AJAX progress indicator
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  • Account Plan
    A sales plan that is specific to one customer and covers multiple opportunities with that customer. The timespan covered by the plan typically is two to five years.
  • Action Caption
    A short, informative statement associated with a graphic that provides additional information to help the reader understand what the graphic means.
  • Active/Passive Voice
    Sentences written in active voice have a clear subject and verb. They make it clear who does what. Passive-voice sentences, in contrast, are considered “weaker,” because the subject receives the action instead of performing it. Passive sentences usually contain a form of the verb “to be.” Here(...)
  • Advantage
    How, in the seller’s opinion, a product or service may benefit the customer. Advantages are potential benefits and are more powerful than features.
  • Aesthetics
    A set of principles regarding the nature and appreciation of beauty. The study of aesthetics increases the validity of many critical judgments concerning art. Established aesthetic principles create a shared vocabulary and understanding for the objective evaluation of beauty.
  • After-Action Review
    A systematic process to extract the learning from an event or activity. The process addresses the questions, What should have happened? What actually happened? What can we learn and apply for the future?
  • Annotated Outline
    A simple writing or content plan. This is a structure for the proposal that is usually derived from the customer requirements documentation. The outline may be annotated to show writing responsibilities, informative headings, page-count estimates, and so on. The annotated outline amplifies a(...)
  • Appendix
    Supplementary material included at the end of a proposal. Appendices contain specialized, relevant information that facilitates the decisionmaking process.
  • Assumptions
    Conditions that the bid team assume exist for the purpose of providing a price or terms of service in a proposal.
  • Balance (Visual)
    Balance is achieved when the visual “weight” of both halves of a graphic is similar, giving a sense of equilibrium. Unbalanced graphics convey a sense of uneasiness.
  • Benchmarking
    A systematic process for comparing your processes with those of other recognized leaders in your field or industry to identify and close gaps.
  • Benefit
    A benefit results from a feature of an offer that resolves a customer issue and demonstrates the value the customer can achieve from resolving the issue. To claim a benefit, there must be a feature of the offer that clearly allows the customer to realize the benefit. Benefits help customers(...)
  • Best and Final Offer (BAFO)
    A customer request for a document that describes your organization’s final price. There may be more than one request for a BAFO. The customer requests a BAFO after the proposal has been submitted to select the final companies to negotiate with or go directly to award.
  • Bid Decision Tree
    A tool used to help you make an informed bid decision based on positive and negative indicators. It results in a “yes” or “no” response leading to a qualified pursuit decision.
  • Bid Decisions (General)
    Bid decisions are aimed at eliminating opportunities or sales leads with a low win probability, thus permitting a stronger focus on opportunities with a higher win probability. For large, complex pursuits, companies often use market entry, opportunity qualification, bid pursuit, bid/no-bid,(...)
  • Bid Manager
    A Bid Manager is responsible for managing a bid or proposal opportunity from qualification to contract award, including: Early and ongoing strategy development Legal review Solution development Winning price development Partner identification Risk management Proposal development Stakeholder(...)
  • Bid or Proposal Center
    A support organization dedicated to generating proposals and other response documents for customers.
  • Bid Pursuit Decision
    Generally the first decision milestone to verify that the opportunity fits your strategic direction and capability. This decision often approves the funds to initiate early opportunity planning activities. Sales may do an opportunity qualification decision before this decision gate.
  • Bid Validation Decision
    A decision milestone after the customer releases an RFP to address obstacles to winning that were identified in the opportunity plan.
  • Bid/No-Bid Decision
    A milestone after the opportunity plan is substantially complete. It validates that you are properly positioned to win based on the opportunity plan.
  • Bidder Comparison Matrix (BCM)
    A tool used to analyze the customer’s current perception of your solution compared to competitors. It usually is a weighted score that indicates the customer’s confidence that you can meet their requirements.
  • Black Hat
  • Blue Team
    See Opportunity Plan Review
  • Boilerplate
    Stored text and graphics that are available for potential reuse in future proposals. Boilerplate is information that is harvested from existing documentation to be repurposed in other proposals. It may include text and graphics, technical specifications, company procedures, and advertising and(...)
  • Business Case
    An internal documented argument for bidding on a particular opportunity. The business case typically focuses on the financial aspects of the bid. The same term may also be applied to a document or proposal section that is aimed at providing the customer with the financial justification for(...)
  • Business Case Review/Senior Management Review
    All the internal milestones and approvals (internal governance) required to sign off on the solution, pricing, and legal requirements.
  • Business Development Capability Maturity Model (BD-CMM)
    A research-based framework that guides business development organizations in identifying and implementing high-priority improvement actions. The model encompasses the entire business development life cycle. It establishes a structure that guides increased performance to:Increase value to the(...)
