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Back to School: CPSM Domain 4: Proposals and Qualifications

November 15, 2011

CPSM study groups will begin in January. Please consider joining us!

Proposals and qualifications aid prospective clients in determining the merits of your firm. Although face-to-face meetings and relationship building is a crucial part of winning new work, proposals and quals are one of the standard units of measure, in our industry. Done efficiently, effectively, and thoughtfully, they are an important tool in a marketer’s toolbox.

Throughout the study preparation for domain four, we will discuss the important components involved with creating proposals and qualifications that lead to new work. Examples of these components include proposal-related databases, the go/no-go process, teaming opportunities, proposal planning, themes, elements, schedules, how to execute a proposal work-plan, and proposal production. Additionally, we will discuss the short-list interview and oral presentations. This domain of professional practice includes federal forms such as the SF 330, and the SF 254/255 for those agencies that still use it, as well as the importance of post-proposal debriefings. Perhaps most valuable is determining how to answer an RFP’s unspoken requirements.

Knowledge areas include:

  • RFQ/RFP criteria and decision/selection process
  • Fee pricing/budgeting
  • Federal, state, and local laws and regulations
  • Federal, state, and local forms and guidelines
  • Architectural and engineering terminology
  • Scheduling and tracking systems for individual proposal elements and status
  • Graphic design and production
  • Resources and products for SOQ/proposal production, including printing and binding
  • Desktop publishing software
  • Managing activities of specialized consultants
  • Presentation software
  • Visual aids for use in presentations
  • Procedures for a post-presentation or post-contract award debriefing

CPSM Study prep will help in the development your of essential skill sets. As part of CPSM certification, you’ll be required to:

  • Conduct/participate in an RFQ/RFP review and/or strategy session to analyze a potential client in terms of target market, project size, probability of selection, and timing in order to recommend a go/no-go decision
  • Develop strategies to produce SOQs/proposals
  • Manage the preparation and draft the content of proposals, SOQs, letters of interest, and responses to inquiries
  • Produce SOQs/proposals, including typing, editing, graphics, reproduction, binding, and mailing, to ensure that all RFQ/RFP criteria are met
  • Develop a presentation strategy, structure, and style and assist in selecting a presentation team
  • Prepare or assemble written and visual information for presentations
  • Coordinate/coach presentation rehearsals
  • Conduct a post-presentation follow-up internally and with the prospective client
  • Conduct post-award debriefings with prospects regardless of outcome and revise business development and SOQ/proposal strategies as appropriate
  • Perform contract negotiations, including preparation of draft, negotiations, and execution of contract

Throughout the CPSM study process, reading materials, application of resources and interaction with chapter CPSM’s will prepare you to delve into the finer points of preparing proposals and qualifications for your firm. This practical approach to industry-specific applications will deepen your marketing knowledge and validate your commitment to your profession.

Please join us for the 2012 CPSM Exam Study Sessions staring in January. For more information, please contact

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