You’re Not Finished with Your Proposal Yet!

When proposals are completed, proposal team members usually begin suffering from PPD – post-post depression.  They wander aimlessly around the halls, stare listlessly out the window, or spend inordinate amounts of time getting coffee or snacks.  However, once you have electronically uploaded you application or mailed it to a government agency, you still have important tasks to do before you can say that you are truly finished

As Brenda Crist of the Lohfeld Consulting Group points out, once you have submitted your proposal and received a receipt, there are essential wrap-up activities to perform.  These activities will save you plenty of time and effort on your submitted proposal and on future proposals.

Step 1:  Send thank-you e-mails to all members of the proposal team who participated in the development, production, and delivery of your application.  Let them know that the proposal was delivered.  You also can thank them in person.

Step 2:  Create a proposal archive.  Put all of your electronic files on a carefully labeled disk that you or your colleagues will be able to read and understand a year later.  Create a carefully labeled folder in your electronic database for these documents too.  Storing them in multiple databases makes it less likely that you will lose them.

Step 3:  Transfer valuable information or sections from your proposal to an electronic database for future use.  For example, saving your latest past performance references or company capability statement will mean less work on your next proposal.

Step 4:  Respond to Requests for Information.  If you are so fortunate, the government Contracting Officer may contact you for additional information.  Also, you may have to provide your own company with information in its negotiations with the Contracting Officer.  Having clear and easily accessible files will make this effort smoother and more successful.

Step 5:  Receive your award notice or rejection notice.  Whether you have won or lost a contract, contact members of your proposal team, update them, and thank them again for their efforts.

Step 6:  Win or lose, you should request a debriefing in person to learn more about the reasons for winning or losing.  According to Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 15.505, you have three days after notification to request a debriefing and the debriefing should occur within five days of your request.

Step 7:  Conduct a Lessons Learned Review.  After the debriefing, meet with your proposal team to analyze what you can do to improve your proposal development process.  Companies often skip this step because of time constraints, but it is very important as a pedagogical tool.

As Brenda Crist wisely counsels, there is plenty to do once your proposal has been submitted.  Organize the post-submission process as carefully as your proposal development process, and you will benefit from these seven steps.

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