Business is down. Costs are up. Driving new business with winning proposals has moved up the priority list from “good to do when I have time” to Must. Do. Today.

To help you out, we’ve compiled five best-practice proposal writing tips:

  1. Do Your Research
  2. Set Out with a Plan in Mind
  3. Put Together Your Team
  4. Do Not Compromise on Quality
  5. Leverage Your Strengths

1-Do Your Research

Whether your proposal is unsolicited or you’re responding to an RFP, start with the problem you’re trying to solve. Then ask a few questions:

  • Does the opportunity support my organization’s business strategy?
  • What are the risks of winning the bid—or not winning the bid?

As part of your research, you also need to know how much it will cost to produce the proposal. You can determine how to budget for your proposal through market research and creating cost estimates.

When your research is solidified, it’s time for a bid/no-bid decision. Once you’ve committed to bid, you can create a plan of attack.

2-Set Out with a Plan in Mind

A quality proposal won’t happen without a good proposal design. Begin by analyzing the RFP or other relevant materials. If an account manager is involved, consult together about the bid strategy, the win themes, and the client’s main issues, so you can position your proposal most competitively.

As you develop your plan, give yourself the time needed to write a proposal. To create efficiencies where you can, look for shortcuts like hiring a proposal team, repurposing a proposal template from a past project, or finding a proposal timeline example online so you don’t have to start from scratch. With your plan in hand, it’s time to start writing your proposal response.

3-Put Together Your Team

You can tackle small proposals with a simple outline. For larger proposals, you’ll want a compliance matrix to ensure that all RFP questions are answered completely, numbered correctly, and entered into the proposal.

If the proposal is complex, you’ll need a proposal manager who assigns sections to team members to complete. This team approach does have its benefits; for one thing, The Bid Lab notes that more eyes mean more chances to catch a mistake that could disqualify you. However, assembling an in-house team is notoriously difficult since your project will probably pull them away from their other important work. An outsourced team of professional proposal writers offers consistently good results without the trial-and-error worry of trying to hire reliable and smart freelance proposal writers.

McKinnon-Mulherin specializes in writing and managing proposals so you (and your busy team) can refocus 100 percent of your time back on your day jobs. This means you can further increase your business development capacity as you’re able to bid on even more work—and your team stays busy doing what they do best.

4-Do Not Compromise on Quality

Driving new business is top of mind not just for you in 2023 but for many other organizations. In 2022, 57 percent said they plan to increase the number of RFPs they respond to as they ramp up from the COVID-era economic slowdown. With all this competition from other organizations, you need those extra sets of eyes we mentioned to make sure you end up with the best possible proposal. Editing and proofreading is nonnegotiable. It’s a proposal manager’s worst nightmare to put in all the investment of time and resources and realize perhaps moments after sending that a section is missing or that you forgot to change the client’s name in the footer of your template.

Professional proposal writers like those at McMul are versed in proposal best practices, including the Shipley process, and follow a thorough quality process all the way from managing and writing to editing and final proofreading—making sure your proposal will be remembered for your message and not for your mistakes. Outsourcing lets you focus on what you’re best at as your project team worries about the details.

5-Leverage Your Strengths

We’ve already seen a huge wave of layoffs in 2023, and you may be one of many who’ve been asked to fill multiple roles right now. To do more with fewer resources, consider how you can spend your precious time and attention strategically. McMul’s proposal writing solutions can help relieve the stress of responding to RFPs. Our writers enjoy this process. Let us craft a compelling proposal while you take care of all the other demands placed on you.

Sell more even in a slow economy

The economic uncertainty ahead means organizations need to run as efficiently as possible. But a slow economy doesn’t have to slow your business down. With a few strategic moves, you can create quality proposals that stand out from the increased competition and drive the business you need to thrive in 2023 and long beyond.

You have the solution your clients need. Find out how you can help sell your full capacity by checking out our other articles on proposal writing.