2019 MAC Call for Speakers

Mid-Atlantic Conference and Expo
Call for Speakers

APMP-NCA solicits abstracts for presentations at the 2019 Mid-Atlantic Conference and Expo (MAC). We are looking for sessions that use a variety of presentation methods (standard presentations (with PPT slides), panels, workshops, etc.) and provide innovative, actionable insights that attendees can use in their day-to-day experience as Business Development, Capture, and Proposal professionals. Approximately 300 individuals will attend the MAC on October 17th in Tyson’s Corner, VA.

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Recording Available: “No Money. No Design Skills. No Problem”

Our recent webinar recording is now available. The presentation does not start until 12:40 in the recording.

Get the latest tools and techniques to make professional proposal graphics quickly with little to no money. No design skill needed. All participants get a collection of 1800 icons, step-by-step guides to making graphics, and Mike’s Graphic Cheat Sheet. Do not miss this high-energy, enlightening event. It will change how you make proposals.

Presenter: Mike Parkinson, CPP APMP Fellow and 1 of 34 Microsoft PowerPoint MVPs in the world, is an internationally recognized visual communication and proposal expert, and best-selling author. He is a partner at 24 Hour Company (www.24hrco.com), the premier proposal creative services firm. Mike has spearheaded multi-billion dollar projects and helped his clients win billions of dollars. Mike’s training, Billion Dollar Graphics and A Trainer’s Guide to PowerPoint books, Graphic Cheat Sheet, and Build-a-Graphic (www.Build-a-Graphic.com) software help companies succeed while saving time and money. Learn more at BillionDollarGraphics.com.

Thank you to the presenter Mike Parkinson.

View the recording here >

Scholarship for 2019 APMP International Bid & Proposal Conference

A scholarship award is available in the amount of a full early bird conference registration for the 2019 APMP International Bid & Proposal Conference in Orlando, May 20 – 23, 2019. Please refer to the conference web site for specific conference information: https://www.apmp.org/general/custom.asp?page=orlando. The scholarship covers Early Bird Full Registration for an APMP member affiliated with NCA. The award is for 2019 only, and the scholarship award will be paid directly to APMP to cover the cost of registration.

Full information and the scholarship application is located here.

All application materials must be received by March 8, 2019.

Recording Available: “Assessing Capture Readiness”

Our recent webinar about assessing capture readiness is now available.

Business capture takes time and money, sometimes with few tangible results. How do you assess capture readiness for each opportunity in your pipeline? This webinar will explore Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that help you measure and track capture progress, improve capture quality and increase PWin.

Presenter: Lisa Pafe, CPP APMP Fellow and PMP, Vice President of Lohfeld Consulting Group, brings nearly 30 years of capture and proposal experience. She is the past APMP-NCA President and also served as Vice President and Speaker Series Chair. She holds a B.A. from Yale University, MPP from Harvard University, and MIS from The George Washington University.

Thank you to the presenter Lisa Pafe.

View the recording here >

Recording Available: “Top 5 PowerPoint Tips and Tricks”

Our recent webinar about using PowerPoint is now available.

Learn from a Microsoft PowerPoint MVP (1 of 34 in the world). This session will blow you away! Get the top five secrets the pros use to make and deliver the best-of-the-best PowerPoint presentations. See how you can build almost any graphic in PowerPoint, make professional slides quickly, and keep your audience engaged and eager to learn. Discover where to get the best visuals, infographics, photographs, and PowerPoint add-ins. Walk away with new tools and techniques that help you do your job faster and better—while saving money.

Thank you to the presenter Mike Parkinson.

View the recording here >

7 Key Pre-solicitation Activities for Proposal Management Input

Capture, marketing and proposal staff must perform key pre-RFP release activities to enhance proposal management and content as follows:

1. Perform Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for previous contracts, deliverables, SOPs and customer five-year plan to gauge previous contract activity, issues and initiatives
2. Obtain customer phone listing, e-mail addresses, and location addresses, organization chart, mission statements, operational platforms, toolsets and interface requirements
3. Find out Customer desires, needs, hot buttons, budget, problem areas, politics, decision makers, and partnering ideas
4. Determine makeup of customer evaluation team as to personalities, prejudices, and preferences.
5. Obtain success and failure information on contractors doing business there and form teaming agreements with those the customer likes.
6. Determine/obtain key personnel to be proposed prior to RFP release
7. Have your key personnel make a presentation of your team experience and capabilities to the customer

These steps will better position your team for the win by enabling you to help shape your proposal content based on the customer knowledge and information you obtained.

Proposal Writers and Contracting Officers: We’re Not So Different After All! (And A Little Meditation Doesn’t Hurt)

Having had the opportunity to spend the day with some of the most motivated business professionals in the National Capital Region at the APMP-NCA Conference, I am more convinced than ever that proposal writers and federal contracting officers are birds of a feather. After attending some amazing sessions on technologies, success and creativity, the overlap between these two communities had me chanting “We’re not so different after all.” That was, of course, after several rounds of my newly learned “Sa Ta
Na Ma” meditation. How is it that I learned all of this at the same, single conference?!

My expectations for the APMP-NCA conference on Friday October 13, 2017, were completely blown away by the end of the opening keynote speaker address. The APMP-NCA staff was incredibly friendly and organized, and they got me off to a running start that morning. The key note speaker, Alka Dhillon, provided me with a new tool for combatting stress: Sa Ta Na Ma meditation. Before the first session at 10:15am, I found myself entrenched in an awesome and new community of likeminded professionals.

