Building a proposal team: Roles and responsibilities

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My experience shows that there is no “right” structure for a proposal team. The roles and responsibilities of the proposal team can vary greatly. A proposal team can come in many sizes and shapes depending on the opportunity and the proposal process.
One thing I can tell you is that there is a “wrong team structure”. It’s any arrangement that doesn’t provide enough coverage to cover the entire proposal. Let’s take a look at the coverage you might need.
This article explains.
What roles might I need for the proposal team?
Why is it important to have a proposal manager?
How do you ensure coverage?
The Building and Recruitment of the Proposal Team
What do You Think?
What roles might I need for the proposal team?
Although I know I said there is no “right” team structure for every project, sometimes you just need a place where you can start. Below is an example for a typical proposal team I would use at an agency or consultancy to help me with contracts ranging between $500,000 and $2.5M (USD). These numbers will vary from one organization to another and from opportunity to opportunity. However, it may give you an idea of what to expect if you are new to this area.
Depending on the size of your company, your proposal team may include any or all of these roles.
Why is it important to have a proposal manager?
I didn’t list a specific role, but I did list the Proposal Manager.
If your company takes new business seriously (and it should), A proposal manager is essential. Let’s face it, proposals are projects that must be managed. A Proposal Manager can help reduce the risk of your proposal being rejected or submitted late.
A Proposal Manager can provide some specific value, such as a compliance matrix to track proposal submission requirements, allocating and scheduling contributers, and creating and supervising the submission timeline.
You will experience feedback at the last minute, confusion between the interpretations of the requirements, disconnect between the interpretations of your proposal, gaps in the proposal that you only discover the day before you submit it, and increased stress.
Yes, I do speak from my own painful experiences!
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How to Ensure Coverage
No matter what your proposal team structure is, you must ensure that your team has the correct coverage. You can use your PM toolkit to create a RACI or coverage checklist with your team.
The team would brainstorm the tasks that must be done to submit the proposal and assign an owner (the responsible person). If there are any gaps after you’re done, you can either bolster your team or hire someone to take over those responsibilities.
Project managers can use a proposal coverage checklist to ensure that they have all the necessary information before submitting a proposal.
Building and Recruiting The Proposal Team
The way you recruit and brief your team is another important aspect. These are some tips for those who recruit your team.
Include all perspectives. You can’t make a realistic and competitive proposal if you don’t include the UX or QA teams.
Your key leaders should be comfortable estimating with some uncertainty. Expectations of having all the answers from an estimation team will lead to disappointment.