Navigating the Summer Proposal Season

It’s Q4 for Uncle Sam and that means the summer proposal season is in full swing for government contractors and contracting officers. When I was a federal contractor, many summer weekends and weeknights were spent in conference rooms putting together proposals. As of this this writing there’s about 60 days left in Q4 and significant contract money will be obligated during the next two months. Your funnel is teeming with opportunities. RFPs are hitting the street by the hour. Despite this, now is the time to resist the urge to adopt the shotgun approach to proposal development. Below are three tips for navigating the summer proposal season each with a singular theme: focus.

  1. Focus on your target market. Perhaps your firm’s target market is in Defense or Homeland Security and an RFP in another department/agency has come to your attention. The services sought match perfectly the products and/or services you provide to Defense or Homeland Security. It’s tempting but this is an opportunity you’ll want to pass on–particularly if it’s competing with resources for other opportunities. Unless you’ve been shaping this opportunity, have relationships with the government customers, and have been planning for this proposal for some time, let this one go.
  2. Focus on your most qualified prospects. These are the opportunities that you’ve been tracking; you’ve been having discussions with the government customers about their needs and executing a comprehensive capture strategy to win the contract. With these opportunities, you have the greatest probability of winning and this is where you should allocate your proposal resources. Focus on those opportunities where you have established relationships, a persuasive value proposition, and a clear understanding of what the government is looking for.
  3. Focus on quality over quantity. Success in the summer proposal season is more about quality over quantity. Your team has scarce resources so it’s best to deploy those resources on the highest probability opportunities and not fractionalize your resources with low probability opportunities. Resist the urge to measure success by the volume of proposals you submit.