Guidance for Marketing and Business Development Leadership


Staying organized so that everyone knows their roles and what is expected of them makes AEC proposals a much easier task. More than anything, the best way to tackle organization is by having a strategy from the start. Leadership, your role is to form the proposal strategy and guide those involved so that the tasks are straightforward and deadlines are met.


Before the RFP: Outline the Strategy


Meetings are your greatest tool for communication and coordination, and we’ve found it best to hold a preparatory meeting to form a proposal strategy before the RFP hits.


In this preparatory meeting, you will:

  • Establish understanding, ensuring everyone is on the same page regarding expectations when an RFP comes out and you begin the proposal.
  • Discuss strategy and action items.
  • Brainstorm the critical steps and components of the process, then determine who will be responsible for each.
  • Determine responsibility for all the necessary tasks. One lead person should be responsible for each.
  • Gather information on the client for the upcoming RFP.


If you have visited some of these steps before and have a reliable proposal team, focus primarily on that very last step of gathering information. That is crucial for any proposal, no matter how small.


After the RFP: Fine-tune the Strategy


Once the RFP is issued, gather for a kick-off meeting to check in and cover new information. No matter the size of the proposal, it is best not to skip the kick-off step—it will make all team members’ tasks more manageable. Have a clean and well-organized agenda ready based on your preparatory meeting’s plan.

  • Process the RFP together; delineate the client’s needs and issues.
  • Determine the hot buttons for the potential project.
  • Adjust your strategy or approach as needed.
  • Determine deadlines and dates while also factoring in any needed flexibility.
  • Discuss the competition.
  • Discuss the client and any information you gathered before the RFP.


Remember in both meetings and all future proposal meetings that the client comes first; a proposal will not make it to the shortlist if it is not catered precisely to the client’s needs.


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