Lifecycle Phases
Upper Management
Marketing and Business Development
Program and Technical Management
Capture Team
Proposal Management Team
Proposal Writing & Production
Sample Time Frames
Market segmentation includes activities that help you evaluate your marketplace and identify segments of the market in which you want to compete. The successful, long-term development of new business depends on focusing business planning according to your corporate long-term plans. These plans ensure management and marketing focus and precede discrete opportunity targeting.
The "best case" scenario is that you position yourself so well and become so entrenched with the customer that you eliminate the need for an RFP altogether.

Unfortunately, sole source awards of significance are rare. The best option is to plan your moves in the marketplace far enough in advance to accomplish those things that will ensure success.
In Phase 2, you make informed decisions about the opportunity and your ability to pursue it, ans obtain and assign the resources to do so. The management influence from the top down—from mission or vision statement all the way to proposal plans—must be balanced or affected by the customer input from the bottom up.
Good planning and preparation save thousands of Bid and Proposal (B&P) dollars. Most of the front-end planning and preparation should be done by a core team consisting of a proposal manager, marketer, and volume leaders. These people set the stage for fuller team involvement.
If you wait until the RFP arrives to put together the proposal team, you invite disaster. Proactive core teams gather good program intelligence and then use theat information to develope sound strategy, gather and tailor boilerplate, and draft strawman volumes. When the RFP arrives, most of the work is already done.
Final development of the proposal begins when the RFP arrives. A systematic team effort based in concurrent activities ensures that the proposal is compliant, responsive, strategically sound, consistent among volumes, adn produced on time.
The most critical proposal work you do might be done after submitting the proposal. You must develop discussion and pricing strategies the reinforce your strengths and eliminate or mitigate your weaknesses.