  • Business Development Maturity Level
    An indicator of an organization’s adoption of business development best practices. For example:Level 1 organizations have ad hoc processes and are often seen as chaotic.Level 2 organizations have repeatable processes and build on past successes.Level 3 organizations have defined processes and(...)
  • Business Development Phases
    There are eight generally accepted business development phases:Market identificationAccount planningOpportunity assessmentOpportunity planningProposal planningProposal developmentNegotiationDelivery Opportunity assessment, opportunity planning, proposal planning, proposal development, and(...)
  • Callout Box
    A design feature with text inside a box or within borders to highlight a key point in the text.
  • Capture Manager
    See Opportunity Manager.
  • Capture Plan
    See Opportunity Plan.
  • Capture Rate
  • Central Processing
    Decisionmaking based on logic and sound arguments. This type of processing is often used by experts but is less common in general than peripheral processing.
  • Change Management
    The application of tools, processes, skills, and principles to transition people from one way of working to another.
  • Clarification
    Communication to eliminate minor irregularities or apparent clerical mistakes in a request for proposal (RFP) or in a proposal. In government settings, these are typically limited and structured exchanges between the Government and offerors that may occur after receipt of proposals. In(...)
  • Color
    A technique used for emphasis, color may be applied throughout the proposal to headings, callouts, sections, tabs, and anywhere else the solicitation instructions allow. The use of color can enhance the readability of the document and draw the reader’s attention to specific content you wish to(...)
  • Color Teams
    See Reviews.
  • Community of Practice (CoP)
    Networks of people who work on similar processes or in similar disciplines and who come together to develop and share their knowledge in that field for the benefit of themselves and their organization. CoPs may be created formally or informally, and members can interact online or in person.
  • Competitive Intelligence (CI)
    Objectively understanding the strengths, weaknesses, and strategies of companies competing against your company for business. CI is a well-defined business practice to understand the competitive forces and market dynamics that affect your company’s viability and long-term profitability.
  • Competitor Review
    An assessment and analysis of competitors’ likely strategies and solutions. People who are independent of the opportunity planning team and are experts on the customer and competitors conduct this review.
  • Compliance Matrix
    A list of specific customer requirements, often splitting complex, multi-part requirements into subrequirements. It also helps Proposal Managers and Internal Reviewers verify that the proposal meets all requirements.
  • Compliant Versus Responsive
    Compliance is the act of meeting stated requirements, such as those in an RFP or contract. A compliant proposal response meets the customer’s requirements, answers their questions, and addresses specifications to the letter—nothing more, nothing less. Responsiveness goes beyond compliance.(...)
  • Contact Plan
    A document that lists the customers you plan to contact, including details, such as who in your company will visit them; what you want to find out and what you want to communicate; when and where you will meet; and how you will communicate your messages, plus documentation of any information(...)
  • Content Management System (CMS)
    A computer system that makes it easier to develop enterprise portals and websites by separating the management of content from its presentation (display). Blocks of content are tagged with metadata and other attributes and held in a content database. Webpages are generated (often on the fly)(...)
  • Content Plan
    A guide and framework for addressing requirements, detailing win strategy and themes, and meeting page allocation requirements. A content plan is composed of a variety of conceptual tools used to help writers plan each section/response before drafting text. It contains assignments, bid request(...)
  • Contingency Plan
    A documented approach to address unplanned future events or circumstances. Negative events are often the focus, but the plan can also include unexpected positive developments. The impacts of unexpected developments are identified to the extent possible. Mitigation plans and alternate courses(...)
  • Cost Section
    The proposal component that includes your cost data. This section may contain more than just financial information, such as schedules, material listings, labor categories, and hours. The cost section also reflects the products and services offered in the technical and management sections.
  • Customer
    An existing or potential buyer of products or services. Customers who have not yet made a purchase are sometimes called “prospects.”
  • Customer Budget
    The amount of funding available to procure the products or services defined by the RFP or other solicitation document. For an offer to be affordable to a customer, the customer’s budget must be greater than or equal to the price.
  • Customer Debrief
    A meeting with the customer after an award to obtain feedback on how your proposal scored in the evaluation.
  • Customer Focus
    A customer-focused bid clearly addresses the problem the customer has agreed they are trying to solve (or the opportunity they are trying to take advantage of) and demonstrates how your solution meets their goals.
  • Customer Intelligence
    An understanding of a customer’s needs—spoken and unspoken—and the capabilities desired of a vendor/contractor to support requirements. It is a key element of the sales and opportunity development process that occurs well in advance of responding to a bid or RFP.
  • Customer Issues
    Customer concerns that the offer will resolve. Issues may be the business outcomes the customer is trying to achieve. They also may be emotional and therefore not articulated in the customer’s requirement documents.
  • Customer Motivators
    A subset of issues that relate to the fundamental reasons behind the customer’s need to make a purchase.
  • Customer Positioning
    An organization’s position from the perspective of a customer. Many companies begin in unknown positions with potential customers. Through marketing and sales strategies, a company may move to a known position, then an improved position, and eventually to a favored position.
