January 2, 2024

Five Tips to Slim Down Your Proposal Process for 2024

Eat a little extra this holiday season?

With all the parties, dinners, and cookie exchanges, you’re probably carrying a couple extra pounds than usual.

We understand, and no shame from us. All those extra calories are totally worth it, and part of what makes the season shine. However, it may be time to slim down with some extra trips to the gym or fewer trips to the pastry aisle.

So what if you applied that same thinking to your proposal process?

Over the last year, you likely picked up some habits to get through all the busyness and keep your inbox from dragging you into the email abyss. As you start the new year, though, let’s shed those old habits slowing down your proposal process and turn your team into efficiency masters. Because the more efficient your proposal process can be, the faster you can move on to execute projects and earn some returns on your time investment.

1. Utilize templates early and often

Proposals can be massive documents with dozens of sections and subsections and sub-subsections.

That’s why templates are gold in proposal management. They’re the key to saving time and operating more efficiently. There’s no need to recreate the wheel and exhaust your creative energy when you don’t need to. You can think about it the way a carpenter uses a square edge ruler. A template provides structure for you to then be creative in areas that will make the greatest impact.

2. Proposal management software is your MVP

An effective template will operate most effectively if you’re using the best proposal management software.

“Best” can mean different things depending on the needs of your business, but investing some time in finding the right software for your business can be an absolute game changer. For a quick reference, here are seven questions to ask when choosing software that’s right for you:

  • Who is your client base?
  • What are your key objectives?
  • What’s your target budget?
  • How IT savvy are your users?
  • How will you leverage a solution?
  • How does your company plan to incorporate AI in your response?
  • When am I ready to buy?

3. Streamline your go/no-go process

Depending on your company culture, the go/no-go process can just be either a go/go process or where dreams go to die.

But this can be an incredibly effective tool to ensure your work is laser focused on the best, most impactful projects for your business and an excellent candidate for a streamlined overhaul.

This process can be cut down to five key discussion areas:

  • Do we know all the decision makers, and do they know us?
  • Do we know what’s keeping our client up at night?
  • Do we have a realistic chance of winning?
  • Do we have the resources to pursue?
  • Does this opportunity align with our long-term strategy?

Using this filter will help you confidently choose the projects you want to pursue without wasting time second guessing your decision. You can also learn more about how to make the most of your go/no-go process in our previous blog post.

4. Implement a proposal response library

Like using templates, you are not required to present Hemingway level creative writing on each section of your proposal.  

With a detailed boilerplate content library, you’ll have content ready to plug into your proposal when and where you need it. To get started, review the content areas you include most often in your proposals. Then just start building a library of content that’s available for your team depending on the needs of your proposal.

5. Assign one person to focus on persuasive writing

You probably have a variety of team members who bring different strengths to your projects, and subject matter experts (SMEs) who have devoted their careers to becoming said experts.

So why would you ask one of these SMEs to craft your persuasive writing?

Lots of people have the ability to write well (or well enough) just like lots of people have the ability to properly smoke ribs or photograph a landscape. That does not mean they are the best candidate to execute those tasks. Your best option is to have your experts complete the work where they are experts, and that includes the persuasive writing for your proposal.

Whether it’s a team member or an outside contractor, assigning one person to complete the persuasive writing keeps your proposal with one, consistent voice and message, and keeps your experts working where you need them most.

Slim down your proposal process with Summit Strategy

Whether it’s government or private contracts, Summit Strategy has the resources you need to make your proposal process more efficient and more effective. Our experienced and expert team can guide you through creating proposals that best reflect your company’s capabilities, showcase your strengths, and ultimately win more business.

Ready to elevate to the extraordinary with Summit Strategy? Schedule an exploratory call today.

Krystn Macomber


There’s magic in disrupting the ordinary. This is the philosophy Krystn brings to working with and empowering her clients. With a 20-year track record of helping global professional services enterprises, Krystn is redefining what’s possible for companies looking to elevate their marketing, pursuit, and business development operations. She is an industry leader, award winner, mentor, coach, and highly sought-after speaker.

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