Powerful Proposals

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Powerful Proposals presents a step-by-step plan for creating informative, engaging proposals that satisfy your clients’ needs and feature the solutions your firm can provide.  My co-author, David G. Pugh, and I brought more than thirty years’ of experience in proposal development to this book, and it includes the tools and guidelines we’ve used to help clients win billions of dollars in contracts.  It’s an invaluable tool for winning contracts in any market, with strategies and techniques for:

  • Creating proposals that are both compliant (they respond to customer requests) and responsive (they address customers’ broader needs, key issues, values, and goals)
  • Building repeatable processes—without ever resorting to “boilerplate” proposals
  • Gaining competitive advantage by making even the most technical proposals for reader friendly
  • Establishing your credibility in terms of experience, technology, people, and approach
  • Negotiating terms and prices in a way that highlights value—especially when your firm is not the low-price provider
  • Creating executive summaries that clearly and dynamically state the business case to your client’s top brass
  • Creating preference for your firm through strong relationships and winning behaviors
Author(s): David G. Pugh and Terry R. Bacon
# of pages: 254
Publication date: 2005
Publisher: AMACOM Books
Available at: http://store.lominger.com/store/lominger/en_US/pd/productID.172055000
Relevant Research: My work on proposals began in the early 1980s when I was asked to develop a proposal writing workshop for General Dynamics.  Since then, I’ve delivered many hundreds of proposal writing workshops and consulted on numerous proposals, including those for the advanced tactical fighter, the space station, a new nuclear attack submarine, advanced turbine engines, and many more.  During the late 1980s, one of my clients asked me to conduct a research study on why they were winning some contracts but losing others.  They wanted to know what was happening when they won large bids and what had happened when they lost similar bids. I studied fifty previous opportunity pursuits–twenty-five winners and twenty-five losers–and sought to discover what differentiated the wins from the losses.I was delighted to learn that the quality of the proposal was a significant factor, but even more significant was when they got started on the bid.  I learned that their win probability increased if they learned of the opportunity early and began pursuing it in earnest as soon as they’d determined that it was worthwhile for them to pursue.  Their win probability soared if they built strong customer relationships early in the process, if they developed and tested their solution with the customer before submitting their bid, and if they began their pursuit early enough to have some influence on what appeared in the RFP (Request for Proposal). Getting started early is a significant key to success. Another key is creating a proposal that is 1oo percent compliant and highlights the benefits to the customer of working with you (instead of merely stating the features of your offer).  Powerful Proposals includes the tools and key success factors that David and I discovered and taught to our clients over the nearly three decades we’ve been involved with major opportunity pursuits.

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Reviews & Comments: Powerful Proposals offers high-impact insights and solutions designed to give your organization a systematic process for creating competitive, 100% compliant, fully responsive proposals that will ultimately increase win rates.  –Michael Robertson, Manager of Business Development, AMEC E&C Services LimitedIn their valuable tutorial on preparing and writing powerful and winning proposals, David Pugh and Terry Bacon share the secrets of getting it right and, most important, avoiding the fatal errors that keep you from getting to the table.  –Orlin (Chick) Davis, Senior Partner, Heidrick & Sruggles, Inc.Bingo!  At last we have an intelligent, experience-based examination of what it takes to create proposals that will break [your company] from the pack.  Pugh and Bacon know what they’re talking about because they’ve done what they’re talking about.  –Shari Dunn Krueger, Vice President, Corporate Relationships, DBM, Inc. I have been utilizing Pugh’s and Bacon’s process religiously for over 15 years and can honestly say that it has been the single most contributing factor to my success in sales during that time.  The logical sequence of the Goals, Issues, Features, Benefits, Proofs (GIFBP) Matrix, brochure-style executive summary, and the proposal document is a very effective strategy process and truly makes sense.  –Tim Trott, Business Development and Marketing Manager, IDC, Inc.Pugh and Bacon present the brass ring to all willing to reach past the conventional wisdom of how to win.  Their deep insights can help you avoid the “So What?” generic labeling of your offer and make you stand out in an otherwise featureless competitive landscape.  If being equal is proving not to be enough, if sustainability and growth are issues for you, then read, employ, and master.  It’s about positive change for your business-development efforts and your bottom line.  –Bruce Hogge, Managing Director, Hogge Consulting

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