  • Customer Profile
    A maintained record of the characteristics of the customer. The profile is used from bid to bid and provides useful background information.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
    The process of managing all aspects of your relationship with your customers, so they will know, like, and trust you and eventually select you over your competitors.
  • Customer Requirements
    The attributes and specifications of a product or service as determined by the customer.
  • Customer-Focused Writing
    Persuasive writing that focuses on the customer issues and benefits of your offer to the customer, rather than on your company and its capabilities.
  • Daily Stand-Up Review
    A short meeting held at the same time every day during the proposal development phase. Its purpose is to keep the proposal team focused on near-term tasks. When managing a virtual team, it often involves the use of web conferencing, teleconferences, and email.
  • Data Call
    Requests to members of your company and teaming partners for data to be used to build proof points and answer specific financial, demographic, and experience-related questions.
  • Delivery
    The process of implementing the delivery of the negotiated solution to the customer and maintenance of an ongoing relationship with the customer.
  • Delivery Risk
    A customer’s assessment of the likelihood that you can fully deliver the solution in your proposal at the stated price and according to the stated schedule.
  • Differentiator
    A feature of your offer that differs from the competition but does not necessarily matter to the customer.
  • Discriminator
    A feature of your offer that differs from the competition and that the customer acknowledges as delivering a benefit. Commonly, a weak discriminator is only distinct from one competitor’s offer and not from all other competitor’s offers. A positive discriminator is a benefit only one bidder(...)
  • Document Template
    A blueprint that ensures writers are using the same format and structure for their response to save time, energy, and rework. Accompanied by the proposal-specific style sheet, the template should be used by everyone contributing to the proposal to enable seamless consolidation of team members’(...)
  • Elevator Speech
    A concise set of reasons a customer should choose your organization’s offer. A variety of people, including Project Managers, Sales Representatives, and Executives, use elevator speeches to get their points across quickly to customers. An elevator speech may be presented in oral, written, and(...)
  • Executive Summary
    A short abstract of the main points of the offer aimed at the senior-level decisionmakers in the customer’s organization. It is the section of a proposal that provides an overview of the offer and highlights the key selling points for customer decisionmakers. It articulates the customer’s(...)
  • Expert Locator
    A system for identifying and cultivating subject matter experts (SME) on topics important to your business.
  • Explicit Knowledge
    The captured and cataloged information and knowledge ready for people to use. In contrast with tacit or implicit knowledge, explicit knowledge is codified and articulated. It appears in documents, procedures, and databases.
  • Feature
    Tangible aspects of the seller’s product or service. They are normally measurable and demonstrable. Features tell the “what” of the offer. Benefits address the offer’s added “so what.”
  • Final Bid Review
    See Business Case Review/ Senior Management Review.
  • Final Document Review
    A comprehensive review of the proposal by independent reviewers who emulate the customer’s evaluation team. It includes independent assessment of the entire proposal, its readiness and responsiveness to the solicitation, and its effectiveness in conveying strategy, themes, and discriminators,(...)
  • Formatting Techniques
    Practices that involve the mechanical structure and appearance of the proposal. They include the standards and procedures for proposal layout dictated by the customer or by an in-house proposal development style guide.
  • Functional Reviews
    Reviews are conducted at a series of pre-defined stages during the proposal development process. They ensure that a proposal in development is compliant with a customer’s requirements and has a good probability of winning a bid. Many reviews are followed by a corresponding bid decision.
  • Fundamental Knowledge Object (FKO)
    The lowest structurally definable unit of content pertinent to a discipline. An FKO for Proposal Managers might be the question and answer (Q&A) pair.
  • Gadfly Review
    A macro-level review of the entire proposal to ensure it sells your solution, is comprehensive, and tells a consistent story. The Gadfly Reviewer checks compliance with your quality standards for themes, format, graphics, action captions, style, headings, summaries, and introductions.
  • Ghosting the Competition
    A sophisticated tradeoff analysis used to highlight a competitor weakness or downplay a competitor’s strength. When using these techniques, competitors are not named. Ghosting and tradeoff analysis are similar. Tradeoff analysis discusses analysis of alternative approaches and then notes why(...)
  • Gold Team
    See Business Case Review/ Senior Management Review.
  • Graphics
    Visual elements of a proposal that help explain a concept when a text-only description is insufficient or would be difficult to understand. Good use of graphics makes complicated information easier to process and comprehend. Varying graphic types and styles can help you communicate your(...)
  • Graphics Label
    Titles above proposal graphics that are sequentially numbered throughout a proposal section. Graphics labels allow an evaluator to quickly locate a graphic within a proposal, especially when a proposal contains a list of figures/graphics similar to a table of contents. Labeling should also be(...)
