• Deb Yeagle

Let your strengths shine as Win Themes - the #10 Proposal Development Lesson Learned


(10) Provide compelling reasons as to why the Government should award the contract to your company (win themes).


Win themes provide clear reasons why the Government should select your firm for contract award. While writing to the evaluators to ensure your proposal receives the highest score possible, as we learned in lesson #9, your strengths should be enumerated early and often. A proposal that contains multiple strengths, expressed as win themes to demonstrate your unique features and how they benefit the Government, will help you achieve a Blue / Outstanding rating.


To articulate win themes, answer the following questions:

- What discriminating features would benefit the customer / program in terms of solutions to customer challenges, key personnel, experience, team members, capabilities, innovation, pricing, and whatever else is important to the customer?

- What do we offer that is better than what everyone else offers?

- What sets our team apart from the other bidders?

- Why should the customer select us?


Use the following Features and Benefits Checklist to help identify win themes:

Feature: Tangible aspects of your offer

Benefit: Resolves a customer issue

Discriminator: Unique feature that supports a benefit

Differentiator: Discriminators that are important to the customer



“Why We’re Better” Checklist:

  • What does the customer want that they aren’t getting now?

  • Make sure these are things that you can deliver!

  • Make sure these are things that matter to the customer!

  • Faster

  • Cheaper

  • Better

  • More responsive

Capabilities / Strengths translate directly to Features, e.g.:

- Accreditations and Certifications

- Resources, Assets, People

- Expertise and Knowledge

- Unique processes, systems, technologies

- Product Development

- Core Competencies

- Quality of Products / Services


After coming up with multiple, unique strengths or win themes, plan on highlighting them throughout your proposal in the form of feature / benefit tables, bolded text, call out boxes, or some other eye-catching method that is compliant with the RFP’s proposal format instructions. Don’t force evaluators to search for strengths as they score your proposal – they won’t look for them! The compelling reasons why the Government should award the contract to your firm should be stated up front and woven throughout the proposal, then emphasized again in the conclusion. Include win themes in your proposal and PLAN TO WIN!

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Copyright 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 by Plan To Win, Inc. 

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