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What Makes a High-Scoring Proposal

Do you know what a "proposal strength" is?

There are a few main factors that evaluators will look at when scoring your proposal. First, it is important to know how they are scored. Contract proposals are scored, not read. They are evaluated using a color rating, from blue; meaning outstanding, to red; meaning unacceptable.

One of the biggest determinants of a high scoring proposal is the number of “strengths” it has. In the contracting world, a strength is a feature or benefit in your product or service that exceeds contract requirements. The more “strengths” you have, the higher your score. An example of a strength could be something like "our solution using _____ will lower your cyber risk by __%."

Once you identify your strengths, you’ll want to describe how they are exceeding the requirements. This means explaining your feature or benefit, and providing proof of how it will exceed the expectations written in the RFP. An example statement might look like this: “To meet the customer objective of ______ as written in the RFP, our company offers _________. The benefits of these features are ________, and here is the evidence _________.” Objective, strength, explanation, proof. Yours might be displayed in a chart with bullet points, or in a single paragraph. The point is to spell out exactly how this “strength” will benefit your customer.


Remember, your proposal will be scored, not read. Avoid fluff language, and make sure your strengths pop off the page. If the evaluator only has 5 minutes to skim your proposal, what will they see?

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