Replace the chaos and drama of proposal development with discipline, structure and eye-catching design

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A triangle highligting graphically the three areas of chaos that people writing large proposals can face - Team, Time and Content chaos

What is the Chaos Triangle?

When a proposal goes wrong, it is often a problem with one or more of three factors:

  • Team Chaos
  • Time Chaos
  • Content Chaos

The three compound into a triangle of chaos which is increasingly difficult to manage. Just one issue would make things difficult for a bid team, but when there are many, it produces chaos.

Here are a few areas where chaos where each or all the the Chaos Triangle areas can effect your proposals.

Here are a few examples of how chaos can affect your proposals.

Really complex and/or complicated solicitations

A common issue with these solicitations is struggling to get the requirements systematically documented and reorganised into a logical response. Without developing a compliance outline, which forms your proposal response against the solicitation requirements, the proposal risks being non-compliant and could be rejected.

Salentis System Approach

  • Set up the proposal for success through pre-kick-off preparation
  • Build a logical and compelling story within the structure of the requirements
  • Align thinking with an early kick-off workshop with the whole team
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Lack of collaboration

With many teammates working remotely, lack of coordination can lead to poor collaboration. This can result in miscommunication, misunderstandings or delays in achieving a cohesive message that can really set you back.

Salentis System Approach

  • Stay on track by establishing a weekly battle rhythm of meetings
  • Meet regularly online, and if possible, have in-person meetings at key points in the process
  • Make use of digital collaboration tools to share quick updates / questions and build good team rapport
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Short timescales

With tight deadlines, critical steps in the process get skipped and there’s often a last-minute dash to try and rectify inconsistencies. This creates opportunities for error and introduces content that never gets reviewed resulting in a proposal that risks non-compliance and is rejected.

Salentis System Approach

  • Adapt your proposal development process when there are shorter turnaround times
  • Don’t shortcut the planning phase to avoid running out of time
  • Proposal experts can be dedicated resources for your proposal – hire an expert!
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Difficulty making a compelling case succinctly

Many proposals use internal jargon which the evaluator will not understand. Combined with wordy passages that don’t answer the requirements and visuals that don’t add to the story results in a proposal that is insufficiently clear for the evaluators to assess.

Salentis System Approach

  • Focus on making it easier to read for an evaluator
  • Increase quality with independent external reviewers
  • Reduce the word count and increase impact with relevant and compelling visuals
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Ownership tennis

There can be ownership tennis resulting in rewrites, repetition, or conflict between sections and a lack of cohesive messaging. Unplanned interventions after the Red Team Review, typically by senior executives who haven’t engaged in the process up to that point, may significantly reduce the opportunity to test and adjust coherence between Red Team and Gold Team. All of this results in reduced quality.

Salentis System Approach

  • Involve leadership in early workshops and periodic reviews to prevent surprises and domino-effect changes in the final stages
  • Plan writing assignments carefully, making use of technical writers with access to solution architects who are the ultimate authority on the topic within your organization
  • Maintain a Conventions List to keep word usage and metrics consistent from the outset
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Poor time management

Without organisation and a good structure, it’s very easy to lose control of the proposal, with information arriving last minute and everyone rushing to meet deadlines. Frenetic periods followed by downtime during reviews and then long hours to play catch up leaves everyone frazzled and exhausted. That introduces risk and error. All-nighters are not a badge of honour!

Salentis System Approach

  • Plan, plan, plan! Our systematic approach results in a flatter workflow and schedule
  • Have a clear roadmap and schedule of activities to include activity duration
  • Monitor progress with tight proposal management to highlight areas that are slipping and prevent delays
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Varied writing styles

The absence of coherent messaging can result in a less-than-professional proposal that lacks cohesion and makes it difficult for the evaluator to read.

Salentis System Approach

  • Develop a style guide and use it so everyone works against the same editorial and design guidelines
  • Create a proposal-related Conventions List early in the project
  • Have writers review each other’s sections to check for consistency
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Overworked staff juggling day jobs while also developing a proposal

Team members try to juggle their workload and typically leave proposal writing to the last minute which they then do on the weekends or by pulling all-nighters just before the deadline. This results in staff burnout and a less-than-professional proposal that lacks cohesion.

Salentis System Approach

  • Prioritise the strategic contracts and only bid on those
  • Free up overcommitted resources by using outsourced proposal experts
  • Use internal SMEs to give focused guidance to full-time writers
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Join our team! We are always looking for talented experts to join the Salentis team worldwide.