Nine Principles of Winning from the CEO of the Global Leader in Business Capture and Proposal Consulting

There is a tendency to get lost in the intricate processes for writing winning proposals.

by Ajay Patel

We’ve seen clients with over 200 gates and steps, and some with just a handful, all consistent with today’s best practices and guidelines of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals, the trade organization that has been the driving force for the development of professionals in this field. It’s easy to get lost in the details of the process and lose sight of the forest.

The following nine timeless principles of winning have helped SMA, Inc., become the global leader in capture and proposal consulting for nearly forty years:

Principle 1 Adjust your process to the competition, better remembered as “Don’t use a sledgehammer to crack a nut”
Principle 2 Proposals are developed, not just written: “Plan the proposal, design each page, plan what you are going to write on that page and only then, finally write”
Principle 3 Quality is the result of following the process, not from inspections: “You can’t edit your way to a winning proposal”
Principle 4 The burden of reasoning is on the writer, not the reader: “Don’t make the reader guess, they have a day job and more things to do than time”
Principle 5 Use the process to anchor competing advocacies between growing sales, minimizing execution risk and achieving financial results: “The winning proposal offers the best value to the customer, and can be performed at the offered price”
Principle 6 Your win strategy must have a clear burden of proof and be tested: “If you can’t test it, how do you know it is good?”
Principle 7 Know what it takes to go from being offerable to contesting for the win: “Take the actions to create a clear choice for the customer”
Principle 8 Out-think your rivals: “Find new, creative ways to be competitive”
Principle 9 Winning is about your leadership: “Before you can win, you need to develop a team that can win”

Keep these principles in mind every time and you will win more consistently. For help with your next proposal, Contact Us.

Ajay Patel is President and Chief Executive Officer of SMA, Inc.

Published on April 3, 2020 by

Dick Eassom, CF APMP Fellow