  • Graphics Template
    A visual guide that defines all aesthetic choices for graphics (e.g., colors, shapes, lines, arrows, fonts, indention, capitalization, and line spacing).
  • Highlighting Techniques
    Different font styles, spacing, alignment, placement of graphics, and groupings meant to create impact, draw attention, and enhance readability. Common techniques include bolding or italicizing text, using color, increasing font size, or varying font choice.
  • Hot Buttons
    Singularly important issues or sets of issues that are likely to drive decisions, usually associated with customer buying decisions. Hot-button issues are items that the customer repeatedly discusses and often are problems with a system, software, process, or resources inhibiting the success(...)
  • Informative Heading
    Headings that enable evaluators to immediately determine both the contents of a section and the benefit to their organization. Informative headings signal new topics to evaluators, may link features to benefits, and often cite features that are discriminators.
  • Innovation
    The optimum balance achieved by using the latest technologies, cost structures, styling, features, and services, and then successfully matching what is “new” to customer or end-user needs at the optimum price.
  • Intangible Value
    Your customer’s perception of what the product or service you are proposing is worth to them. Intangible value can be measured only qualitatively.
  • Invitation to Tender (ITT)
    A customer document that invites a bid. In many industries, these are complex requirements documents that cover all technical and commercial aspects of the bid. There may be a subsequent BAFO or final proposal revision (FPR) stage before contract award.
  • Jargon
    Specialized language used among members of a group or profession who have common knowledge. The use of jargon can be a barrier to communication with those not familiar with the language of that field. Use jargon only when customers will be familiar with it and only when plain English will not(...)
  • Joint Venture
    A business agreement in which two or more parties agree to pursue a bid opportunity according to outlined terms and conditions.
  • Kickoff Meeting
    A meeting that initiates the proposal effort for all contributors, answers questions about the opportunity, assigns writing tasks, coordinates upcoming activities, and creates a cohesive team.
  • Knowledge Audit
    A systematic identification and analysis of an organization’s knowledge needs, resources, flows, gaps, uses, and users.
  • Knowledge Base
    An organized structure of information that facilitates the storage of ready-to-apply intelligence in a database.
  • Knowledge Café
    An informal brainstorming technique in which a moderator prompts a group to generate ideas and captures those ideas for further analysis.
  • Knowledge Management
    The discipline of enabling individuals, teams, and entire organizations to collectively and systematically create, share, and apply business development-related knowledge to better achieve their objectives. Some organizations use collaboration tools, such as Microsoft SharePoint, to score and(...)
  • Knowledge Management Heuristic
    An exploratory problemsolving technique. As you interview Knowledge Workers for sources and uses of knowledge, each answer prompts additional, probing questions. A knowledge management heuristic guides Interviewers along this path.
  • Knowledge Manager
    A Knowledge Manager is responsible for the creation and ongoing maintenance of reusable knowledge databases. Knowledge Managers use organization, writing, and information design skills to increase the business strategy value of an organization’s intellectual property.
  • Knowledge Map
    A visual representation of the knowledge of an organization or the knowledge underlying a business process. It identifies business-critical knowledge assets and the processes, gaps, sources, flows, barriers, dependencies, and knowledge at risk if key employees leave.
  • Knowledge Repository
    A place where knowledge is gathered and stored and can be accessed. Whereas a low-tech knowledge repository could be a set of file folders, we usually think of knowledge repositories as structured collections of ready-to-use information stored in a database.
  • Knowledge Sharing
    An activity through which knowledge is exchanged among people, friends, families, communities, or organizations.
  • Knowledge Strategy
    An organization’s plan for implementing knowledge management.
  • Lessons-Learned
    Concise descriptions of knowledge derived from experiences that can be communicated through mechanisms, such as storytelling and debriefing, or summarized in databases. These lessons often reflect on “what we did right,” “what we would do differently,” and “how we could improve our process and(...)
  • Lessons-Learned Review
    An assessment of the proposal development/management process and results and is conducted after completion of a proposal. The purpose is to identify areas for improvement on subsequent projects.
  • Management Plan
    A bidder’s approach for the conduct and management of the project or program required to satisfy the requirements of the RFP, including contract provisions, schedule, and statement of work (SOW)/statement of objectives (SOO) tasks. This portion of a proposal shows that you can deliver what you(...)
  • Management Section
    The section of the proposal that includes the management approach with an explanation of how management processes, procedures, standards, and tools will be used to meet project objectives, as well as what processes and tools are used to monitor and control the technical, schedule, and cost(...)
  • Market Assessment
    An assessment of the plan to achieve specific business market objectives within an industry or market segment.
  • Market Entry Decision
    The decision that confirms that the identified market segment is aligned with the goals in your strategic plan.
  • Market Identification
    The ongoing activity that defines and qualifies target markets for pursuing business.
  • Market Strategy
    A plan to achieve specific business market objectives within an industry or market segment.
