Norman Professional Communications, Inc.
How long have you been a proposal manager/specialist/ writer?
How did you become involved with proposals?
At BellSouth, I was a contracting manager and didn’t know there were people like us. I thought the sales team prepared the proposals. After I left BellSouth, I attended Southern Polytechnic University to get my masters in Technical Communications, and Chuck Keller sent the Dean a flyer for SPAC, with a student discount. I attended my first conference in 2003, and I found my Professional Soul Mate – the APMP Georgia Chattahoochee Chapter.
Do you work in a "corporate office" or "home office" environment?
I am an independent consultant and work both from home and at client's site.
What do you like best about working in your current environment?
I love the flexibility and control of working from home. I don't hae to fight traffic to manage a proposal, and I can totally focus on the proposal, without interruptions.
What do you like least about working in your current environment?
I dislike the fact that I will work very long hours without realizing the time.
What do you feel is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Helping SMEs and other proposal writers understand how to write for the customer and not for themselves (their company). It’s hard for SMEs to understand that they should address the requirements the way the customer wrote them, and save what we think the customer should know, until the end (appendices) or not at all.
What shortcuts or helpful best practices about working with proposal teams could you share?
1. Very early, learn what each member does best. Don’t assume since people have the title/role that this is what they do best. Let them do what they do best. 2. Identify gaps in expertise early, so you can fill them and know your team’s strengths and weaknesses. 3. Review the requirements with the SMEs/writers; make sure the writers understand what they need to write before they start writing (storyboards or draft writings); receive and edit a draft as quickly as possible 4. Have frequent/regular status calls to identify how your writers are doing. 5. Let the writers know what they are going through and provide support, samples, and ideas to trigger their creative juices.
Why/when did you join APMP?
Because I liked the people. I was new and they made me feel welcomed and part of the team. Keith, Bill, Judy, Doris, and Jim. Thank you guys!
What is your method for successfully working with your proposal teams?
Early, regular, and frequent communication
Which type of proposals do you do most? Commercial, government or other?