Guest Blog

Decoding the SF330, Part 3

After digging into the nuts and bolts of the form, then exploring ways to improve Sections A-F, let’s get into the section you should complete first when you begin the SF330.

The SF330 is a beast. There’s no way around it, no shortcuts to take, and no “easy” sections to knock out. It requires detailed information, meticulous organization, and attention to detail like you’re looking for Easter eggs in a Marvel movie. 

After digging into the nuts and bolts of the form, then exploring ways to improve Sections A-F, let’s get into the section you should complete first when you begin the SF330. 

 Section G: Key Personnel Participation in Example Projects  

It’s dot connecting time. 

Remember the aforementioned Connect Four? Well, this is where you connect the dots between your people and the projects they’ve worked on together. 

Think of this section as your credibility section. You’ll list your key personnel in Section E and ten projects in Section F to highlight in your proposal, then put a dot for who worked on what project. It’s like you’re building your All-Star team, and these are the stats to back up your argument. 

To stay with the All-Star team example, not everyone can be home run hitters. You need great pitchers, consistent fielders, players who can steal bases, etc., which means not everyone comes with the same skillsets and experience. The same goes with your team in Section G. The evaluation committee isn’t going to choose your proposal because everyone on your team worked on all your example projects. 

Just mark the projects where your team worked to show you have an expert staff where everyone brings relevant experience that makes the team better. 

What you don’t want, however, is a team member on your proposal who didn’t work on any of the projects you’re referencing. This is a red flag that you’re including a team member who isn’t adequately experienced for the project you’re hoping to win. It’s also best to have some personnel who have worked on projects together. The evaluators will want to see your team’s working relationships, so avoid ten team members having worked on ten different projects. 

The reality with Section G is there’s no way to cover up a hole in your team. If one of your key personnel just didn’t work on an example project, then you have a hole in your proposal. That’s why it’s important to complete Section G first before you work on the rest of the SF330. It will help you filter through which team members and resumes to present as your best argument to win the contract. 

Remember, many firms spend up to a year before the RFP mapping out their strategy to win the contract. Successful teams start building Section G long in advance to allow for time to fill the gaps that will arise during the process, so don’t delay beginning Section G when preparing your SF330. 

Section H:  Additional Information 

This section represents an excellent opportunity to customize your proposal even more by incorporating your unique brand and style. 

Section H is a chance for you to sell your team as the best option for this project by highlighting your win themes, including the benefits you’ll bring, the strength of your management approach and experience, and how you’ll demonstrate your unique expertise. There are some RFPs that want specific information in this section, but even then, you can still customize this section with your own style and voice. 

What you absolutely don’t want is to drown your client with more corporate, boilerplate jargon that will make their eyes glaze over like a Krispy Kreme doughnut. Like the other sections of your SF330, you want the text to be specifically tailored to address client hot buttons/pain points, specific project challenges, your solutions, your value prop/win themes, etc. 

Remember, if you make it easy for clients to know why they should choose you, you have a much better chance that they will choose you. 

More tips to improve your SF330 

Reading plain text is boring. I’m sure at some point while reading these three parts that your mind has wandered to think about your grocery list, the cliffhanger from the last episode you watched, or the awkward thing you said in the elevator. 

Getting distracted is perfectly normal, which means you should expect it from the proposal evaluators. Incorporating interactive elements into your proposal will keep your reviewers engaged and locked in on your work. Create a digital version of your proposal with clickable sections, embedded videos, virtual tours of your projects, and interactive features that allow the committee to explore your work firsthand. 

Also, as mentioned earlier, using callout boxes, infographics, charts, and diagrams to present data can make a huge difference in breaking up blocks of text and presenting mundane information in a more engaging way. High-quality images and renderings of past projects can also inject life into your proposal and incorporate your company’s branding into the design (colors, fonts, etc.). Remember, the evaluators will be looking at several proposals, so you’ll need to capitalize on every opportunity to stand out. 

Finally, remember to use the power of storytelling on your side. Our brains are hard wired to gravitate toward storytelling, so use it in your proposal. Guide your reader through the story of your team coming together to overcome enormous odds to complete projects that blew away expectations. 

Let’s go get some contracts! 

That’s it, kids. You are well on your way to creating some Shakesperean level SF330s and winning major contracts. Along with these simple steps, remember to make your proposal customized to the RFP and reflect what makes your business stand above the rest. The point of the SF330 is to showcase how your experienced team can work together to be the best possible option to finish the job, so leave no doubt in the SF330 you submit. 

You’ve got this. Your team’s got this. Now go get ‘em! 

There’s magic in disrupting the ordinary. This is the philosophy Krystn Macomber brings to working with and empowering her clients. With a 20-year track record of helping global professional services enterprises, Krystn is redefining what’s possible for companies looking to elevate their marketing, pursuit, and business development operations. She is an industry leader, award winner, mentor, coach, and highly sought-after speaker.