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
    An agreement setting forth the terms and conditions under which participants agree to cooperate in the performance of a specific customer engagement or program. It is an agreement between two companies that documents team guidelines and work scope.
  • Milestone Schedule
    A plan that outlines major milestones during the bid opportunity and proposal development processes.
  • Mock-Up
    A technique that allows a writer to visualize how text and graphics will appear on a page or content plan. Mock-ups make it possible to refine an outline with headings and bulleted content while showing how much of the page will be used and how much space is needed to address all customer(...)
  • Negotiation
    The process of preparing for and performing final discussions with the customer after the proposal has been submitted. Negotiation may include refining the offer, resolving terms and conditions, and finalizing a contract.
  • Nominalization
    A noun derived from a verb or an adjective, often with a suffix like -tion, -ment, -ance, -ity, and others. These words often make text sound wordy and difficult to understand and should be avoided when possible.
  • Non Compliant Bids
    A bid or proposal that does not meet the customer’s requirements.
  • Noun Stack
    Two or more nouns that modify another noun, such as “business development data library.” Noun stacks are hard to read and may cause ambiguity.
  • Opportunity
    A set of circumstances unique to a customer that make it feasible to sell products or services to the customer. In mature organizations, opportunities go through a qualification and review process.
  • Opportunity Manager
    The Opportunity Manager identifies the resources needed to pursue a business opportunity. The Opportunity Manager oversees bid strategies, pricing, teaming, and proposal strategies and manages the transition from business opportunity to proposal development to award.An Opportunity Manager can(...)
  • Opportunity Qualification
    The process of researching specific opportunities to determine if they match your organization’s interests, capabilities, and resources available to bid on and implement.
  • Opportunity Qualification Decision
    An early milestone to determine whether an opportunity matches your organization’s basic interests and is worth the additional resources required to do a more detailed assessment. This decision, often made by sales, initiates the opportunity assessment process that feeds the bid pursuit decision.
  • Opportunity Rate
    The ratio of the value of opportunities won to the value of opportunities submitted, expressed as a percentage. However, be aware that the ratio can be misleading. More mature organizations track additional win/loss data and include it in their opportunity analysis. Opportunity data can be(...)
  • Opportunity/Capture Plan
    A documented plan that is developed during the opportunity planning phase. It is specific to the opportunity and identifies actions and strategies to position your organization to be the customer’s preferred bidder. It generally contains customer and competitive information, analysis,(...)
  • Opportunity/Capture Plan Review
    An assessment of the opportunity plan. It validates the win strategy and required actions documented in the opportunity plan.
  • Opportunity/Capture Planning
    The process of preparing a plan specific to an opportunity and identifying actions and strategies to position your organization to be the customer’s preferred bidder.
  • Opportunity/Capture Strategy
    The collection of tactical strategies and actions that are developed following the pursuit decision and documented in the opportunity plan to win a specific defined opportunity.
  • Organizational Culture
    The specific collection of values and norms shared by individuals and groups in an organization that controls the way they interact with one another and with people outside the organization.
  • Page-Column Format (One Versus Two)
    Documents can be formatted in single or multiple columns. Page format affects the readability and accessibility of proposal information. Select the number of page columns, and design that balances your need for page limits, readability, and graphics flexibility. As a rule, multiple columns(...)
  • Partner
    Another company or organization with whom you have a formal agreement to jointly participate in a specific opportunity. Entering into a partnership with another entity can expand your organization’s ability to bid on and win business. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) should be used to(...)
  • Past Performance
    A favorable impact, results, or solution to a similar customer’s issues. It emphasizes cost, schedule adherence, plus the basic question of whether the bidder did what was expected.
  • Peer Review
    The evaluation of proposal-related information or documents by another Proposal or Bid Manager to enhance the quality of work. Although not considered as rigorous as a formal review, peer reviews are often used in small settings and for quick-turnaround bids.
  • Performance Risk
    Risk associated with the probability that an offeror will successfully perform on the contract they are bidding on based on their record of past performance on similar contracts.
  • Peripheral Processing
    Decisionmaking using heuristics and mental shortcuts that may or may not be accurate. Research has found that this type of processing is more commonly used than central processing.
  • Persuasive Writing
    Writing structure and techniques used to influence prospective buyers to accept your products and services. You can persuade your readers by:Appealing to their reason (supporting assertions with facts, logic, and proof points)Convincing them that you have their interests at heart (showing you(...)
  • Pink Team
  • Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ)
    A customer document used at an early stage of a procurement to create a list of viable bidders who will later be invited to tender an offer or respond to an RFP.
  • Price
    The price is the amount you charge your customer for a product or service in a bid.
  • Price-to-Win
    A process for analyzing competitive and customer data to identify how to package and price a winning offer to a customer. Customers often look for a tradeoff between capability and purchase price before making the purchasing decision. Generally, the following relationship must be true:(...)