Above all, your post-submittal work must convince the customer that you care about this contract and that you are responsive to the customer's needs and requirements.
Target new customers and markets that support your long-term strategic business plan and capabilities.
Use research and intelligence gathered on new and existing customers and markets to focus your time and resources on the right market markets.
Assess your capabilities and assets to align with the customer’s short- and long-term needs and to establish your credibility and potential in strategic markets.
Develop processes and strategies, including marketing plans, R&D, trade shows, professional affiliations, and technical papers and expertise to validate reliable intelligence for making sound market decisions.
Use information gathered from Steps 1-4 to develop a strategic marketing plan that emphasizes your ability to out-perform the competition and positions you for future opportunities.
Employ marketing teams to identify potential opportunities and gather relevant information within key management-approved market segments.
Interpret and analyze marketing data acquired in Steps 2-4 to ensure data is current, correct, relevant, and complete to help you achieve your desired position in the right market areas.
Use data gathered in Step 7 to develop a marketing/campaign plan package that incorporates new intelligence and aligns with your mission, vision, and strategic plan.
Prioritize new business opportunities using criteria defined by management and begin building customer relationships.
Use key marketing activities to target potential business opportunities and develop “call plans” to build customer relationships and establish trust.
Concentrate corporate time and money on business opportunities that meet management criteria and have a high win probability.
Decide which management-approved opportunities to pursue and assign lead to conduct in-depth opportunity assessments.
Gather preliminary customer/program intelligence to favorably align your solution with the customer’s needs.
Use marketing events to target opportunities that maximize your potential and optimize use of corporate resources; meet with potential teaming partners and decision makers.
Nurture potential customers with frequent visits, presentations, and demonstrations to build trust and understanding; when appropriate, help shape customer requirements.
Use in-depth analysis of the customer’s needs and requirements before building a business case and moving toward a pursuit decision.
Use competitive intelligence to identify probable competitors, including their strengths and weaknesses as perceived by the customer.
Use a succession of decision milestones to determine if your capital and resources are adequate to pursue specific opportunities.
Use marketing and business development recommendations to prepare pursuit recommendations before pursuing a specific opportunity.
Prepare an initial capture plan and assign a capture manager for opportunities identified by business development and marketing.
Select members for the capture team based upon complexity of the opportunity and size of the proposal.
Gather information as early as possible from various customer contacts before the final solicitation is released and communication channels are restricted.
Use good program and customer intelligence (i.e., customer’s budget and biases, prior history, competitors, etc.) to properly assess your probability of winning (Pwin).
Implement the Shipley process (Populate, Validate, Update, and Implement) to develop concise and specific capture plans that provide benefit throughout the capture planning phase.
Use upper management reviews to determine realistic budgets for capture activities and proposal development.
Use independent team of senior managers (Blue Team) to review, refine, and approve the capture plan.
Update capture plans weekly or bi-weekly and report progress against the action plans, particularly on “must-win” opportunities.
Work with the customer to refine needs and identify specific requirements to ensure your proposed solution is on target.
Collaborate with customers to further refine your understanding of their needs, concerns, and hot buttons and work toward potential solutions.
Zero in on a winning price with the customer by establishing “should-costs” or cost bogeys that focus on the customer’s price-capability (budget limited, capability satisfied, or best value).
Based on the make/buy decision, establish potential teaming and vendor relationships early or risk problems later when writing the actual proposal.
Conduct a Black Hat review using non-proposal team members who are experts on your competitors’ likely strategies and solutions.
Revisit all available marketing intelligence to update capture plan and develop a mock-up executive summary to jump-start the proposal effort and provide win strategy direction.
Use a preliminary bid/no bid gate review to determine if an opportunity is worth pursuing.
Identify the proposal manager (proposal focused) and the program manager (program and customer focused) after the decision to bid has been made.
Continue to nurture the customer (series of onsite visits) to gather additional marketing intelligence to favorably position your approach and solution prior to release of the solicitation.
Formulate a detailed proposal strategy to help the proposal team develop customer-focused win themes.
Avoid last minute challenges by developing deadline-driven proposal schedules to help allocate proposal resources and estimate drop-dead dates for final proposal submission.
Use a Blue Team review to validate and test proposal strategy against customer requirements and competitor approaches.
Develop a draft WBS and WBS dictionary to provide the framework for controlling proposal costs, monitoring proposal schedule, and reporting proposal progress.
Develop a program schedule to determine proposal task sequence and place cost estimate in the appropriate time period.
Draft a preliminary make/buy plan based on recommendations from the capture manager that will help the proposal manager in his/her decision to “make or buy” to meet customer requirements.
Prepare a detailed subcontractor and/or teaming SOW to define tasks, estimate costs, and provide clear direction on the roles and responsibilities of the subcontractor or team members.
Draft an initial proposal outline to guide the writing process (i.e., section length and titles, page limits) and address all evaluation criteria, customer hot buttons, and other vital information provided by the customer (SOW and/or SOO).
Develop a Proposal Management Plan (PMP) to check daily progress, request additional input from non-team members (marketing and/or upper management), and convey expectations and deadlines to the proposal writers.
Craft an offering that supports all customer needs and meets the requirements of the evaluators.
Draft your baseline design well before the final solicitation is released and work toward an early solution/design freeze.
If a draft solicitation is not released, use previous customer solicitations to draft a strawman RFP; if a draft RFP is released, respond with your best questions or comments to further clarify customer requirements.
Based on intelligence gathered and the draft solicitation, develop a pricing strategy that includes a low-cost, technically acceptable solution as well as a best value solution.
Identify cost drivers early to balance cost against performance and ensure the final price is not inflated beyond the customer’s budget.
Notify proposal team members both in writing and personally of their expected assignment to the team and their likely role.
Develop a proposal team area to provide a sense of comradeship, purpose, and morale; establish a proposal library to store past proposals, lessons learned, boilerplate, and competitor information.
Use Shipley’s storyboarding tool (Proposal Development Worksheet) to provide guidance to the proposal writers and ensure consistency and compatibility across the entire proposal
Establish cost estimating guidelines in the cost volume to guide estimators and facilitate contract negotiations.
Develop a SOW/WBS/BOE responsibility matrix to ensure compatibility between technical, management, and cost volumes and check if all RFP requirements are addressed.
Provide information (writers’ packages) to section writers to ensure they understand their assignments and specific tasks; the Proposal Management Plan will provide much of this information.
Mock-up a draft executive summary that reflects your win strategy and mirrors the customer’s desired format for the proposal.
Conduct a proposal kickoff meeting to make assignments, convey critical program information to writers, coordinate proposal activities, and build a cohesive team.
Use Shipley Proposal Development Worksheets (PDWs) and Oral Proposal Planners (OPPs) to help section writers and leaders clarify their writing tasks and refine section strategies.
Finalize section and volume mockups and strawman executive summary for Pink Team review.
Conduct a Pink Team review to critique the draft proposal for compliance, strategy, visuals, themes, space allocation, and overall cohesiveness.
Create accurate section mock-ups, page mock-ups, and volume mock-ups to provide a clearer picture of how the proposal will look.
Prior to release of the final solicitation, paste or transfer draft strawman text and visuals directly onto the mock-ups so volume leaders can view the proposal as it is being developed.
Read the customer solicitation thoroughly to identify requirements and technical specifications that are vague, confusing, or inconsistent; develop detailed compliance checklists for all areas of the solicitation.
Make the final bid/no bid decision based upon your “homework” prior to release of the customer solicitation: opportunity assessment, core team preparation, and long-term positioning.
Upon arrival of the customer’s solicitation, conduct a quick but intensive review of the original bid decision; make final bid decision within 1 day of receiving the customer’s solicitation.
Determine strategies and finalize legal arrangements early with subcontractors; guard your intended solution carefully because often subcontractors form teaming arrangements with competitors.
Take advantage of the pre-proposal conference to ask questions about requirements or issues that have arisen since the solicitation was released; however, don’t divulge your strategy to your competitors.
Determine the design/solution freeze date; be firm – stick to the freeze date to avoid endless revisions and interactions, frustration, fussing, and missed deadlines.
Analyze the customer’s solicitation and build a compliance checklist; then use the compliance checklist to develop the proposal response matrix that will be included in the proposal for the convenience of the evaluators.
Update the original proposal management plan (PMP) to save time and minimize confusion; include additional customer background data, specific deadline dates, major milestones, and key events.
Conduct a proposal update kickoff meeting to ensure the entire proposal team is moving in the same direction.
Use brainstorming techniques to generate ideas quickly concerning formatting of proposal text, key visuals, headings, and sections.
Apply the seven common characteristics of winning proposals to improve your win probability; use compelling visuals to sell you solution to the customer
Use cost estimating sheets to write detailed descriptions of the work to be performed, the estimate, and the rationale behind the estimate.
Ensure cost estimating sheets are complete and compliant; review estimated costs and pricing for credibility and rationale.
Conduct frequent status meetings to update team members on the proposal’s status, resolve problems, and check compliance with the customer’s solicitation.
Assign review dates to keep proposal on track and appoint people to review sections and visuals for consistency, responsiveness, and strategy.
Provide appropriate solutions to writers’ problems; submit section drafts to editors for final review
Conduct a Red Team meeting to evaluate the draft proposal from the customer’s perspective; check for last-minute problems in the proposal’s focus, theme statements, writing, organization, visuals, and overall effect.
Use horizontal (themes and visuals) and vertical (text) “hit teams” to address revisions specified by the Red Team review and massage the proposal into its final winning form.
Perform a final review of the entire proposal to ensure 100 percent compliance to the customer’s solicitation; conduct a final “page turn” review to check for any problems with proposal reproduction and assembly.
Submit proposal for final legal review and check all volumes and content for compliance and accuracy.
Always use a back-up delivery method to ensure the proposal is submitted on time without any last-minute glitches.
Collect all relevant proposal documents to prevent problems during post-submittal activities and final contract negotiations.
Write a lessons-learned report (White Team review) at the end of every proposal effort to help avoid future mistakes and document lessons learned.
Plan the Final Proposal Revision (FPR) discussion to increase your chance of success, respond fully to customer’s questions/concerns, and further the customer’s trust in your solution.
Answer all Evaluation Notices (ENs) completely and professionally to help evaluators clarify parts of your proposal that are confusing, hard to understand, or lack of sufficient information.
Attend the FPR discussion with professionalism and confidence; avoid arrogance and verbosity; use proposal to guide orals development; coach and rehearse with orals team
Review the pricing strategy before writing the FPR; do not price your solution so low that you lose money in the long run.
Make only those changes to the proposal as directed by the customer; clearly mark each change to facilitate the evaluation process
Ensure the final FPR responds fully to the customer’s latest wishes; be tough and meticulous on this review before final submission of the FPR
Develop the negotiation strategy based on a thorough understanding of the customer’s goals; check your facts, anticipate arguments, and carefully analyze additional changes requested by the customer.
Develop a program transition plan that reflects all requirements of the contract (end/start dates, deliverables, billing formats, customer contact information, etc.)
Win or lose, always request and attend a debriefing to strengthen your relationship with the customer and learn from your mistakes; if you lose, don’t be defensive or argumentative – you may work with these evaluators again in the future
Recognize all proposal contributors’ efforts, accomplishments, and value in a victory party (win or lose); hold a second party if you win.
Multi-Year Strategic Plan
Marketing/Campaign Recommendation Package
Marketing/Campaign Plan
Interest/No-Interest Recommendation Package
Opportunity Analysis Report

