Proposals – What to Say, How to Say It,
and How Much to Charge
Constance Billé
+1.215.285.8136
cmbille@aol.com

Society fo...
Outline
• Proposal Structure
• Cost Estimation
• Pricing
• Related Documents
• Request for Proposal
• Letter of Agreement
...
You Get a Request
 They are a bit vague
 They ask for solutions
 They want deliverables

 They want results

$

 They...
Scary Stuff
Estimation of the cost of a proposed project.
• The manager has to budget and spend wisely to get
what the org...
Concerns on Both Sides
CLIENTS
• What concerns does the
client have?

VENDORS
• What concerns does
the vendor have?

5
Client: Worry, worry, worry
Am I asking for the right thing?
Is this the right vendor?

What will “it” look like?
How much...
Vendor: Worry, worry, worry
Do I know all the options?
I’ve never done it like that before. Will it work?
How long will it...
You Respond
 You are selling!
 Focus on the prospect
 Show that you understand them!

 Talk to them first and LISTEN
...
“Don’t give them what
they ask for, give them
what they need.”

9
You Can Do It! Propose!

10
Proposal Structure
1. Statement of Understanding
CURRENT STATUS

[Company], an iconic American brand, has been undergoing ...
Proposal Structure
2. Project Outline
2. Suggested Project Outline
Phase I: Discovery
The project begins with XXX getting ...
Proposal Structure
3. Development Process
3. Development Process
Suggested Development Process
• A weekly conference call ...
Proposal Structure
4. Deliverables
4. Deliverables
Eight modules of materials including
• Facilitator Guide in Word format...
Proposal Structure
5. Timeline
5. Timeline
Here is a suggested timeline to reach your target date of xxxx, in which case
a...
Proposal Structure
6. Roles & Responsibilities (Optional)
6. Roles & Responsibilities
Modules
One
Two
Three
Four
FINAL

1
...
Proposal Structure
7. Pricing
7. Pricing
For delivery of eight modules as specified above,
not including any on-site photo...
Proposal Structure
8. Payment Schedule
8. Payment Schedule
The price is quoted in US Dollars according to the following sc...
Proposal Structure
9. Appendix
9. Appendix
•
•
•
•

Company Experience
Project Team Biographies
Work Samples / Project Des...
Cost Estimation

20
Manage the Mix

WHO
21
What goes into estimating cost?
•
•
•
•
•

Tasks
Time
Team
Technology
Experience and benchmarks. e.g., Storyboard
or wiref...
Assembling the Team
Who do you ask?
What do you know about them?
Have you worked with them before?
Are they available? Are...
Pricing

24
Cost Estimation
• Assemble project team with all needed skills
• Breakdown phases and tasks

• Add communication & coordin...
What goes into determining price?
•
•
•
•

Cost estimation
Business overhead and margin
Competition
Prospect
• Size, resou...
Start with the Known
• Start with known cost elements
• Do some homework on the unknown
• Cover your overhead and the “X” ...
“Cost +” Pricing
Conceptualize the design
Define deliverables
How many screens, pages, illustrations
Categorize components...
Price Presentation
Bundled price?
Per deliverable?
Retainer?
Set time effort limit – then hourly charges

Note exclusions ...
Pricing
Address These Issues in Pricing
 New technique or technology

 Time frame – team size, skill

PRICE

 Complexit...
Tasks, Hours, Rates
Rate1
CLIENT

$125

Activity

Who

Hrs

Charge

Rate2
$150
TOTALS

DISCOVERY
Confer with team on proje...
Project Plan

32
Manage Expectations

QUALITY
33
Task Precedence – PERT chart
Task Time Line GANTT Chart
Week1

Week2

Week 3

Week 4

Week5

Week 6

Week 7

Week 8

Week 9

Week 10

Week 11 Week 12

...
Other Documents

36
Request for Proposal
• Know the rules for competition
• Follow the stated structure

• Meet deadline
• Interview or Q&A is...
Letter of Agreement
• A contract with mutual obligations
• Signed and dated by both parties

38
Statement of Work (SOW)
More detailed than proposal
Roles & responsibilities
Use non-disclosure agreement to protect propr...
Master Services Agreement (MSA)
• For on-going contracts, such as annual renewal of a
program
• Makes it much easier to wr...
THANK YOU!

41
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Proposals - What to Say, How to Say It, and How Much to Charge

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Presenter: Conni Billé A proposal can be terrifying. If it is off-base, you probably just wrote yourself off the candidate list. What if you propose something too expensive? What if you underestimate the complexity of the project and quote a price that is too low? Conni will share some approaches that should make you feel more comfortable and confident when writing a proposal.

