your objectives with the ultimate goal: winning the contract.
  • Beyond Administration: It’s a misconception to view proposals merely as administrative tasks. They are strategic sales opportunities that require creativity, persuasion, and a deep understanding of the client’s needs. The Art of Clarity and Conciseness:
  • Cutting Through the Noise: RFPs, especially in the government sector, are notorious for their complexity and verbosity. The challenge for proposal managers and bid writers is to distill this complexity into clear, concise, and compelling proposals.
  • Learning from Sales: Successful sales teams excel at clear communication and a direct approach to closing deals. Proposal professionals should adopt this strategy, focusing on key selling points and straightforward language. Practical Steps for Proposal Professionals:
  • Focus on Key Selling Points: Identify and emphasize the core benefits and differentiators of your offering. This is essential for proposal manager jobs remote and bid writer remote roles, where clarity is paramount.
  • Simplify and Clarify: Use plain English and avoid jargon. Even complex proposals can be made accessible without diluting their technicality.
  • Align with the Client’s Perspective: Remember that the procurement team values brevity and clarity as much as you do. Crafting your proposal with this in mind can significantly increase your chances of success.

Adopting a sales mindset in proposal writing is not just a recommendation; it’s a necessity for those looking to excel in proposal management jobs, bid management, and grant writing. By focusing on key selling points and striving for clarity, you position yourself to win more contracts and advance your career in this dynamic field.

Elevating Proposal Management: The Power of Reputation

In the world of proposal management, reputation isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a pivotal factor that can significantly impact the success and efficiency of your team. The perception of proposal work within an organization can drastically affect the resources, support, and recognition your department receives. Understanding this can be the difference between a high-pressure, under-resourced environment and a well-supported, strategically valued team.

A company that views proposal writing as merely administrative is less likely to allocate the necessary resources and support needed for the team to excel. In contrast, an organization that recognizes proposal writing as a critical component of its business success will be more inclined to invest in proposal writing training, advanced software tools, and additional staff to enhance the proposal process. This supportive environment not only makes the workload more manageable but also significantly increases the chances of winning bids.

To improve proposal writing skills and the overall effectiveness of your proposal team, it’s essential to proactively work on shaping the internal narrative around proposal work. Start by ensuring that every team member is equipped to advocate for the value of proposals, highlighting their direct link to winning new business and driving growth. This can involve sharing success stories, demonstrating the ROI of well-crafted proposals, and engaging in cross-departmental education to raise awareness about the strategic importance of proposals.

Remember, changing perceptions won’t happen overnight, but consistent efforts to highlight the contribution of proposal management to the company’s success can gradually shift the tide. Encourage your team to seize every opportunity to demonstrate the strategic value of their work, from informal discussions with colleagues to formal presentations to upper management. By doing so, you’ll not only improve the standing of the proposal team within your organization but also contribute to a culture that recognizes and values the critical role of proposals in business success.

Navigating Procurement Challenges with Diplomacy and Strategy

In the world of proposal management, facing challenges with procurement teams is par for the course. Their actions, often seen as obstacles, can stem from a lack of understanding rather than intentional difficulty. Adopting a perspective informed by Hanlon’s Razor can transform these challenges into opportunities for growth and collaboration.

First, personal detachment is key. Recognizing that procurement’s actions are business-driven, not personal, allows for a more objective and solution-focused approach. This mindset is essential for maintaining professionalism and focusing on what truly matters: the proposal’s success.

Second, strategic communication plays a crucial role. Whether you choose to address issues during the bidding process or in the quieter interludes between RFPs, centering the discussion on improving their procurement process can lead to mutually beneficial outcomes. Framing suggestions in a way that highlights benefits for the procurement team can foster openness to change and collaboration.

This dual approach not only helps in managing bid processes more effectively but also positions you as a valuable consultant, not just a bidder. It aligns with proposal management best practices, emphasizing constructive feedback, education, and continuous improvement in client relationships.

As proposal professionals, leveraging these strategies can lead to enhanced outcomes, not just in individual proposals but in the broader context of client engagement and industry reputation. Remember, every challenge with procurement is an opportunity to demonstrate value, foster better understanding, and drive towards more efficient, collaborative procurement processes.

Navigating the Unpredictable Landscape of Proposal Management

Proposal management professionals often face a barrage of challenges, from unrealistic deadlines set by upper management to the peculiarities of procurement processes that defy logic. These hurdles are part and parcel of the job, and while they can be frustrating, they also offer opportunities for growth and resilience building.

Embrace Preparedness: The first step in tackling the unpredictable is to be as prepared as possible. This means having a solid understanding of your organization’s capabilities, a clear process for managing proposals, and a toolkit of strategies to deal with common and uncommon challenges alike.

Continuous Learning: Stay abreast of best practices in proposal management by engaging with the broader community, attending workshops, and participating in training sessions. Learning from the experiences of others can provide valuable insights and tactics for dealing with difficult situations.

Flexibility and Adaptability: Being rigid in your processes can be a downfall in the dynamic environment of proposal management. Cultivate a mindset of flexibility and adaptability, allowing you to pivot strategies as circumstances demand.

Build a Supportive Network: No one should navigate these challenges alone. Build a network of peers, mentors, and industry contacts who can offer advice, share their experiences, and provide support during particularly tough times.

Advocate for Reasonable Practices: While it may seem like certain decisions are beyond your control, don’t underestimate the power of advocacy. Articulate the implications of unreasonable demands clearly and propose viable alternatives. Even if you can’t change every situation, you might influence positive changes over time.

Prioritize Well-being: The intense pressures of proposal management can take a toll on personal well-being. Prioritize self-care and encourage your team to do the same, ensuring that everyone has the resilience to handle the demands of the job.

