What Does a Proposal Manager Do?

Kenneth W. Michael Wills
Kenneth W. Michael Wills
Effective supervision is central to a proposal manager's job.
Effective supervision is central to a proposal manager's job.

Typically a proposal manager will have the responsibility to manage all of an organization’s proposals. This involves coordinating the proposal process, preparing the actual proposals, and presenting proposals to potential customers. The proposal manager will spend a considerable amount of time reviewing requests for proposal (RFPs), confirming requirements with potential customers, and afterward beginning the proposal process. Usually working on a deadline, he or she will be responsible for delegating all tasks required to complete a proposal, while overseeing the writing, editing, illustration and all other production efforts associated with the proposal. Additionally, he or she will develop a proposal schedule, identify the most urgent tasks, and assign proposal priorities according to internally developed procedures.

Once a proposal manager receives a RFP, he or she will read the entire document, focusing on understanding the client’s specifications and expectations as well as the relevant deadlines and budget. During the review process, the proposal manager will often take notes and jot down questions that he or she will clarify with the customer before beginning. From there, he or she will draw up a proposal plan, outline each stage of the proposal as well as its requirements, and outline a schedule through the proposal's deadline. Delegating tasks is part of the planning process in which the manager will enlist organizational and subcontracted resources as well as expertise to contribute the proposal.

Effective supervision is central to a proposal manager’s job, once the proposal is underway. Guiding all team members on the proposal team, he or she will disseminate required information and oversee the production of all proposal pages, including both aesthetics and written content. Conducting periodic reviews of progress, he or she will make sure the proposal is in accordance with the client’s request. Upon completion of the first draft, the proposal manager will review the draft for accuracy and consistency as well as to ensure that the proposal aligns with the client’s requests. Thereafter, he or she will return the document to the proposal team for any and all revisions before forwarding to the potential client.

Serving as the organization’s representative for proposals, the proposal manager will also make regular site visits to interact with customers, in addition to attending bidder conferences. Upon approval from a client regarding a submitted proposal, he or she will also participate in finalizing and implementing the contract. Often, this will include negotiating on final agreements as well as briefing his or her organization at start-up on the work proposed. Conducting staff meetings in the event a proposal fails is also critical to the job.

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    • Effective supervision is central to a proposal manager's job.
      Effective supervision is central to a proposal manager's job.