Not all technical experts can write proposals

When companies train people in the proposal process, about one third take to it like a duck to water, one third just barely stay afloat and one third sink to the bottom. 

It’s just the nature of the beast. Technical writers not only need an in-depth understanding of the technical approach – they need to be able to write concise proposal text within page constraints. Proposals, in most cases, shouldn’t be written to a college level. They should be comprehensible to the average non-expert government reviewer.

The people that do make the transition to proposal writing will only succeed if their senior management enforces a consistent proposal development and bid decision process (including saying no to dumb bids) and resources. Otherwise, these wonderfully trained proposal writers will just end up frustrated.

There also has to be a commitment to provide the sound infrastructure necessary to develop winning proposals. This includes:

  • Not adding new people to the second proposal review
  • Developing storyboards for more complex proposals
  • Ensuring that proposal reviewers read the RFP before showing up to the review
  • Maintaining an online proposal, resume and past performance library

– M. Lisagor


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