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Proposal Theme Statements

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.

Here are some ways to make the best proposal theme statements:

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. Develop feature/benefit pairs and create a statement that:

○ Identifies a benefit to the buyer paired with a feature of your offer.

○ Ties that benefit to a customer issue.

○ Quantifies benefits whenever possible.

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.

Maintain customer focus.

Customer-focused writing is key in developing proposal themes. Placing benefits before features, tying them to customer issues, and naming the customer first and more often than you name yourself will sustain the attention of evaluators and communicate a reduced sense of risk.

Read your theme statements out loud.

When you’ve written a section theme statement, read it out loud, keeping in mind the following tips:

○ Did you need to take a breath to finish it?

○ Did it make sense, or did you stop yourself and start over with new words?

○ Does it sound believable?

○ Does it sound like something a normal person would say?

Test the impact of your theme statements and improve them accordingly.

Choose strong proposal theme statements. Add details to set your solution apart. Ensure that your theme will resonate with evaluators.


Theme statements tie benefits to features and address customer issues. They should be woven throughout your proposal. Build an outline for proposal writer. 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.

The article briefly details key examinable syllabus area from the APMP Foundation certification.

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Based on APMP Copyrighted material.

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