In summary, while the challenges of proposal management are inevitable, your response to these challenges can make all the difference. By embracing preparedness, continuous learning, flexibility, and a strong support network, you can navigate the unpredictable landscape more effectively and maintain your well-being in the process.

Leveraging Persuasion to Elevate the Proposal Profession

Persuasion: it’s the superpower of proposal professionals. Our unique blend of copywriting, marketing, sales, and industry knowledge equips us to craft compelling proposals. Yet, there’s a paradox: despite our persuasive prowess, the profession often lacks the recognition it deserves. It’s time we applied our skills beyond the proposals, to enhance our profession’s brand and demonstrate our value to upper management.

First, articulate the business impact of your proposal team. Use the same persuasive techniques that win bids to highlight your team’s contributions in terms of revenue, efficiency, and strategic wins. This isn’t just about boasting; it’s about demonstrating real business value in terms management understands.

Next, adopt a marketer’s mindset. Market your team’s successes internally through newsletters, intranet posts, or presentations. Share case studies of particularly successful proposals or innovations in your proposal process that led to wins. This showcases your team’s strategic importance to the organization.

Finally, engage with stakeholders. Understand their challenges and objectives, then clearly communicate how your team’s work aligns with and supports the broader business goals. This not only raises the profile of your team but also fosters stronger, more productive collaborations across departments.

By stepping up and applying our persuasive skills internally, we can transform the perception of the proposal profession, proving it’s not just an administrative function but a strategic powerhouse within the organization.

Unlocking Proposal Team Potential for Business Wins

In the competitive world of proposal writing and bid management, understanding the pivotal role of proposal teams is crucial. Our collective efforts can significantly influence the outcome of RFPs, government contracts, and grant applications. Here’s how we can harness this potential for better business results.

Embrace Your Impact: First and foremost, recognize the critical importance of your role in the proposal writing process. Every member of the proposal team contributes to the company’s success by ensuring compliance and excellence in our submissions. By acknowledging this, we can shift our mindset from one of limited influence to being key players in securing wins.

Enhance Proposal Quality: Focus on proposal writing best practices, proposal management methodologies, and bid writing techniques to elevate the quality of your submissions. Utilize proposal writing guides, proposal writing workshops, and proposal management training to refine skills and knowledge. This commitment to quality not only increases compliance but also positions our proposals more favorably against competitors.

Leverage Tools and Resources: While there may not be a one-size-fits-all tool to change the perception of our profession, numerous resources can address bidding bottlenecks. From proposal writing software to knowledge management models, these tools can streamline the proposal writing process and enhance our efficiency. Stay informed about the latest in proposal management best practices and bid management technologies to maintain a competitive edge.

By embracing our significant role, continuously improving our proposal quality, and leveraging available tools and resources, we can overcome misconceptions and position our proposals for success. Let’s ensure that both our teams and wider company recognize the value we bring to the table, making every win a collective achievement.

Building a Strong Proposal Management Reputation

In proposal management, reputation isn’t just about being known; it’s about being known for the right reasons. A strong reputation within your organization can significantly streamline the proposal process, making the journey from RFP to submission smoother and more efficient.

Strict Adherence to Deadlines: A proposal team that is renowned for its strict adherence to deadlines sets a standard for punctuality and reliability. This reputation encourages all stakeholders, including SMEs and subcontractors, to meet their commitments on time, understanding the team’s unwavering commitment to the schedule.

Commitment and Ethics: Being recognized for commitment to the project and unwavering business ethics fosters a culture of trust and professionalism. When stakeholders know that the proposal team operates with integrity and dedication, collaboration becomes more straightforward, and the proposal process becomes more efficient.

Navigating Internal Dynamics: Building this type of reputation may require navigating internal politics and challenging the status quo. Proposal leaders might need to enforce internal deadlines and push back against last-minute changes that could compromise the quality or timeliness of the proposal.

Long-Term Benefits: While establishing such a reputation can initially lead to conflicts, the long-term benefits are undeniable. A respected proposal department can lead to more wins, as the entire process becomes more streamlined, and the quality of submissions improves.

In conclusion, the reputation of the proposal management team within an organization can have a profound impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of the proposal process. By fostering a culture of punctuality, commitment, and professionalism, proposal teams can improve not only their success rates but also the overall dynamics of collaboration within the company.

Javier Escartin
Hey! It's me, Javi, an engineer who loves proposals with 12+ years in the field. First, as an employee for big Government RFPs, then freelancing for technology companies, and now primarily focused on running DeepRFP.com, a kit of over 20 AI tools designed for bidding that I founded. Oh! And I talk proposals all day long with the 2500+ professionals in my newsletter. Join us to get top proposals stuff for free! ↓↓↓

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Hey! It’s me, Javi. Just a quick note: if AI in proposals is something that interests you, I go deep dive with particular use cases here: DeepRFP/blog, such as, for example, executive summaries, compliance matrices, outlines, color teams, assessments, and more. It is also where you can try over 20 AI bidding tools for free.

Javier Escartin

Javier Escartin

Hey! It's me, Javi, an engineer who loves proposals with 12+ years in the field. First, as an employee for big Government RFPs, then freelancing for technology companies, and now primarily focused on running DeepRFP.com, a kit of over 20 AI tools designed for bidding that I founded. Oh! And I talk proposals all day long with the 2500+ professionals in my newsletter. Join us to get top proposals stuff for free! ↓↓↓

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At jescartin.com (owned by DeepRFP, S.L.U.), we will process your information in order to send you insights on proposals and technology, which could include the promotion of related products and services. You may exercise your rights of access, rectification, limitation, opposition, portability, or withdraw consent by contacting stuff@jescartin.com. Further details in the Privacy Policy.