Setting the Stage Before the Proposal Manager’s Arrival

Bid and proposal (B&P) activities require significant investments, so allocating the proper budget ensures all opportunities have enough time, money, and resources to maximize their chance of winning. To stretch those dollars, some companies assign a proposal manager to a bid shortly before or simultaneously with the customer’s release of the request for proposal (RFP).

Once this crucial role is designated, the proposal manager focuses on pivotal tasks essential to initiating the proposal development process. These tasks include creating a comprehensive proposal schedule, formulating instructions for the kickoff meeting, and developing a meticulously structured compliance matrix and outline. Given this context, the capture team can significantly expedite operations for the newly appointed proposal manager by proactively undertaking the tasks outlined in Table 1 below.

Table 1: Accelerate Proposal Operations through Preemptive Capture Team Efforts

No.TaskTasks the capture team can start before the proposal manager arrives
1AccessProvide system and data access to those assigned to develop the proposal
2CommunicationsCreate a contact list and calendar invitations for upcoming meetings
3Compliance matrixCreate a compliance matrix using the draft RFP
4Draft executive summaryList or describe why the team offers the best value at the most competitive price to the customer using the proposed solution
5Information gapsIdentify information gaps requiring data calls
6Knowledge managementIncorporate essential proposal-related information into the company’s approved folder structureDiscard outdated or erroneous data to ensure timeliness and accuracy
7Orientation meetingConduct an orientation meeting post-proposal manager assignment, swiftly apprising the proposal manager of accomplished groundwork to facilitate technical and price proposal development
8Past performanceAdvise project managers to update relevant past performances before the RFP is released
9ResourcesIdentify the resources assigned to develop, write, review, edit, and produce the proposal, and confirm their availability
10ResumesAdvise staff earmarked for key roles to update their resumes
11Risk mitigationIdentify proposal solution and process risks and describe their corresponding mitigation strategies
12Strengths mapList one or more strengths that the company’s solution provides for each of the draft RFP’s evaluated criteria

By proactively addressing the tasks outlined in Table 1 before the proposal manager’s engagement, the capture team has the potential to accelerate the pace of proposal development significantly and reduce proposal development costs. Their initiatives can facilitate seamless information sharing, establish strong communication channels, and effectively preempt potential risks. This streamlines the proposal manager’s responsibilities and expedites the transition from the capture phase to the proposal development phase.

By Brenda Crist, Vice President at Lohfeld Consulting Group, MPA, CPP APMP Fellow

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 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 $170B 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 LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter.

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Brenda Crist