  • Pricing Strategy
    Differentiating value and price such that the customer perceives the value of your proposal to them to be greater than the price you are charging. In competitive situations, the winning offer will generally have the greatest differential between value and price.
  • Pricing, Bottom-Up
    A pricing approach that approximates the size (duration and cost) and risk of a project (or phase) by:Breaking it down into its smallest work componentsEstimating the effort, duration, and cost of each componentAggregating the components into a full estimateDetermining duration through a(...)
  • Pricing, Top-Down
    A pricing approach that considers the customer’s budget and perception of the value of the products or services you are offering as well as an analysis of what your competitors will charge for their offer.
  • Prime Contractor
    The contractor that owns the contract with the customer and has full responsibility for its execution. A prime contractor may employ and manage one or more subcontractors or suppliers to carry out specific parts of the contract but is contractually responsible for their performance.
  • Principles of Influence
    Six strategies that can be used to influence decisionmaking. These include reciprocity, consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity.
  • Proactive Proposal
    A proposal generated after an informal discussion with a customer (e.g., a sales visit or phone call) in which an unmet customer requirement is discovered.
  • Probability of Go
    The likelihood that a program will be funded and proceed.
  • Probability of Win
    The likelihood that you will win a bid.
  • Process Areas
    In the BD-CMM, clusters of related activities that, when performed collectively, achieve a set of goals considered important for establishing process capability.
  • Process Milestones
    Milestones used to define and evaluate the inputs and outputs between phases of opportunities. Defining clear, mandatory milestones establishes a solid framework for managing opportunities large or small. These pre-defined quality checks minimize wasted efforts and increase process(...)
  • Production Manager
    A Production Manager is responsible for planning and directing the printing, assembly, and final check of proposal documents. This may include both traditional print and electronic versions.
  • Products and Services
    The deliverables resulting from a winning offer.
  • Project Schedule
    A schedule that identifies the tasks to be performed for a project and assigns deadlines for their completion. Scheduling requires a comprehensive understanding of which action steps are required, their sequence, and their expected duration. Good schedules maximize parallel tasks and minimize(...)
  • Project Scheduling Tools
    Tools used to track proposal activities. They include calendars or Gantt charts used to identify major milestones and proposal deliverables.
  • Proof Points
    Pieces of information Proposal Developers use to support the soundness of a solution. They often describe performance on similar past efforts and can take the form of project data, case studies, customer quotes or testimonials, awards or recognition earned, and more.
  • Proposal
    A written offer from a seller or bidder to a customer. The proposal may be proactive or unsolicited, or it may be in response to a request for bids from the customer.
  • Proposal Budget
    The cost or resources required to complete a proposal. Elements of the budget will vary by organization and industry. The budget may include the entire cost of winning the bid or only the cost of developing the proposal. For government bids, a specified portion of the cost of the bid may be(...)
  • Proposal Coordinator
    A Proposal Coordinator is responsible for all administrative aspects of proposal development, ensuring security and integrity of all proposal documentation, coordinating internal flow and review of all proposal inputs, coordinating schedules, and directing submission of the final master(...)
  • Proposal Desktop Publisher
    A Proposal Desktop Publisher is responsible for designing, formatting, and producing proposal templates, documents, and related materials.
  • Proposal Development
    The process of preparing, reviewing, and approving a bid or proposal.
  • Proposal Director
    A Proposal Director is responsible for all aspects of an organization’s proposal operations. The Proposal Director ensures a formal process exists and is in use. In addition, the Proposal Director is responsible for ongoing process improvement. The Proposal Director may also manage the(...)
  • Proposal Editor
    Proposal Editors are responsible for ensuring the writing structure and words used in the proposal persuasively convey the offer to the customer. They edit for grammar, punctuation, capitalization, clarity, readability, consistency, and persuasiveness.
  • Proposal Graphic Designer
    A Proposal Graphic Designer is responsible for developing customer-focused visual information that highlights an offer’s features, benefits, and discriminators. The Graphic Designer communicates with other members of the proposal/bid team to conceptualize and create visual elements to persuade(...)
  • Proposal Management
    The collection of processes for managing a successful, cohesive team to write, develop, assemble, and deliver a winning proposal.
  • Proposal Management Plan
    The project document developed by the Proposal or Bid Manager to identify resources, schedules, and tasks needed to reach the final submission date with a winning proposal.
  • Proposal Manager
    A Proposal Manager is responsible for proposal development (e.g., written, oral, and demonstrations), including maintaining schedules, organizing resources, coordinating inputs and reviews, ensuring bid strategy implementation, ensuring compliance, resolving internal team issues, and providing(...)
  • Proposal Mind Map
    A visual representation of an outline created using mind mapping software or by drawing a diagram. Mind maps typically start in the center of the page with the proposal title, branch out with main topics or headings, and continue to radiate out from the branches as requirements are identified.(...)
