Winning Proposals Are Based on L and M and are Easy to Read

Federal RFPs are supposed to show Proposal Writing Instruction in Section L and Proposal Evaluation Criteria in Section M of an RFP. Many do and some don’t. Proposal instructions and requirements can sneak into other parts of an RFP even in RFPs that follow the Federal Section L & M Standards. That’s why filtering the RFP is so critically important.

Proposal evaluators want:

  • Just what they asked for in Section L. Other content that you chose to write beyond the requirements in Section L will not be evaluated
  • Succinctness, clarity, easy to read text, with no frills. Write at a high school level.
  • Quick ways to get through proposals; less is better, clear tables of content, compliance matrices.
  • 100% compliance, any less will result in a rejection.

Evaluators hate:

  • Sales puffery like: ABC Co is a world class service firm with collective experience exceeding 100 person years. Tone down your CEO’s sales pitches. Limit graphics that say nothing, company logos, and fanciness in general. Do not try to impress except in the compelling content you write in response to Section L.
  • Evaluators typically say: “the sales pitch and formatting beauty is clearly done to avoid telling me the low risk solution in simple terms”. Do not develop your own proposal organization structure because you think that’s its better than the structure shown in Section L.

It can be the kiss of death.


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