How strong is your business ecosystem?

Achieving a consistently high proposal win rate requires a highly capable bid and proposal team, in addition to a strong business ecosystem consisting of contracts, finance, human resources, recruiting, technical and project management, communications, partners, and suppliers. If one or more of the components of the ecosystem is weak, your bid can fail. For example, your proposal might fail if your pricing department is unable to produce a cost competitive proposal, recruiters are unable to identify highly qualified key personnel, or project managers do not receive good customer references.

A consistent win rate requires all components of the business to work in harmony. Consider using this check list to determine how well the business units within your company work together to support winning bids.


  • Are executives able to guide the pipeline so only bids with a significant win rates are pursued?
  • Do executives invest time and money in market research tools or services?
  • Are executives able to staff company organizational units with highly qualified staff and consultants?


  • Can your contracts staff draft, review, and send out non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and teaming agreements (TAs) in sufficient time?
  • Do your contracts staff have templates for governing standard operations that can easily be modified to meet customer requirements? These documents include Organizational Conflict of Interest (OCI), subcontracting agreements, and memorandums of understanding.
  • Do your contracts staff have access to lawyers to respond to legal requirements or potential protest situations?
  • Do your contracts staff have processes in place for rapidly communicating contract announcements, amendments, or clarifications to members of the bid and proposal team?
  • Do your contracts staff update information in government databases about the company on schedule?


  • Has the finance staff ensured your accounting system has the right certifications/approvals to conduct government business?
  • Can the finance staff distribute charge codes for time cards and administer time cards?
  • Do you pay suppliers and subcontractors within agreed upon time limits to ensure good business relations?
  • Has the technical and management staff given the pricers sufficient information to develop cost-competitive proposals?
  • Do finance staff have access to historic or industry data on which to base staffing estimates?
  • Are they trained to support the development of BOEs (basis of estimates)?

Technical leaders

  • Can your technical staff articulate what distinguishes your core competencies from competitors and quantify how the core competencies benefit customers?
  • Can your technical staff tailor your core competencies to meet proposal requirements?
  • Have your technical staff identified gaps in your core competencies and identified partners or products that can fill them?
  • Do the technical staff stay informed of leading technology and do they have plans to keep technical solutions up-to-date and competitive?
  • Do the technical staff keep their past performance and resumes updated in the corporate database?

Project management leaders

  • Does your project management team have project management plans, schedules, and processes available to govern operations, ensure quality, and minimize risk that are consistent with industry best practices?
  • Have your project managers delivered outstanding performance and will their customers provide outstanding references?
  • Do operations managers ensure references contained in government databases fairly and accurately reflect your performance, and do they have a plan in place to make sick projects well?
  • Does your company have a standing transition team, plan, and processes for managing transitions, capturing incumbent contractors, and minimizing disruption to ongoing operations?

Human resources (HR), training, and recruiting

  • Does your HR team maintain a competitive compensation plan for staff members?
  • Can your recruiters identify highly qualified personnel or contingent hires in time for the proposal response deadline?
  • Does the organization have a plan for fill job vacancies quickly?
  • Does HR have a plan for career development, training, and retention?
  • Has your company trained business organizations to support the business development and proposal teams?

Communications and public relations (PR)

  • How well does your website reflect your core competencies? Is it out of date? Does it reflect well on your company? Can users find information quickly?
  • Has PR effectively promoted your brand to customers?
  • Have they identified events to attend to promote the company?
  • Does the proposal team have access to graphic artists to enhance the visual appeal of proposals?
  • Does the proposal team have editors to support quality control?


  • Has the company acquired the industry certifications needed to validate your core competencies?
  • Have you arranged agreements or alliances with partners, suppliers, or recruiters to help deliver your solution?

If you answered no to any of these questions, consider how you can strengthen your business to increase your win rate.

by Brenda Crist, MPA, CPP APMP Fellow

Connect with Brenda on LinkedIn

Lohfeld Consulting Group has proven results specializing in helping companies create winning captures and proposals. As the premier capture and proposal services consulting firm focused exclusively on government markets, we provide expert assistance to government contractors in Go-to-Market Strategy, Capture Planning and Strategy, Proposal Management and Writing, Capture and Proposal Process and Infrastructure, and Training. In the last 3 years, we’ve supported over 550 proposals winning more than $135B for our clients—including the Top 10 government contractors. Lohfeld Consulting Group is your “go-to” capture and proposal source! Start winning by contacting us at and join us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Lohfeld Consulting