Establish Initial Competitive Pricing Range
Pursue/No Pursue Recommendation Package
Internal Marketing Reports
Detailed Capture Plan, including:
White papers, technical papers, presentations, preliminary SOO/SOW/WBS, trade studies, etc.
Preliminary Baseline Solution

Conceptual Designs

Preliminary Cost for Baseline Solutions
Executive Summary Mock-up
Bid/No-Bid Recommendation Package
White papers, technical papers, presentations, SOO/SOW, trade studies, etc.
Proposal Strategy Document
Pricing and Cost Documents
WBS/WBS Dictionary

Program Schedule
In-house Sub and/or Teaming SOWs
Proposal Outline

Draft PMP
Questions/Suggestions for Customer
Pricing Strategy Document

Estimating Guidelines
Responsibility Matrix

Writers' Packages

Draft Executive Summary
Proposal Kickoff Package
PDWs and Mock-ups/OPPs
Pink Team Report and Recommendations
Updated Bid/No-Bid Recommendation
Final Teaming Agreements
Compliance Checklists

Response Matrices

Proposal Management Plan
Updated Proposal Kickoff Package
Detailed Estimated and Roll-up

Final Mgmt Decision on Price
Section Drafts and Visuals/Presentation
Red Team Report and Recommendations
Final Proposal for Delivery
Lessons-Learned Report
Customer Questions and Responses
Oral Presentation

Customer Discussions
FPR Proposal
Negotiated Contract
Customer Debrief Report
Participant Acknowledgements

Welcome to Shipley’s Online
Business Development Lifecycle

This interactive tool will help you understand the key fundamentals of planning, preparing and ultimately positioning yourself for the best chance to win proposals.

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