  • Proposal Outline
    A framework for content and organization based on customer requirements. The outline may be annotated to show writing responsibilities and page allocations or limits.
  • Proposal Planning
    The process of planning a bid or proposal effort based on an opportunity plan and concurrent with the positioning and sales effort.
  • Proposal Process
    A systematic series of scalable actions or steps directed to winning bids.
  • Proposal Process Tailoring
    Proposal processes can be tailored to meet the unique needs of specific opportunities. The decision to apply situation-specific best practices considers the scale, scope, complexity, and risk of the proposal effort.
  • Proposal Resource Schedule
    A task-based plan that identifies the period of time required to complete each task.
  • Proposal Responsibility Matrix
    A document that identifies proposal team members and their specific proposal section responsibilities. It maps proposal team members (authors) with specific proposal (section) assignments. The proposal responsibility matrix is an element of the project plan developed by the Proposal or Bid(...)
  • Proposal Risk
    Risk associated with an offeror’s proposed approach in meeting the customer’s requirements.
  • Proposal Strategy Development
    The process of developing the proposal strategy that will appear in the response document.
  • Proposal Strategy Review
    A review of the content plan. The proposal strategy review validates the execution of the bid strategy for writers and verifies compliance with customer requirements. This task can be done by reviewing content development tools, such as content plans, a writing plan, storyboards, mock-ups, an(...)
  • Proposal Strategy Statement
    Statement(s) developed from the opportunity plan to emphasize strengths, mitigate weaknesses, downplay competitor strengths, and highlight competitor weaknesses. Each statement should contain supporting evidence and be placed in the content plan to help guide writers and to ensure consistency(...)
  • Proposal Writer
    Proposal Writers are responsible for creating and maintaining content for proposal sections. They often interview SMEs and organize content. They work on new content as well as past performance, resumes, and reusable product and service descriptions.
  • Proposal/Business Development Consultant
    Proposal/Business Development Consultants are independent contractors who work for proposal consulting companies. They provide companies additional options for resources across all business development functions. Their job functions vary from leadership of engagements to assisting in surge(...)
  • Protest
    Written objection by an interested party to a solicitation, cancellation of a solicitation, contract award, or termination of a contract award.
  • Quality Assurance (QA)
    The systematic activities implemented in a quality system so that quality requirements for a product or service (e.g., a proposal) will be fulfilled. It is the systematic measurement, comparison with a standard, monitoring of processes, and associated feedback loop that promotes error prevention.
  • Reactive Proposal
    A proposal generated following a customer’s formal request.
  • Red Team
  • Relevant Experience
    Experience that is comparable in goals, size, scope, magnitude, and complexity to the contract being bid upon.
  • Request for Information (RFI)
    A customer document used at an early stage of a procurement to create a list of viable bidders who will later be invited to render an offer or respond to an RFP.
  • Request for Proposal (RFP)
    The Government’s standardized document for requesting negotiated bids. In more general terms, it is an announcement from a customer or funding source that is seeking proposals for a specific program, project, or work effort.
  • Requirements Checklist
    Similar to a compliance checklist but can be self-generated when there is no written customer requirement. You may use it as a tool to monitor progress. A requirements checklist is a list of every solicitation requirement that you must satisfy to submit a compliant proposal.
  • Resource Estimate
    An approximation of all costs incurred to produce a proposal, which may include outsourced services, such as desktop publishing, graphic design, editing, consultants, color reviewers, equipment, supplies, food, support staff, lodging, and travel.
  • Response Matrix
    A derivative of the compliance matrix. It is a roadmap for evaluators, pointing to specific proposal responses for each compliance item. The matrix may also contain a summary response. It identifies where in the proposal you have addressed each of the solicitation requirements.
  • Review Team Lead
    A Review Team Lead is responsible for managing a specific review. Most Review Team Leads should be senior-level professionals, although different qualities are preferable for Team Leads of different functional reviews.
  • Reviews (General)
    Periodic assessments of the quality of proposals as they progress through the proposal development process. Reviews are a key tool used by mature organizations. These organizations design their reviews to check key bidding success factors at the appropriate time in the business development(...)
  • RFP Shaping
    The process of influencing customers’ thinking in your favor to get elements of an upcoming RFP to reflect your company’s key discriminators.
  • Rhetoric
    The discipline that deals with the use of discourse, either spoken or written, to inform or persuade an audience.
  • Risk Management
    Your strategy for managing and mitigating the risks (e.g., technical, financial, and schedule) inherent in a proposal bid. The underlying assumptions are that every offer entails risk and that risk can be contained or reduced with appropriate management.
  • Risk Management Methods
    Methods used to categorize and plan the management of proposal development and delivery risk. Methods include accept, mitigate, transfer, and avoid.
  • Role (Relationship of Roles and Job Titles)
    A role is a set of responsibilities associated with a job. Jobs have titles and may involve one or more roles depending on the setting. For example, in a large business, development organization jobs may be specialized, and each role may be a separate job. In medium-size organizations, roles(...)
