Articles

Tailoring A Bespoke Proposal

Off-the-rack vs. Made-to-measure:

To understand how CV Partner developed our approach to crafting proposals, we often use the analogy of an individual candidate applying for a job. Everyone knows you should tailor your CV for each position you apply to, but how painstaking it can be. 

However it's not totally unrealistic to manage it in most cases; an organised individual probably has all the relevant information stored in some format somewhere.

The same principle applies to creating a proposal for a new client. You should adapt each individual bid in order to highlight your organisation’s relevant experience to the project. But, unlike applying for an individual position with a single CV to alter, tailoring a new bid means sifting through and organising dozens of CVs and layouts.

This is really time consuming. But you know the client is on the look-out for specific, relevant skills from your teams’ CVs. Like buying a suit off-the-rack, a standardised proposal might cover most areas to do the job, but it might not fit the client’s expectations in some vital, hard-to-reach places.   A bespoke proposal’s value also comes from fitting the exact needs of the client; the value doesn't however, come from waiting for it to arrive.

So, what can I control with CV Partner Proposals?

We've developed tools to easily adapt or edit a CV whenever you choose, without disrupting your normal bidding workflows. In creating a unique proposal, there are two components to consider:

  1. Formatting (the visual layout/look of the proposal)
  2. Data-handling (manipulating the data in your system to include desired elements into a specific proposal)

These two things should be straightforward for the proposal team to adapt, as they  juggle multiple RFPs or RFIs at the same time. Otherwise their efficiency and value to the proposal workflow will significantly decrease.

What exactly can I change?

I) Formatting

Our tool comes with great out-of-the-box templates built on top of MS Word, so you have enormous flexibility to alter formatting elements:

  1. Import your company branding - logos, fonts etc.
  2. Add photos or images
  3. Simple to include tables, graphs etc.
  4. Drag and drop sections to reorder text within the proposal
  5. Save the formats that works for you - consistent visual elements are simple to achieve through the organisation. Save a template to be reused for the next proposal. When you reuse a template, you can still tweak it for the next proposal. Keep multiple templates for different types of proposals and clients 

II) Data-handling

Once you've found relevant Master CVs or reference projects to include, adding the right data is simple:

  1. Copy a snapshot of the updated Master CV or Reference Project into the proposal
  2. Edit or add to text on the copied CV or reference project
  3. Re-order text and section blocks with drag and drop
  4. Exclude unwanted sections or blocks by turning the element ‘off’ in the proposal
  5. This creates a custom CV within the proposal, with the integrity of the Master CV left intact, so there's no chance of erasing or losing master data
  6. Found you love a section you've just edited in the proposal? Want to include it in the Master CV? Push it back as a new section with one click. The Master CV data stays intact, but with the new additional section

Highlighting the important bits

Maybe you've found the perfect Master CV. Except the prospective client uses different terminology for the same skills. Solve it by simply copying the Master CV, then renaming the skills categories in the proposal to correctly align with the client’s language.

Or suppose you wish to include skills from the same Master CV, but some are more relevant. You decide you want to make them more prominent in the finished proposal. Just select all the skills to include (exclude skill fields by turning them ‘off’), but mark the featured skills with a star using the highlighter function. The starred items are automatically featured on your proposal’s front page, so the client sees them earlier than the other skills.

The highlighting function is really versatile and can be used to highlight sections, skills or relevant projects. You decide what's important in your proposals. We've designed our editing and formatting to serve your company's unique requirements, because we believe regular isn't enough for our clients.

The CV Partner standard is bespoke. Show clients you are exactly the right fit for the project with tailored proposals.