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Proposals - What to Say, How to Say It, and How Much to Charge

  1. 1. Proposals – What to Say, How to Say It, and How Much to Charge Constance Billé +1.215.285.8136 cmbille@aol.com Society for Technical Communication - Philadelphia Metro Chapter 1
  2. 2. Outline • Proposal Structure • Cost Estimation • Pricing • Related Documents • Request for Proposal • Letter of Agreement • Statement of Work • Master Services Agreement 2
  3. 3. You Get a Request  They are a bit vague  They ask for solutions  They want deliverables  They want results $  They have a number in mind 3
  4. 4. Scary Stuff Estimation of the cost of a proposed project. • The manager has to budget and spend wisely to get what the organization needs • The vendor has to make a living while delivering agreedupon work (perhaps using a new tool or technique) at an agreed-upon price
  5. 5. Concerns on Both Sides CLIENTS • What concerns does the client have? VENDORS • What concerns does the vendor have? 5
  6. 6. Client: Worry, worry, worry Am I asking for the right thing? Is this the right vendor? What will “it” look like? How much does it cost? Do I have / will I get / the budget? Will I get a good product? Will I get it when I need it? How can I protect myself? 6
  7. 7. Vendor: Worry, worry, worry Do I know all the options? I’ve never done it like that before. Will it work? How long will it take? How much will it cost? How much should I charge? How can I control costs? Who should be on the team? Have I accounted for everything? Will they change their mind mid-way through? How can I protect myself? 7
  8. 8. You Respond  You are selling!  Focus on the prospect  Show that you understand them!  Talk to them first and LISTEN  The answer to “Can you…?” is “Yes!”  But remember my mantra . . . 8
  9. 9. “Don’t give them what they ask for, give them what they need.” 9
  10. 10. You Can Do It! Propose! 10
  11. 11. Proposal Structure 1. Statement of Understanding CURRENT STATUS [Company], an iconic American brand, has been undergoing significant organizational change of late. In the last few years, the company has experienced turnover and dispersion within its workforce, with 8,000 employees now spread across the globe. In addition, the demographic profile of that workforce has changed. PROBLEM The transition to a younger, global workforce has been accompanied by the departure of senior leaders who exemplified the [Company’s] internal brand; creating a general concern that the organization's internal culture – as distinct from its external brand identity – has lost its clarity. Human Resources recognizes the need for an internal program to promote the [Company’s] unique cultural identity. WE CAN HELP From years of working with global customer service organizations, [our company] experience indicates that this . . . [your analysis and solution]. 11
  12. 12. Proposal Structure 2. Project Outline 2. Suggested Project Outline Phase I: Discovery The project begins with XXX getting a full understanding of . . .. . Process Suggested activities include: • Review existing collateral • Select existing data for measurement of impact, • Conduct interviews • Produce a report . Deliverables Discovery findings report Phase II: Task Force Meeting A task force consisting of representatives from Operations, Marketing, HR, … 12
  13. 13. Proposal Structure 3. Development Process 3. Development Process Suggested Development Process • A weekly conference call to . . . • Outline an overall design . . . • Receive any templates or graphics to be used or adapted • Each week develop a first draft of one unit • Upon draft approval develop media storyboard. . . 13
  14. 14. Proposal Structure 4. Deliverables 4. Deliverables Eight modules of materials including • Facilitator Guide in Word format • Presentation in PowerPoint format • Participant Guide in PowerPoint format • Four Web-based self-instructional modules . . . 14
  15. 15. Proposal Structure 5. Timeline 5. Timeline Here is a suggested timeline to reach your target date of xxxx, in which case activities must commence by XXX. Activity Unit1First Draft Completed Week 3 Unit 2 First Draft Week 4 Unit 3 First Draft Week 5 Unit 4 First Draft Week 6 Pilot Week10 15
  16. 16. Proposal Structure 6. Roles & Responsibilities (Optional) 6. Roles & Responsibilities Modules One Two Three Four FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 DRAFT REVIEW REVISE APPROVE DRAFT REVIEW REVISE APPROVE DRAFT REVIEW REVISE APPROVE DRAFT REVIEW REVISE 9 10 APPROVE DELIVER 16