    A mnemonic tool commonly used to test the quality of opportunity plan actions. The letters correspond to the words specific, measurable, attainable/achievable, relevant, and time-sensitive/time-based.
  • Solicited Proposal
    A proposal developed following a formal request by the customer. Your organization may respond to a solicited proposal whether or not there has been previous active contact with the customer.
  • Solution
    Successful outcomes of the customer’s problems on the customer’s terms.
  • Statement of Work (SOW)
    The portion of a solicitation that clearly and concisely defines the requirements of the specific work to be accomplished. SOW provides the technical and management details of how the customer wants the proposed products or services to be designed, produced, delivered, implemented, and managed.
  • Storyboard
    See Content Plan.
  • Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT)
    The analysis performed by organizations to address competitive positioning and identify the outcomes needed to develop a compelling proposal response that wins the business. SWOT emphasizes the internal environment. TOWS emphasizes the external environment.
  • Style Sheet
    A set of standards developed specifically for a particular proposal that editors and writers can use to ensure consistency in style, grammar, terminology, and mechanics, such as naming conventions, abbreviations, acronyms, response tone, and approach. Design style sheets are developed at five(...)
  • Subject Matter Expert
    A person who is a recognized authority on a particular area or topic. SMEs are often important contributors of proposal content.
  • Subreviews
    Specific subreviews are used to enhance proposals. Generally, reviewers are assigned to specifically look at the storyline alone (e.g., themes and action captions), compliance alone (i.e., does the proposal cover everything required?), and graphics alone for clarity, messaging, and proof. For(...)
  • Supplier
    An organization that provides products and services to customers.
  • SWOT
    The analysis performed by organizations to address competitive positioning and identify the outcomes needed to develop a compelling proposal response that wins the business. SWOT emphasizes the internal environment. TOWS emphasizes the external environment.
  • Tacit Knowledge
    The unstated knowledge that people carry in their heads. Tacit knowledge can be shared through discussion, storytelling, and personal interactions or drawn from its owners through interviews and questionnaires. Tacit knowledge has two dimensions. These are one’s technical skills, or know-how,(...)
  • Tactics
    Steps or tasks taken to achieve an objective.
  • Tangible Value
    Your customer’s perception of what the product or service you are proposing is worth to them. Tangible value can be quantified numerically as money saved, time saved, percent improvement, and numbers of savings/reductions.
  • Taxonomy
    A hierarchical structure used for categorizing a body of information or knowledge, allowing an understanding of how that body of knowledge can be broken down into parts and how its various parts relate to each other.
  • Teaming Partners
    Companies or organizations that agree to jointly pursue an opportunity to better address the customer’s requirements. Teaming partners can range from subcontractors to the members of a new joint-venture organization.
  • Technical Section
    The section that details the products or services the customer wants or the technical and operational requirements your solution is required to satisfy. It includes a technical approach describing what your solution provides, how you provide it, and how your customer benefits from what you are(...)
  • Telegraphic Heading
    Headings that identify content only. Most of these are dictated in the solicitation as major or standard proposal sections. They cue evaluators to the overall organization of the proposal and the various levels of information provided.
  • Theme Statement
    A short articulation to the customer of the main point in a proposal section, typically linking a discriminating feature to a benefit.
  • Topical Outline
    A proposal framework that identifies major subjects by heading.
  • Total Cost of Ownership
    Consideration of all direct and indirect costs associated with a proposed solution over its entire life cycle.
  • Transitions
    Words, phrases, and even sentences that connect one idea or sentence to another. Transitions indicate relationships of time, cause and effect, space, addition, comparison, and contrast. One way to write effective transitions is to link new information with information a reader already knows.(...)
  • Unsolicited Proposal
    A proposal generated following informal discussions with the customer, generally following a sales visit or telephone call in which a customer requirement is discovered.
  • Value Proposition
    A statement in a proposal that specifically addresses how aspects of an offer positively affect the customer’s business. Value propositions should provide customer-specific statements that are quantified and describe tangible and intangible value.
  • Win Rate
    The ratio of opportunities won to opportunities submitted, expressed as a percentage. However, this ratio can be misleading. More mature organizations track additional win/loss data, such as no-bids and bids withdrawn by bidder, as well as opportunities pending decision and those canceled by(...)
  • Win Strategy
    The collection of tactical strategies and actions developed following a pursuit decision and documented in an opportunity plan to win a specific defined opportunity.
  • Win Themes
    The components of a proposing organization’s win strategy. A win strategy can be made up of multiple win themes. A win theme must contain a feature, a benefit, and a corresponding proof point. Win themes should be reinforced throughout a proposal.
  • Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
    A deliverable-oriented grouping of project elements that organizes and defines the total work scope of the project. Each descending level represents an increasingly detailed definition of the project work.

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