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13 Critical Steps
Step 1 Establish a strong proposal theme and supporting story line.
Step 2 Scope, organize and write a compelling proposal that communicates a sense of urgency without an exaggerated or overly aggressive tone.
Present the proposal to key stakeholders to highlight your commitment to the deal and to communicate the most compelling reasons to buy now, and to buy from you.

2Get Creative

“A proposal theme is not unlike the plot in a novel or film. The storyline sets up the prospect’s situation, the impact it’s having on their bottom line&#151and how you propose to deliver resolution. A confident story shows you’ve done your homework.” Richard Fouts, research director at Gartner.

3Dont Respond Blindly

Even when solution providers are constrained by a rigid RFP structure, they can look for opportunities to tell a creative story in RFP sections that ask for solution overviews, architectural principles or customer references. Resist the knee-jerk reaction to respond blindly to product functionality, methodologies or other offering-specific capabilities.

4Keep It Simple

Providers should stay focused on the single, most-important thing they want the prospect to remember about their offer. Get your team in a room with a white board, generate as many themes as you can, then use a voting technique to start prioritizing ideas and converge on one theme.

5Exercise Constraint

Try not to create a theme that is overly complex. The best themes create a picture of a clear business outcome. Think of a favorite novel or film. There’s usually one character people remember, or a single image of why the story is memorable&#151even years later.

6Strong Storyline

One way to develop your theme with a strong storyline is to use the situation, impact, resolution model. This technique helps providers acknowledge the prospect’s situation or pain, the impact this situation is creating&#151and how providers will turn a challenging situation around.

7Scoping The Proposal

Several things compromise the integrity of proposal scope&#151pressure to get a bid submitted on time, competitive pressures to keep price as low as possible, or an immature scoping process. But scoping errors lead to inaccurate pricing, which leads to poor delivery performance and customer satisfaction issues.

8Presenting The Proposal

Proposals that are presented to the buying team have a 50 percent higher probability of winning that those that are not presented, says Gartner. Because trust is the most important component to winning a big-ticket opportunity, providers need to have face time with the prospect to secure their commitment to the deal.

9Standing Out From The Crowd

It’s the business outcome you propose to deliver that differentiates you. A product-oriented approach, with pages of features, functions and architecture not only puts you in the proposal clutter, it shows you haven’t been listening to what the prospect is trying to change.