  17. 17. Proposal Structure 7. Pricing 7. Pricing For delivery of eight modules as specified above, not including any on-site photography, travel or incidental expenses incurred in the production of the deliverables outlined above; fees do not include any printing, photography, or telecommunications expenses. $100,000 USD 17
  18. 18. Proposal Structure 8. Payment Schedule 8. Payment Schedule The price is quoted in US Dollars according to the following schedule Upon signing Letter of Agreement $25,000 Upon approval of outline $25,000 Upon approval of first draft $25,000 Upon delivery $25,000 TOTAL $100,000 18
  19. 19. Proposal Structure 9. Appendix 9. Appendix • • • • Company Experience Project Team Biographies Work Samples / Project Descriptions Client Endorsements 19
  20. 20. Cost Estimation 20
  21. 21. Manage the Mix WHO 21
  22. 22. What goes into estimating cost? • • • • • Tasks Time Team Technology Experience and benchmarks. e.g., Storyboard or wireframe analysis (pages, frames, videos, graphics, audio, minutes, etc.) 22
  23. 23. Assembling the Team Who do you ask? What do you know about them? Have you worked with them before? Are they available? Are they reliable? Employee? Contractor? Sub-contractor? Rates • Employee • Contractor • Sub-contractor • Hourly? • Per diem? • Per deliverable? 23
  24. 24. Pricing 24
  25. 25. Cost Estimation • Assemble project team with all needed skills • Breakdown phases and tasks • Add communication & coordination • Assign hours to everything • Know personnel rates • Base on known units • Go high on unknowns 25
  26. 26. What goes into determining price? • • • • Cost estimation Business overhead and margin Competition Prospect • Size, resources • Expectations • Authority level 26
  27. 27. Start with the Known • Start with known cost elements • Do some homework on the unknown • Cover your overhead and the “X” factor which gets bigger with . . . • More Unknowns • Longer timeline • More people involved • More regulation or bureaucracy 27
  28. 28. “Cost +” Pricing Conceptualize the design Define deliverables How many screens, pages, illustrations Categorize components – e.g. how many “simple” vs “complex” interactives Estimate effort and timeline for each step of process Describe process & project roles / staffing Define how many review/revision iterations 28
  29. 29. Price Presentation Bundled price? Per deliverable? Retainer? Set time effort limit – then hourly charges Note exclusions – travel, out-of-pocket, printing, etc 29
  30. 30. Pricing Address These Issues in Pricing  New technique or technology  Time frame – team size, skill PRICE  Complexity  Not too low TALENT TECHNIQUE  Not too high  Value independent of effort 30
  31. 31. Tasks, Hours, Rates Rate1 CLIENT $125 Activity Who Hrs Charge Rate2 $150 TOTALS DISCOVERY Confer with team on project Lead 20 $3,000 Confer with team on project Person B 20 $2,500 Confer with team on project Person A 20 $3,000 Review internal docs Person A 6 $750 Review data of impact Person A 6 $750 Intview(8 )svc /learng needs Person A 10 $1,250 Rapid design meeting Lead 6 $900 Rapid design meeting Person B 6 $750 Rapid design meeting Person A 6 $900 Develop specifications Person B 8 $1,000 TOTAL DISCOVERY PHASE $14,800 31
  32. 32. Project Plan 32
  33. 33. Manage Expectations QUALITY 33
  34. 34. Task Precedence – PERT chart
  35. 35. Task Time Line GANTT Chart Week1 Week2 Week 3 Week 4 Week5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17 Week 18 Week 19 Week 20 July July July Aug Aug Aug Aug Sept Sept Sept Sept Oct Oct Oct Oct Nov Nov Nov Nov Design Document REVIEW APPROV Templates REVIEW APPROV REVISE APPROV Design Dec Discovery Part 1 REVIEW REVISE REVIEW REVISE APPROV Part 2 REVIEW REVISE REVIEW REVISE APPROV Part 3 REVIEW REVISE REVIEW REVISE APPROV Part 4 REVIEW REVISE REVIEW REVISE APPROV Part 5 REVIEW REVISE REVIEW REVISE APPROV Beta Class Delivery BETA Review/Approv e REVIEW Production/ Class Logistics Delivery LAUNCH key VENDOR CLIENT Some tasks allow “slide”. . . . some do not 35
  36. 36. Other Documents 36
  37. 37. Request for Proposal • Know the rules for competition • Follow the stated structure • Meet deadline • Interview or Q&A is Important • Use third party endorsement / prizes • Use Affirmative Advantages for government and nonprofit proposals 37
  38. 38. Letter of Agreement • A contract with mutual obligations • Signed and dated by both parties 38
  39. 39. Statement of Work (SOW) More detailed than proposal Roles & responsibilities Use non-disclosure agreement to protect proprietary information 39
  40. 40. Master Services Agreement (MSA) • For on-going contracts, such as annual renewal of a program • Makes it much easier to write a Statement of Work • The SOW refers to the MSA 40
  41. 41. THANK YOU! 41
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