Justin Louie, Customer Success Manager

Have you ever been in the middle of writing your proposal and found yourself asking “What are my win themes?”. Unfortunately you are too late to be asking these questions, as your win themes need to be nailed down prior to writing.

Everyone speaks about win themes in their proposals, however, how do proposal teams determine their win themes? Let’s look at the steps we can take to ensure strong win themes throughout your proposals.

Industry Leaders will tell you to determine what is important to the client, but what does that even mean? How do you read between the lines of an RFP to determine what is most important to clients? Proposal Managers start with the evaluation criteria and methodology and determine which sections will have the greatest impact. This is a great start, however  what if we assume everyone will score the same amount? What makes your proposal stand out from the rest? In most cases, knowing your client will become the key to your success.


Perform an Evaluation of the Customer

The first step is to determine the key players for the client. This includes procurement, the evaluators, and the decision makers. Someone within your organization should know who these people are, and have a working relationship with them. Using your team’s knowledge, access to client notes in your CRM, and past debrief information, identify 3-5 of the client’s concerns and objectives — these are the clients’ goals for issuing the RFP. Prioritize these client goals and work your way through each of the steps that follow.

Determine the Relevant Features and Benefits

Describing in depth the features and benefits that address the client’s concerns will strengthen a persuasive win theme. Your solution may offer many features and benefits, however don’t clutter your proposal with extra information. You never want a customer thinking “so what” while reading your proposal. If you absolutely must provide everything, a full list of features and benefits may be attached as an Annex at the end of your proposal.

Prove your Ability to Deliver Benefits

Follow up key benefits with hard evidence proving that you can deliver with the benefits you promise. Evidence can include lots of different kinds of marketing or sales assets including client references, Key Performance Indicators, Case Studies, White Papers, performance reports, and any items you believe prove your ability to deliver benefits to the client. Don’t forget the client is likely to be persuaded if these assets are coming from projects and/or clients of similar size and scope

Make Your Solution Stand Out

Take a hard look at your competitors. By knowing what they offer, you can determine their proposal strategy. From there, determine the features that make your solution unique. Remember that the client must also believe these features provide benefits to them. Draw upon you past Debrief SWOT Analysis.

Finalizing your win themes

Once these steps are completed, try to summarize this information into a sentence or two for each win theme. Don’t worry, you may go through several iterations before you fine tune your win themes and it may evolve as you write your proposal.

Final Notes

You have probably caught on by now, that the most important item in writing a win theme comes down to how well you know your customer. This is where collaboration will be key. Pool all of your knowledge from all of your resources on hand, including your sales and recruiting team. Your organization’s knowledge of your customer will help tremendously in writing persuasive and compelling win themes that will raise you above your competition. Reach out to us, or leave a comment to learn more about how you can improve your win themes, we are here to make you more successful!