Characteristics of most federal evaluators
Most federal proposal evaluators share several characteristics.
1. They don't want to read your proposal and many only read certain sections; they
skim for the good parts.
2. They are looking for the duds that they can throw in the noncompliant pile as
quickly as possible. The more proposals evaluators eliminate, the fewer they have
to thoroughly review.
3. They want to read about clear, concise solutions to their problem in the shortest
amount of time.
What They Read
• The Executive Summary (it needs to be short but at the same time say it all)
• The critical parts of the Technical Approach (the section where your company
demonstrates how it is unique and how it proposes to minimize the customer's
• The resumes for key contract personnel and the summaries of relevant experience
for key personnel
• The corporate experience summaries
What Makes Evaluators Giggle
Statements such as "This world-class company is eminently qualified to perform the
required work" or "The collective experience of our personnel exceeds 200 person years"
are sure to elicit groans from the evaluators. Avoid such trite statements at all cost.
An experienced federal proposal evaluator can get through a proposal in 15 minutes --
particularly those that will go in the "dud pile." The good ones are put in a "hopeful pile"
and read more thoroughly later.
What They Want
• Most importantly, provide what was requested and nothing more or nothing less
• A few clear, concise pages on your solution, why it will work, and how it will
• Proof that your key personnel will get the job done and reduce the customer's risk
• Assurances that your firm has the requisite experience to provide the solution and
handle the tasks.
• The rest of your proposal is filler which is necessary for compliance. Keep it as
clear and concise as possible and make it apparent that you will perform.
In summary, a winning proposal is about superior organization, clarity of content, and
brevity. These goals can only be achieved through the development of a proposal outline
from the onset of the preparation process. The outline must then be refined until it
evolves into a complete proposal.