Throughout each of the sessions I attended that day, I was reminded of how proposal writers and federal contracting officers are working as two sides of the same coin. What a brilliant idea we spend more time together and learn from one another! The challenges shared by the small business professionals partaking in the “How Small Business Can Develop Effective Proposal Orgs” session reflects a similar scenario on the federal side where contracting officers and specialist often must wear many hats, as well. Apparently, “cat herding” isn’t just a job that contracting officers face! Ms. Jennifer
Adeli’s session on managing virtual proposal teams literally could have been provided to any federal agency that is incorporating or expanding their telework policy. Finally, the discussions and advice provided in Rebecca Link’s “Developing Your Professional BluePrint and Gaining Respect as You Grow” were both eye opening and refreshing after a full day of learning.

In short, once I get a chance to come up for some air (most likely during my break between Fall and Spring semesters at George Washington University), I can’t wait to join APMP and more fully explore all that this organization has to offer. Everyone (and especially federal contracting officers like myself!) should take the time to find out what this community has to offer. I look forward to connecting on LinkedIn with all the people I met and attended sessions with! Thank you for the opportunity to attend this awesome event!!

Why Get Practitioner (or beyond) APMP Certification?

First off, I understand that “everyone’s doing it” – that is, getting their Foundation certification. I mean, who doesn’t want CF.APMP after their name, right? According to Rick Harris at the 2017 APMP Bid & Proposal Con (June, New Orleans), there are 8,299 Foundation-level certified members (or as Rick said, “Let’s round that up to 8,300.”) Of those, 810 are Practitioner certified. Now I don’t do math, but I believe that’s less than 10 percent. So why are so few going for that next level?

Are there no additional benefits to upping your certification? Will you get a promotion or raise? Is it too much trouble or too hard or too intimidating?

We have all read the benefits of certification on the APMP website. But how do these translate into REAL LIFE scenarios? I think it all depends on what YOU want to get out of it. If you are looking for instant recognition for your experience and capabilities, think again. Employers are not always able to accommodate “on-demand” promotions or raises, nor are they prone to heaping on the accolades. In some instances, they may not even recognize the benefits of “yet another certification.”

If you have these expectations, you may be sorely disappointed. You need to want this for yourself. Complete the Practitioner level to show yourself that you have “what it takes” to excel, to lead. Let it confirm that you really dohave valuable proposal knowledge. This feeling will instill a renewed sense of confidence and competence in your daily work. These qualities are what will ultimately lead to career advancement and recognition…not the certification itself.

So if you’re thinking about going for Practitioner, think first about what you want to get out of it…and what you’re willing to put into it. Research the requirements. Start gathering your documentation. Draft your PPAQ. Identify additional experience and knowledge you need to fill the gaps. Take more training. Do some self-study. Find a mentor. Take a Practitioner preparation workshop. Talk to your employer. Talk to colleagues who are pursuing Practitioner. Most of all – do not be afraid of reaching for this worthwhile goal. Do it for yourself…the rest will follow.

The Outsiders Why 3rd party reviewers rock at color team reviews By Erin Green, CF APMP

Like most proposal managers, by the time I get to a color team review, I might not know if I’ve written the best–or the worst–proposal in history. To make sure I have clear goals coming out of color reviews, I bring in…

The outsiders.

Bringing in someone to read the proposal like an evaluator is a critical best practice for effective color team reviews. The ‘outsider,’ or third party reviewer, can be someone who works in a different division of your company, a consultant, or anyone who can legally read your proposal document (usually not your mother). It’s important to make sure that the reviewer hasn’t been around during the development of the solution; it could skew how they score.

Giving the third party reviewer instructions similar to what the evaluator would receive produces a score that can then be analyzed by the proposal management team to gain insight on where the document could be improved to maximize the score. It’s also nice to hear where you are doing well. The answers could surprise you!

Another advantage of a third party reviewer is being able to ask follow-up questions, a rare luxury in the real-life scenario with the buyer. In the ‘outsider’ scenario, you’re able to ask detailed questions about how they thought sections turned out, and any improvements they would make to add those extra points. The proposal manager can then take those action items and insights and make recovery plans for sections, or strategy changes before the proposal becomes too set in stone.

While getting an ‘outsider’ opinion is a best practice for color team content, it can also be useful to obtain their opinion on design and graphic components, and overall proposal organization, as these factors can sometimes be left to the wayside when larger content issues arise. An evaluator notices graphical components immediately, and your ‘outsider’ will tell you if anything was unclear.

If you don’t have the time allotted or resources to add a third party reviewer, it’s useful to designate one of your internal reviewers to act as the official evaluator. This designation can help make sure that the message of the proposal is clear, and give you some insight into areas that may have been missed. The designated reviewer should use the exact score sheet (if provided by the buyer) or exact evaluation criteria to score each section.

In prior proposal management projects, I’ve developed a matrix to aid in reviewing proposals that do not include clear evaluation instructions or predefined score sheets. This matrix allows easy summation scores of each section and allows the strategy team to clearly identify outstanding and underperforming sections for recovery.
For proposals of high value, it’s worth asking a third party reviewer for both an early and later review. This can confirm if the recovery efforts aided in getting that ideal score, and allow for strategy shifts early if needed.

The idea of having an ‘outsider’ isn’t a new concept for those in APMP. In fact, it’s one of our documented best practices in our Body of Knowledge. However, in my experience, being able to see the benefit in practice has made me a believer in the effectiveness and insight this ‘outsider’ can bring to the inside.

BIO | Erin Green, CF APMP, has more than 10 years of experience in government procurement. She is a Proposal Manager at MAXIMUS, leading large and small efforts in the preparation and delivery of winning proposals worldwide for national, state, and local clients. Erin has been engaged with APMP-NCA since 2011. She is a graduate of the APMP-NCA Mentor-Protégé program, inaugural recipient of the APMP-NCA scholarship, and award-winning author.