Blog – Pens Down2021-02-13T08:20:53-05:00

Apply Design Thinking Principles to Your RFP Response Process

Save your proposal from ending at the evaluator’s trash bin As a reviewer of proposals prepared in response to RFPs, I have frequently seen the response provided as a statement of agreement to the functional/technical requirements included in the RFP. Most of the time, it looks like someone has utilized the Copy, Paste and Replace functions of the word processor. In effect, all the “should” or “must” statements in the RFP are replaced with “will” statements in the response. I can’t blame the team preparing the response, or the reviewer of the response. They may not have a clue about the customer’s business domain and intent of the solicitation if they’re not working closely with the sales or business team. Or if they are, but they’re pulled in at the last moment, they have no time to analyze and architect a solution meeting the customer’s requirements and providing sustainable business

By |July 1st, 2021|Categories: Blog, Featured Article|0 Comments

Five Tips for Faster Proposal Writing

By |May 31st, 2021|Categories: Blog, Featured Article|

    “Bid more, win more” is a flawed growth strategy that can take its toll on your proposal development team, causing burnout that leads to poor quality writing, unprofessional proposal products, and proposal errors and omissions. This burnout directly impacts your business through low win rates, negative impressions on potential customers, and staff attrition. When multiple, concurrent active proposals tend to constantly exceed your available proposal development resources, you have two options to avoid

APMP Certification: A selfish and selfless act

By |May 18th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Featured Article|

Are you considering APMP certification? Perhaps you’re already certified at the Foundation level but are wondering if you should pursue Practitioner or even Professional accreditation. Capture and proposal professionals often ponder whether certification benefits them as well as those around them. Research shows that getting certified benefits you (selfish reasons) as well as your colleagues (selfless considerations). Here are the reasons why. Five selfish reasons First and foremost, take care of yourself. Certification benefits you as

Why firms keep bidding on losers and what you can do about it

By |April 30th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Featured Article|

A crappy win rate or lack of bidding success is usually a direct result of bidding on too many losers, aka inappropriate "opportunities". Too often, professional services firms are tempted by the potential boost in revenue and go all out pursuing speculative tender and proposal opportunities. Generally, these firms have no consistently applied or objective "bid-or-no-bid" qualifying process and/or well-defined firm BD strategy other than "hope". In closely competed market segments – and there are

RFP Red Flags

By |April 23rd, 2021|Categories: Blog, Featured Article|

Given the obligation of public sector organizations, and some corporate or private enterprises, to approach the market and run competitive selection processes (aka calls for tenders, bids and proposals), there are many potential proposal opportunities that may vie for your business development time and effort. Federal News Network reported in 2020 that “[U.S. government] agencies spent more on procurement in fiscal 2019 than in any of the previous 10 years.” According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office,

At A Glance Proposal Graphics

By |April 16th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Featured Article|

Today's blog is featuring our Diamond Partner, 24 Hour Company, which was founded as a traditional graphic design firm in 1992 by Dennis Fitzgerald. Realizing the opportunity to focus on an under-served niche market in the Washington, DC area, Dennis transitioned the company into one whose primary clients are business development professionals who bid on government and commercial contract work. To provide a growing client base with unique, new services, the company added Mike Parkinson

7 Steps for Successful Capture

By |April 9th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Featured Article|

The Capture process is more than identifying a customer’s requirements and objectives in a Request for Proposal (RFP).  Here are seven steps to help you develop your capture process. 1. Know the Customer Ideally, your capture process starts prior to the release of the RFP. It should begin with understanding the customer’s needs, wants, likes/dislikes, and their procedures and business culture. Also, determine the key decision-makers and their backgrounds. Knowing these details, no matter how small,

3 Ways to Stay Upbeat when a Proposal Goes Bad

By |April 2nd, 2021|Categories: Blog, Featured Article|

When overwhelmed by a deadline, I can fall into unhealthy mental habits. I get stressed, frustrated, and exhausted. However, years ago, I started using three techniques to ensure a happier, healthier, and more successful me. I learned these strategies from successful business professionals and life coaches. The following strategies work well together to help me remain positive and less stressed. Use what works best for you. 1. The Platinum Rule. The Golden Rule recommends, “Treat

Return of the MAC – Calling all volunteers!

By |March 29th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Featured Article|

It’s official - the APMP National Capital Area’s Mid-Atlantic Conference IS BACK for 2021! Check out the Q&A below with Annual Conference Co-chairs Morgan Anderson and Kirstin Billard about what changes we can expect to see at this year’s MAC. Both are first-time board members - perfect for bringing a fresh perspective to the unique challenge of putting on a conference in a post-COVID world.  If you are interested in volunteering for our chapter’s largest

The Story Behind Storyboarding And Why It’s Critical To Your Proposal Process

By |March 21st, 2021|Categories: Blog, Featured Article|

Storyboards have long been a part of our standard proposal best practices. We all know that the proposal giants include storyboarding as an integral part of the proposal development process, but where did this concept of storyboards originate? Interestingly, the storyboarding process, in the form we know it today, was actually developed at Walt Disney Productions during the early 1930s! Traditionally, a storyboard is a graphic organizer of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for

Simpler and More Productive Proposal Reviews

By |March 11th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Featured Article|

Color team reviews, you know them. Those dreaded meetings when you take a hard look at the draft of your proposal and realize that you have a ton of work to do before this thing is a winner. Is there any way to make these reviews less painful and more productive? How can I get what I need from my reviewers the first time?  In the next 1400 words I’ll do my best to share

Parenting and Proposal Parallels

By |March 4th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Featured Article|

Note from the editor: This is a reprint of an article originally from Spring 2011 Executive Summary Ezine, written by past NCA board member Alexander Brown (2005 - 2015). This article may be 10 years (!) old, but as the mother of a young child every word here still rings true in 2021: “My life revolves around my girls” is a mantra I adhere to. Each morning I wake up happy that I have another

Three Surprising Things I’ve Learned as a Student of Proposal Writing

By |February 25th, 2021|Categories: Blog, Featured Article|

If you're a student of proposal writing, check out APMP-NCA's Graduate Pathway Program. There are valuable opportunities to expand your education, network with peers and gain insight from proposal mentors along the way. For more information on this program, please email Originally published February 2020 As a student of proposal writing rather than an active member of the field, it does feel presumptuous to be writing about the topic with a mere two semesters

Past eZine Issues, prior to June 2018, are available in the Body of Knowledge as PDFs.  Temporarily, the files are here.

Special Thanks To . . .

Executive Summary e-Zine Chair

Candy Jenkins, CP APMP, PMP


Rebecca Link,
APMP-NCA President

General Dynamics Information Technology

Steve Skeldon,
APMP-NCA Vice President


Technical Support

Neal Levene, CPP APMP, PMP,
APMP-NCA Technology Chair

Siemens Government Technologies, Inc.


P.O. Box 711
Arlington, VA 22216-0711

A Publication of the Association of
Proposal Management Professionals
National Capital Area Chapter

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