Government Contracting is an exciting endeavor for any small business looking to expand their market and reach new milestones. However, before you enter the federal market, you need to prepare. The best way is to develop a winning proposal writing strategy.
Government agencies publish various types of orders that are open to the public:
These “Bids” describe what the federal government needs for a particular product or service.
A Federal Proposal is the a written response to the Request for Quote (RFQ). It will include technical, management structure information, quality control requirements, past performance, costs and any other requirements of the RFQ. Professional Proposal writers can read between the lines of an RFQ, and understands clearly what the buyer needs.
A federal proposal is more than just words on paper. It answers exactly what a federal agency is looking for, and guides the buyer through the solution being offered and the company they would be trusting.
Federal Proposal Components
Below are some common document requirements found in an RFQ, that are required components in a government Proposal:
As far as the documents requested in the RFQ, they can sometimes vary. However, here is a list of what you can commonly expect:
Terms and conditions
Techniques for Building Your Pipeline & Submitting Proposals
Proposal Management Plan
Developing Proposals to Highlight Your Competitive Advantage
Write a Winning Government Proposal
Pricing your Federal Proposal to Win
Tips & Best Practices:
The Proposal Review Process
You always want to “begin with the end in mind” – So, by diving into the process that a Federal buyer will review Proposals, we will gain insights on how to successfully write a Federal Proposal.
1. Preparation and Requirements (BUYER)
Before submitting a quote request, a Buyer must establish what resources they will need to pull together. This preparatory stage takes the most time for buyers. The more details they provide, the more accurate and helpful the proposals / responses will be. Buyers must make sure they work with the internal stakeholders (end users) to gain a high-level understanding of their requirements.
Some helpful questions to ask:
- What RFQ will be issued?
- Who will be asked to respond to the RFQ?
- When will the deadline be?
Documents and information to include with your RFQ:
Details are at the heart of every effective RFQ. Additional information will help expedite supplier responses and the award process. Buyers and Contracting Officers (KO’s) will always want to have these items organized in order to make sure they do not miss any important details when building the RFQ package.
2. Issuing and Management
Now is the time for the Contracting Officer (KO) to send the RFQ to the supplier. For most RFX’s, the KO will limit the number of respondents. This ensures that they will respond quickly to your quote requests while encouraging healthy competition. It is common for KO’s to give the supplier enough time to work on the RFQ with their team, at least a few weeks.
The next part of the process is handling questions, which tends to be public-facing. This allows KO’s to share the answers with all participants. Throughout the process, it is important to maintain a level playing field. KO’s share the same information and ask all participants the same questions.
3. Scoring and Selection
The biggest advantage of the RFQ process for a KO is that evaluation and selection should be quick and easy. The preparation they invest in the beginning will now pay off. Here is a typical sequence of events:
4. Closing and Contracting
The KO will send an email with the award to the selected vendor. Remember that the seller’s response is a quote, not a formal agreement. The Ko will lilely still need to negotiate with the Vendor for certain details. Once everything is in order, they will get the consent of the seller.
Next, the Contract will be drafted with the details, terms, billing information, and deliverables that were described in the original RFP documentation.
Once a contract has been awarded, the KO will notify other suppliers of their choice using a rejection letter. Most KO’s try to provide as much information, or context, as possible to vendors that did not win the tender.
5. Review and Evaluation
After signing the contract, the KO will often schedule your first supplier evaluation meeting. Continuous supplier experience management is a key part of developing effective and long-term relationships. The KO will evaluate the Vendor on if they are fulfilling their side of the agreement and bringing the value that was presented in the Proposal.
The 4 Key Ways to Increase your Proposal Win Percentage
Four Types of RFQ’s
A request for a quotation (RFQ) can be submitted in several ways.
When the responses are visible to all qualified suppliers. The buyer opens bids during the submission period, allowing suppliers to see each other’s prices. Suppliers may modify and update the submitted offers before the expiration date of the offer.
A sealed or closed bid is when a request for proposals is open to all qualified bidders. However, the buyer only opens reviews after accepting all submissions at the end of the submission period. Sealed bids are common in government and public procurement projects.
An invite-only offer is when only certain vendors receive a request for proposals. These work with both open and closed offers.
In a reverse auction, suppliers are asked to provide the lowest bid, and the cost decreases as the auction progresses.