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Proposal theme statements

Baskar Sundaram
Baskar Sundaram

Proposal theme statements are section-, topic-, or paragraph-level elements that appear in a consistent place and style throughout your bid. The best theme statements tie benefits to features and address customer issues. The Proposal Themes are  Important because well-written themes provide clear and convincing reasons for capturing the attention of evaluators. It is the most effective way to distinguish your proposal from the competitions.

You can create a proposal theme by understanding features and benefits. This is a big first step toward efficient and effective theme development. Features highlight what is important to you. Benefits highlight what is important to your customer. Features include important details about your company’s products or services encompassing the type of technology or tools, processes performance levels, key personnel, past performance and cost characteristics. Benefits are aspects or advantages of a feature that typically solve a customer problem in some way. Proposals benefits include increased efficiency, reduced cost, reduced risk, higher performance levels. Proposal themes link benefits with features to communicate solutions. A solution conveyed should be compelling and easy to evaluate.

Providing Proof Points is another necessity for creating a Proposal Theme. Quantifiable proof points help support your claims and set you apart from the competition. Also, make sure that the narrative section following each theme includes sufficient benefit, feature, and proof detail to support that theme.

Next, the step is to develop standardized theme statements and focus boxes. The final statement should be precise and easy to evaluate. Keep in mind, while creating the final draft, certain factors such as detailed requirements, evaluation Criteria, customer Hot Buttons, and competitive Intelligence. Follow the given steps to develop standardized theme statements and focus boxes :

Step 1:

List the high-level features and benefits. Keep it simple by starting with 3-4 major customer benefits and 1-2 solution features for each benefit.

Step 2:

List proof points for each feature and try to be creative and define as many proof points for each feature by using quantifiable metrics. A good starting point is a total of 4-6 proof points for each theme.

Step 3:

Create focus boxes and pair up the supporting proof points in a focus box with each theme statement. Use color, bold, italics, or a combination of these to make the theme statement stand out.

You can keep some tips in mind before closing the files in order to affirm your chances. Build a proposal theme outline against the structure of the response and flow themes into content plans. Proposal themes should flow from the opportunity/sales strategy, win themes, customer hot buttons, and your features, benefits, and discriminators. Ensure a consistent message and linkage of benefits throughout each major section of your response. Insert a suggested theme statement into each section content plan to help the writer organize ideas around the larger strategies. Use theme statements consistently. Be sure to format all theme statements, in the same way, to avoid missing an opportunity to score points and maintain customer focus. Test the impact of your theme statements and improve them accordingly and choose strong proposal theme statements. Add details to set your solution apart. Ensure that your theme resonates with evaluators.

Some of the most common pitfalls and misconceptions include the drafting proposal prose before themes are identified and vetted and placing too much emphasis on the wrong features and benefits. Lacking a common vision and thematic threads throughout the proposal, failing to provide adequate proof and focusing on features over benefits are some other common mistakes found in the field.

Theme statements tie benefits to features and address customer issues and should be woven throughout your proposal. Always build an outline for proposal writer and ensure that theme statements focus on your customer, not on your organization. The litmus test of a good proposal theme is that competitors cannot believably make the same claim and that evaluators could cut and paste it into their evaluation to justify your high score.

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