Storyboarding for better tenders and proposal writing

Posted by Oliver Hogue on 01/07/2018

Storyboarding for proposals and bids is an idea taken from film production, where complex shots and camera angles are worked out in advance in a series of cartoon-like drawings.

One reason for this is cost – you don’t have paid crew waiting around while the director decides where to put the camera next.

The second is that in a complex task like filmmaking, it helps to have a touchstone to which everyone can refer – a logical line of development, pre-panned and agreed upon.

Storyboards for tender submissions provide the same comfort to the bid writing team. They are a blueprint for what the company is going to offer and establish features, benefits and strategies for winning. Storyboards keep all those involved in the proposal writing on the same page.

Storyboard as collaboration tool

Storyboard sessions begin as a group brainstorming exercise. The proposal team defines the key content to capture in the storyboard and provides guidance on expectations, supporting themes and key messages.

Naturally, the storyboard must adhere to the demands of the request for tender. This forms the backbone of the storyboard, a logical flow of information leading your assessors to the conclusion you want them to reach. At any point in the bid planning, members of the bid team should be able to access the storyboard.

Defining the tender submission 

Once the structure of the storyboard is defined, the technical author, key contributors and bid writer complete the storyboard, which usually includes:

  • Identifying the client's most important needs or concerns
  • Developing the approach to resolving the concerns; i.e. presenting the tender solution
  • Listing the features and key benefits of the solution
  • Explaining the solution risks and how they can be mitigated
  • Identifying your relevant past performance to support the claims made.

A solution used successfully before can be refined and put forward for the new projects. For each heading, there are possibilities for including statistics, charts and imagery from previous completed projects.

Keeping you on track

The storyboarding process is essentially a way to mark out the themes that will go into your bid. By writing down the approach the bid will take, new ideas will emerge. Ideas that seemed crucial may turn out to be irrelevant once written down and scrutinised in the storyboard.

Storyboarding is a data collection exercise too. Experts from within the company can be called on to contribute to the storyboard and comment on it.

The storyboard should be completed and sent round for review before the bid writing begins and used to guide and test the development of documents during the drafting process.

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