Proposal kick-off meetings

The kick-off meeting is designed to build upon the ongoing activities of the marketing and BD team.

The designated proposal manager chairs the kick-off meeting for a proposal. An effective meeting should:

  • Emphasize senior management’s commitment to this project
  • Build motivation
  • Highlight the nature of the procurement and the marketing intelligence gathered about the opportunity
  • Review the competition as well as your company’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Discuss concrete reasons for bidding
  • Highlight the strategies for winning (technical, management, and cost). Why your company should win and not the competition
  • Discuss any major or unexpected changes in the RFP from what had been expected during the intelligence gathering efforts
  • Discuss the role of the teaming partners and subcontractors
  • Review the proposal outline
  • Review the proposal milestone schedule. Emphasize the importance of adhering to the schedule
  • Make well-defined writing assignments and assign action items for tracking
  • Discuss writing guidelines (e.g., style, page limitations, word count, if required)
  • Review major themes for the proposal
  • Discuss resumes and related experience that must be included in the proposal
  • Review project staffing plan
  • Identify specific publication needs (binders, tabs, graphics, etc.)
  • Determine the delivery method (who, when and where) as well as a back-up delivery plan

Attendees of the kick-off meeting should include, at a minimum:

  • Principal writers, subject matter experts and contributors
  • Operations manager or a senior manager from operations
  • BD staff member (who has a knowledge of the customer and competition)
  • Contracts manager familiar with the RFP’s terms and conditions
  • Finance manager who will prepare the cost estimate
  • Proposal coordination representative who will be responsible for proposal word processing and graphics
  • Key reviewers so they are involved from the beginning
Here is a sample proposal kick-off meeting agenda:
  • Key procurement details and marketing intelligence
  • Competition strengths and weaknesses
  • Your company strengths and weaknesses
  • Major themes and discriminators
  • Win strategy (technical, management and price)
  • Unexpected changes in the actual solicitation
  • Solicitation clarifications to submit to the client
  • Proposal milestone schedule including price reviews
  • Teaming partner roles and responsibilities
  • Writing assignments
  • Writing guidelines
  • Key personnel and past performance citations
  • Staffing plan (if relevant)
  • Proposal delivery requirements
  • Actions items

The following items are distributed to all parties at the kick-off meeting:

  • Meeting agenda
  • Full copy of the RFP if not previously distributed
  • Proposal summary sheet
  • Complete listing of proposal team members, including address, phone numbers, cell number, office number and e-mail address
  • Known information on the competition and the customer
  • Evaluation factors for award
  • Milestone schedule
  • Proposal volume outlines and writing assignments, including page and word allocations as applicable
  • Thematic and writing guidelines
  • Draft executive summary (if complete)
  • Resume format requirements
  • Action item sheet

– Mike Lisagor


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