Best Practices for Subcontractor Proposal Support

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After you decipher a government request for a proposal, it’s time to decide whether or not partners are needed to complete your solution. Companies will often reach out to partners to take advantage of their past performances on similar work to the proposal they are pursuing. Segue chooses partners based on how much value they add to the proposal. The partner will add value by being able to specifically write to what is being asked for ‘technically’ and prove that they are capable of performing the work because they have done it before. When working on proposals with subcontractors, make sure to pick quality teaming partners, commit to a timeline with said partner or partners, and do what you can to foster active communication and participation.

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Select Quality Teaming Partners

If you determine that you need partners, then the question of “who” comes into play and you will start looking for potential teaming partners that will become your subcontractors. Being a sub on a proposal effort is just as important as being the prime. A sub adds value to the proposal that the prime may not possess. Because of that, their contributions and help throughout the process is greatly needed and appreciated. Working together to meet timelines, providing compliant inputs, and active   participation should be the goal of all subs through the proposal process and the kind of factors that you take into consideration when choosing a sub.

Commit to a Timeline with your Partner(s)

Determining an appropriate response timeline should include feedback from your subs on their availability. You have to be respectful of their resources and other commitments they have on their end. Create a proposed timeline, and then meet with the team as a whole to confirm milestones: when drafts should be returned, as well as when reviews should occur. Getting concurrence you’re your subs and taking their schedules into consideration, increases their ability to meet your proposal schedule. It is very important for all team members to stick to the agreed upon timeline, because missing a draft date or a review date will push back the rest of the schedule and end in a scramble to get things done at the end. The last thing you want is to not have time for an overall review and compliance check before submission.

Foster Active Communication and Participation

Active participation by every company that is bidding on the proposal is a must. After showing interest and being placed in a role for the proposal effort, the communication should not stop there. It is important to have status calls and to make sure that everyone is on track with the established timeline. Ensuring follow through on promises and commitments is necessary to ensure the final response is complete, compelling, and compliant. Your team was built for this purpose, and if a team member doesn’t follow through, you will have a weakness or a gap in your response.

As new information is released, or if delays arise, it is important to make everyone aware of the impacts so the team can adjust the schedule and their assignments appropriately instead of getting frustrated. Clear communication and ensuring follow through is the responsibility of both the Prime and Sub and can be a key component of future decisions to partner. If the teaming arrangement does not go smoothly on one bid, it is less likely for the same arrangement to be used on another. Identify Gaps and Give Partners Clear Feedback to Close Them

Providing a compliant response is necessary to achieve a Technically Acceptable proposal. This is why there are drafts and reviews scheduled into the proposal timeline. Excellent communication with partners through review cycles and needed revisions is critical to smooth proposal production. Prior to a team review date, perform a compliance check to see if the draft inputs have any gaps. Make sure that the draft has included everything from the Instructions to Offerors (ITO), the Evaluation Criteria, and the Performance Work Statement (PWS). Usually a gap will be found during this review of draft inputs. The likelihood of gaps is increased when sections and other inputs are coming in from multiple subs supporting the response. As the prime, it is important to have a clear view of outstanding sections and status of your subs contributions. At the agreed upon touchpoints in the schedule (standups or reviews), highlight what is missing and make sure that the author has clear guidance on what they still need to provide. Final review by you as the prime will include a compliance check on the entire response again. Especially makes sure that the gaps originally highlighted have been incorporated this time around. Poor communication with partners can lead to these gaps lingering and potentially losing the availability of authors from your partners supporting the response.