Proposal Review Guide


How To Review A Proposal

Proposals are the responses that commercial contractors offer to either federal government or commercial business requests for a business that needs to be met. These formal solicitations are published in Requests for Proposals (RFPs). The proposals need to be reviewed by proposal reviewers before final submission. The most important thing that the reviewer looks for is the full compliance of the company proposal to meet the need published by the contracting enterprise. Only by full compliance can a proposal be a winning proposal. A no-compliance in the proposal can mean being thrown out of consideration by the requesting organization. Some steps can be taken to properly review a proposal to ensure full compliance and assess the probabilities of win (Pwin) for bidding.

Proposal Review Steps

· Read the entire Proposal The entire proposal, including all the clauses, terms, conditions, should be read and understood. Bid protests from competing contractors can be made against the failure to address each item stated.

· Understand the Customer After reading the RFP to understand the requirements, take time to understand the requesting agency to gain any insight about them and the project. Take time to review any information provided by the proposal team about the procurement.

· Review the Draft Review the Proposal draft to assess the responses laid out. See where further logical segments can be made.

· Skim Before Reviewing Make a general skim over the entire proposal draft. Take notice of any misplaced answers to requirements instead of backtracking. Then review the proposal draft thoroughly making any changes necessary.

· Stick to the RFP Not only attractive pricing but compliance with every item is most important for contract capture. This includes the evaluation criteria. Continually reference the RFP to keep in mind all the qualities requested by the agency.

Things to Look for in Reviews

· RFP Compliance Vigilance Always evaluate how compliant is the proposal draft against the requirements.

· Adequate Capabilities Does the proposal draft reflect the capabilities, tools, and personnel needed to accomplish the request?

· A Persuasive Response Does the proposal draft provide compelling reasons to select this bid over competitors. Are the concerns fully addressed?

· Note Inconsistencies Are there inadequate responses to items of concern? Is there consistency in the proposal?

· Cultivate Improvements Make notes where additional information could strengthen the proposal draft.

· Give Helpful Comments Instead of merely noting an insufficient segment, make comments that guide how to respond to a requirement.

· Practice Evaluation With an established scale, such as a color scale, provide an assessment of each requirement.

· Summary Summarize the strengths and weaknesses of the proposal.

Deliverables There should be three deliverables:

· The summary of the strengths and weaknesses of the proposal

· The proposal’s rating against criteria

· An annotated copy of the proposal

Mistakes To Avoid During Proposal Review

· Don’t just read the important sections of C, L, and M. Read the entire RFP.

· Don’t fail to skim or scan the entire proposal, getting a sense of the layout, before tackling separate items. Concerns may have been addressed already but in the wrong location.

· Don’t fail to gain an understanding of how the criteria will be evaluated by the customer. Be sure to address the qualities asked for in all sections of the response.

· When commenting on insufficient responses from the proposal team, don’t just say so but show how they can be responded to.

Proposal Review Tools

The Proposal And Contract Suite, developed by Scion Analytics, has several applications to help with proposal development:

Compliance Matrix

Quickly generates a starter Compliance Matrix using an Excel Shipley Associates template. Shred a federal government RFP using the Legal parser and keyword group “Required” to help identify requirements.

Analysis Results

Go to the Analysis Results panel to collaborate with your team. Split, combine, annotate notes, and edit individual sections. Export multiple reports, and quickly search the RFP for specific keywords.

Sentence Level

Granularly shred an RFP into individual sentences.

Select Keywords

Generate a compliance matrix and select the keyword group that matters most to you.


Go to cross-reference matrices in the Matrix Builder.

Bid/ No Bid Assessment

The Bid/No Bid Assessment (BNBA) provides a decisive assessment of the individual requirements for bidding on a contract.


The important work of thorough proposal review is a major factor in submitting a bid with a high probability of win (Pwin). A best practice is to use AI-empowered software tools, like the CAP, to analyze and restructure all the data content quickly and thoroughly. These tools can be a catalyst for an efficient proposal review procedure.

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