We’ve been working recently with a client’s design agency on a new standard proposal template in Microsoft Word. Now, finding an agency that combines excellent design ability, Word skills and proposal expertise is an interesting challenge – and whilst this group were excellent on the first two criteria, they fell a little short on experience in the third.
So, early on, we shared with them our list of objectives; the template should help to achieve the following in the proposals on which it will be used:
- Looks highly professional.
- Stands out from the crowd – the proposal has to be more professional in every respect than those of the competitors bidding for the same piece of work.
- Makes the document easy-to-evaluate, making it easy for the customer to absorb information.
- Reflects and supports the bid team’s win themes for the specific opportunity.
- Adheres to the customer’s instructions regarding content and structure: thus, some flexibility is called for within the template.
- Is customer-focused and looks familiar to the customer (”this has clearly been developed for us, rather than being a standard offer”, using colours and images which re-assure and make them comfortable and confident).
- Ensures appropriate consistency of underlying design from one proposal to the next, and between the proposal and any other collateral they may receive. (Put another way – there needs to be some tie-in to corporate branding, but this mustn’t over-ride the needs of the opportunity in question!)
- Is “usable” by the staff working on proposals – that is, appropriate to their levels of expertise with Word.
How do your templates fare?