Here are answers to the questions our new clients ask most frequently. We're always pleased to respond to questions about who we are and how we work.
Q: Can you support our whole proposal effort, start to finish?
A: Yes, absolutely. We work across the entire life-cycle of a proposal:
At the beginning, we work closely with your capture manager and team members to define clearly the scope of work, help document themes and discriminators, establish schedules and activity milestones, help plan and organize the effort, and get writing activities on track.
During the critical development stages, we interview subject matter experts; assess and tailor reuse data; and work with the team to manage, write, rewrite, edit, illustrate, and produce versions of the proposal under strict version control procedures, often working in a Virtual Proposal Center environment.
As the document comes together, we manage review teams to review, refine, and perfect the proposal; rewrite and edit; and support final production tasks as needed.
Q: How do you select the person or team members who will help us with our proposal?
A: We listen carefully to your description of the proposal to be prepared. We ask questions and often review the RFP online. We learn the size, subject matter, and content of the document, and study its milestones, phases, and deadlines. We ask you questions about your level of readiness, availability of reuse data, and assignment of in-house resource people. If we’re not familiar with your work environment, we inquire about hardware and software capabilities, virtual proposal assets, and workspace needs to support the proposal effort. We ask about the work style and preferences of your in-house leaders. With this information, we assess the nature and level of support you will need. Finally, we match the skills, knowledge, specific expertise, availability—and even personality—of our associates (well-known to us through years of affiliation) to your needs.
Q: How do you know how much help we’ll need to meet our deadline and prepare a top quality proposal?
A: After gathering the information just described, we build our estimate on all pertinent facts and on our many years of experience in similar situations. We use metrics from past engagements, and our knowledge of the process and pitfalls of proposal preparation. We even use such factors as potential adverse weather or holiday slowdowns to estimate the minimum support you’ll need from us. We can add or subtract staff once we’re underway if our calculations need adjustment.
Q: May we interview the proposal specialists you select to send to us?
A: Yes, of course. In fact, we recommend a telephone or in-person interview, if time allows, to ensure all participants are prepared to work successfully together.
Q: What if we don’t like the person or team you send?
A: This problem rarely occurs, but we are always willing to learn of your concerns and replace any associate with whom you’re not completely satisfied. Usually, the opposite situation occurs: You call us back to request specific associates you’ve worked with on previous proposal efforts we’ve supported!
Q: Can you estimate hours in advance so that we can plan our budget?
A: Yes. On most efforts we plan an average 50-hour week, excluding deadline extensions or changing RFP requirements for each key player we recommend. We multiply weekly hours x the weeks of the effort x our hourly rates, then add a small percentage for unknown factors, to give you a ballpark number.
Q: How do you qualify the people you send to us?
A: WSI’s president personally qualifies each WSI associate, often through side-by-side work experience, but also through experience and knowledge presented on resumes, personal referrals from trusted sources, in-depth interviews, client feedback, and local reputation. In addition to careful qualification, WSI’s president continuously updates information on each associate’s strengths, new skills, and work preferences.
Q: What are some of the tools and methodologies you use to prepare proposals?
A: We use a structured approach to proposal development that captures critical RFP and corporate data early in the process to establish an orderly environment for the effort. See HOW WE WORK under OUR SERVICES for more details.
Q: We want to bid on a program that is outside our area of expertise. Can you send us a subject matter specialist to help us devise a strategy and approach?
A: Sometimes, although we recommend you reconsider a bid decision or choose a strategic teaming partner for a program outside your core competencies. Our strength is in partnering with you to add our specialized knowledge of proposal writing and development to your team’s subject matter expertise to prepare winning approaches and solutions.
Q: Can we ask you to support oral presentations?
A: Yes, it’s one of our specialties. Several of our associates have strong credentials in this arena, and we can help across the entire life-cycle of oral presentations. Our support includes requirements analysis, strategy planning, theme development, data capture, presentation materials development, coaching of individual presenters, group rehearsals, question/answer preparation, videotaping and feedback, team reviews, and debriefing.
Q: How do we establish an agreement, when do you bill us, and what are your terms?
A: We require a purchase order or letter of agreement to begin work. Our contracts manager will work with you to put these documents in place. We usually bill at the middle and end of each month. We can also bill weekly if you prefer, or just once at the completion of engagements of less than two weeks’ duration. Our terms are net 30 days from date of invoice.