The Anatomy of the Right RFP Data Call

Your RFP (Request for Proposal) has just been released, and whether you are a single company, teamed with another company, or have multiple teaming partners, you will be required to submit various types of information as part of your proposal. This information typically includes a statement of your corporate capabilities, Section K information (Representations/Certifications and Statements of Offerors), Section H information (Special Contract Requirements), information on past contracts, and resumes of key personnel.

The importance of crafting a good data call is often overlooked by companies in the rush to begin developing technical proposal content. A well-structured data call, implemented early in the proposal process, can be a real time saver. Salient facts can be placed into the proposal at the outset, resulting in a more complete proposal for reviewers, who can be easily frustrated by missing data. It also reduces “churn” for teaming partners by eliminating multiple requests for information from various individuals on the proposal team.

The “right” data call also adequately explains and instructs the recipient on the specific type of information that is required, and why it is necessary. This reduces the likelihood of incomplete, inaccurate, insufficient, or irrelevant data being returned to the data call administrator. It also helps the writing team gather the right “proof statements” to be used to establish the company or team’s capabilities, key personnel qualifications, and experience in performing the work in a manner consistent with how the proposal will be evaluated as early in the process as possible.

Data call instructions take into account the SOW/PWS, Section L instructions (Attachments, Exhibits), and Section M evaluation criteria (Evaluation Criteria), and any additional information required in the other sections of the RFP. Comprehensive data call instructions request data that adequately addresses proposal evaluation factors and is compelling. A well-crafted data call results in about 80 percent immediately usable information. Follow-up may be necessary to obtain information that the data call recipient couldn’t find before the data call submission due date, for example, or additional clarification may be necessary to further refine initial data received. The data call, returned promptly, contributes significantly to keeping the proposal effort on track, and eliminates last-minute scrambling for readily available information late in the game.

Written by Ellen Perrine

Ellen Perrine is a Vice President at AOC Key Solutions with more than 30 years of experience in federal proposals including strategy development, proposal management, compliance management, and technical writing.
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