When I first started writing proposals, I had to learn a lot of things on my own. Over time, I realised that it is important to be consistent with the quality of my proposals. And so, I created a basic checklist (that I added to over a period of time)
I noticed that the team I work with, especially the ones who are new to the mad scramble of proposal writing can use this checklist and quickly do a few things to make their proposals 20-30% more professional. Here is the secret sauce:
1. Have you made a list of the customer's vision, strategy and requirements?
2. What products/ services are being sold to address the customer's vision, strategy and requirements?
3. Are the case studies you are using relevant to the customer's industry?
4. Are the case studies you are using relevant to the customer's pain points?
5. Are there any customer requirements that we are not compliant with?
6. Is the proposal articulated well and aligned to the customer's vision, strategy and requirements?
7. Is the proposal easy to read and the grammar used correct?
8. Is the customer using UK English or US English? (read my blog post here to know the difference)
9. Are all font sizes taken care of?
10. Do all sentences end with the right punctuation?
11. Have you addressed all cross-referencing/ hyperlinks?
12. Are all the headings correct/ sensible?
13. Are the bulleted lists consistent?
14. Are the page numbers sequential?
15. Are the headers and footers consistent?
16. Are acronyms spelled out in first appearance in volume/major section?
17. Is there anything in the proposal that you do not perfectly understand?
18. Is the cover letter and executive summary addressing the customer's problems?
19. Do all graphics have a caption?
20. Are we showing the customers how they will benefit from the product's function?
21. How is this proposal better than the last one you have worked on?
22. If you had an extra week to make this proposal better, what would you do differently?