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3 Simple tactics you can employ to stretch proposal dollars

  • Do you find it challenging to get a solid grasp on our proposal costs?
  • Are you unsure about how to allocate your overall marketing dollars?
  • Are you looking for creative ways to get more bang from your proposal budget?


Bid and proposal costs can be 8-15% of your organization’s overhead or up to 25% of the bid price.  Now unless you are able to recoup your bid cost via the government, spending proposal dollars wisely should be your first line of priority.

In fact, we once had a proposal client that spent up to 46% of the bid price preparing a bid they ultimately did not win — talk about wasteful!  The truth is, if you truly want to get the most out of your proposal budget, you must purposefully employ tactics in your business that are going to move the meter.

So what can you do to optimize your tight proposal budget and meet your high-impact marketing goals?

1.  Find the Right Customer Target: A significant part of your bid pursuit plan is targeting the “Right” customer or customers. For a low-budget high-impact marketing plan to be effective, you must spend so time on the front-end locating customers. You need to be specific and clear about who’s buying what you’re selling.  In the same vein the potential customer must be able to find you easily; classify your organization and know your firm is priced within their budget.  Make that two-way street as simple as possible.  That means no more blind bidding!

2.  Set up templates to jump start you at the Beginnings: Setting up templates for a low-budget high-impact can save time, effort and money with your proposal expenses. Templates are easily accessible yet, they also allow you to easily make changes in no time, with no reoccurring cost for each new proposal. Also, consider building a boilerplate library for those areas where you tend to be redundant.  One of the best bangs for your buck is to have 1-2 corporate templates designed by a graphic professional to build standardization into your business.  Streamlining your organizational processes is the most impactful way to boost productivity and reduce cost.

3.  Train in-house staff to pull together proposals: If you want to see immediate results in your proposal development efforts and reduce costs over time, training your staff to assist in pulling together your proposals can do that and more. Investing in your staff not only helps long-term business growth but also short-term business growth.  Whether you pay someone to come in and deliver onsite proposal training or sending your staff to proposal training workshop, your staff needs to have the fundamentals and skills necessary in developing a solid proposal.  If you are pursuing a larger proposal effort you should invest in hiring a proposal consultant to ensure your proposal dollars are being maximized. We wrote a guide to help you make a clear decision when hiring a proposal consultant. You can find the guide here: Guide to Proposal Writing Talent

The above contains just a few tactics used by small businesses to create high-impact low expense tactics for stretching your proposal budget dollars. We have seen these tactics used with great success by our clients and more importantly by us. Proposal preparation success comes from originality, resourcefulness, and relationships; not from big budgets.

I’m sure you’d be happy to know, that I’m hosting a webinar on October 12, 2017, about tools to help you streamline your proposal writing process and of course you are invited! Additionally, you’ll get your hands on a toolkit with video resources and templates. You can save your spot here: See you there!

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