CXO

Tips for surviving the proposal process

Finding and responding to RFPs is time-consuming work that doesn't always pay off. To better your chances, read this three-part series and learn tips, tricks, and inside information about finding RFPs and writing proposals.


While most other positions in the tech sector deal primarily with internal clients, IT consultants (the tech sector’s extroverts) must communicate with the outside world every day. Often, that communication takes the form of a proposal, a formally written, detailed pitch that explains how a consultant can solve a client's problem, how long it will take, and how much it will cost. Many times, proposals are written in response to a request for proposal (RFP), but in certain circumstances, submitting unsolicited advice may give your firm a leg up.

Proposal writing is an intricate, lengthy process that requires a great deal of research and writing time. The better the proposal, the greater the chance of winning the contract and generating revenue for your firm. To help you make the most of the time you devote to finding and responding to RFPs, we've gathered links to a three-part series that offers concrete advice for the proposal-writing process. Whether you're a veteran writer or a newbie in the contracting field, you'll benefit from these substantive tips, recommendations, and warnings.

Help from TechRepublic
TechRepublic contributor Meredith Little, who runs WriteWork, an IT documentation consulting business based in Colorado, has written a three-part series to help you find the best RFPs, write solid proposals, and preserve your ideas.
  • ”Finding and responding to RFPs: Tips for IT consultants”
    In this first installment, Little lists the major components of standard proposals and then dives into likely places to find RFPs that may match your firm's capabilities. She lays down some ground rules about which RFPs you should answer and which ones you should ignore. Her tips may lead you to new contracts in both the public and private sectors.
  • ”What to include in formal and informal proposals”
    Repeat after me: Great proposals win contracts. Here, Little explores the components of a formal proposal and the strategy for completing each with a winning finesse. She also discusses how to approach an informal proposal. Finally, she gives a run down of what may happen after your proposal is submitted. Do you know what it means when you're asked for a “best and final offer”?
  • ”Submitting a proposal and safeguarding your ideas”
    How would you like to find out that Company A used the advice from your proposal but contracted Company B for half the price? In this final article, Little addresses how to shield your ideas from both your competitors and potential clients. You'll also learn the benefits of submitting a proposal without prompting from an RFP, and how to tell when it would be a waste of your time.

Share your resources
Do you have a publishable sample proposal that won a contract for your firm? Take out the identifying details or put in phony pricing as needed, and send us your sample proposal along with permission to print it. If we publish it, we'll send you a TechRepublic coffee mug for your efforts!

 

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