Proposal Writing

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In many cases when you wish to submit an offer to a solicitation, you will need to prepare a Non-Price or Technical Proposal document. This is especially common for service-type contracts, where the agency needs to feel confident that you can complete the tasks required.

The Technical Proposal usually consists of a number of factors, including details of how you propose to complete the tasks; examples of previous projects of similar size and complexity; your management approach; Quality Assurance details; sometimes resumes of key personnel; and so on.

First, read through the entire document thoroughly, to understand all the requirements and Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR).

Solicitations all use a specific format with consistent sections (A through M), which makes it easier to find the information you need (the complete list of sections is listed at the end of this document).

For the purposes of writing your Technical Proposal, you should pay particular attention to:

  • Section C (Statement of Work)
    The exact details of the work to be performed
  • Section L (Instructions)
    The format of your documents; what and how to submit
  • Section M (Evaluation)
    The factors that the agency will consider when evaluating proposals, and their respective importance – price; past
    performance, technical experience
  • Focus on the Benefits
    Your proposal should be focused on the benefits to the agency. Don’t write a proposal that talks about how good your company is – write about how your company can help the agency with its goals and missions! Think about what the agency wants; and tailor your solution directly to them. Make every statement matter to the agency – instead of simply stating how many years of experience you have in this field, explain how that experience will be beneficial.

    Executive Summary
    An Executive Summary is a broad narrative outline of the company, and how it proposes to fulfill the tasks listed in the requirement. The Executive Summary could consist of:

    • Introduction – in broad terms, what you will do for the agency and how they benefit.
    • Features & Benefits – the features you offer and the corresponding benefits.
    • Corporate Introduction – brief description of the company; points of contact.
    • Qualifications – relevant qualifications or project experience.
    • Why Select Us – a bulleted list – why should the agency select your company?

    Keep the Executive Summary to one or two paragraphs. Bear in mind that many proposals have a strict maximum on the number of pages, so every sentence should count! There’s nothing to be gained from broad generic statements; this should be fine-tuned to the specific requirements. Avoid meaningless words and phrases, industry jargon or business-speak.

    Compliance Matrix
    A simple table, cross-referencing each of the requirements with the page numbers or sections of your proposal, makes it easy for the evaluation team to see that your proposal is compliant.

    Evaluation Criteria
    Section M gives you details of how the evaluation team will score each proposal. Generally the evaluation will be based on a combination of Price, Technical Approach and Past Performance.

    • A ‘Best Value’ evaluation will look at all factors to determine the best overall value to the agency – sometimes
      technical experience will have more weight than price for example.
    • A ‘Low Price Technically Acceptable’ (LPTA) evaluation will go over each proposal with a fine tooth comb, and
      eliminate any proposal that doesn’t conform exactly to the proposal requirements. All ‘compliant’ proposals will
      then be evaluated on price.In a LPTA evaluation it is vitally important to follow the instructions to the letter

    Technical Approach
    This section should exactly mirror what the evaluators are looking for:

    • If the Statement of Work uses specific headings and subheadings, use the same headings in your proposal.
    • If the solicitation uses specific terminology, terms and keywords, the evaluator will probably be scanning your
      proposal for them.
    • When your proposal structure mirrors the evaluator’s checklists, they can quickly verify your compliance and easily
      assess your solution. Make it easy for them to give you a high score.

    Past Performance
    In most cases you will need to demonstrate your company’s past performance in projects that are similar in size and scope to the work in the solicitation. Unless you are required to use a specific format, begin with a brief overview of your company’s project experience, and show how these projects can be directly related to the major tasks identified in the Statement of Work (SOW).A simple table or matrix can cross-reference experience from previous projects to specific requirements in the Statement of Work.

    Common Mistakes

    • Exceed page count, font type and size
    • Incorrect format
    • Errors or missing sections
    • No executive summary
    • Incorrect pricing format – hourly rate, Firm Fixed Price, time-and-materials
    • Industry jargon, undefined acronyms, meaningless business buzz words
    • Missing amendments

    In-House Library
    Build your own in-house library of documents, including the Executive Summary, QA details, Managerial Approach, Resumes of Key Personnel, Past Performance projects and so on. This way you can fine tune and re-use them for future solicitations.

    Contact us for more information on how we can help you with your next Proposal

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