If you are an incumbent contractor, doing a respectable job, but have a nagging fear of customer “incumbent-itis” as the contract re-compete date draws closer and closer, here’s a strategy and best practice that can help solidify your chances for winning:
Your team has been doing a great job throughout the current contract but is unable to point-to, describe, or lay hands on material that will substantiate any such claims. In proposal terminology, we call these Proof-Points. They are invaluable if not essential to every declarative statement you make in your proposal.
Assign or retain an independent archivist, sooner rather than later, to comb through your storehouse of contract materials, searching for those nuggets or gems that markedly distinguish your company. These will be useful as proof-points and callout boxes in your next proposal. Once this material is captured, hopefully in a small database, continue to update and refine it on an ongoing basis. Items or topics include: Awards, Performance Reports, Customer Satisfaction Surveys, Safety Records, Accolades from contract and/or civic representatives, Security Records, Professional Certifications, Achievements (with associated metrics), e.g., uptime percentages, technology improvements, headcount reduction, accident prevention or remediation, etc.
Some of these may transcend categories but should be category and keyword searchable. This will vastly improve the quality of your declarative proposal responses, and will save significant time and money in proposal preparations costs; both in terms of the writer as well as the time of subject matter experts or other institutional knowledge holders.
Begin this ongoing archival process as close to contract award as possible, and maintain it throughout the life of the contract. This database will become your Proposal Playbook, a ready resource of material for subsequent proposals. This material is also valuable on other similar proposals or company marketing material and websites. When it comes to proposals, compelling proof points are the key to evaluators selecting you. The proof is in the pudding.
This article was written by John Sullivan, a former Senior Vice President of AOC Key Solutions.