Lesson 11: Who Should be Involved in an RFP Response?

Deciding who in your organization should be involved in an RFP response can be tricky.

Consider who will be leading the charge. A proposal manager? The managing principal or sales manager? A proposal professional can wear many hats, but it is best to have distinct roles for each team member on more extensive efforts.

It is important to note that while there are standard practices and terms, each proposal effort and each proposal team may differ. Project roles, responsibilities, and cadence will depend on the company, the size of the bid, the resources available, and who is in charge of the project.

Managing, Coordinating, and Writing the Proposal.

On the bid front, a team of proposal professionals will lead the charge. This team may include:

Proposal Manager:

Proposal managers create and lead the proposal project strategy. They are in charge of scheduling and coordinating meetings, creating and maintaining the project plan, and assigning project roles and responsibilities.

(To learn more about what the proposal manager does, check out RFPs 101 Lesson 9: RFP Response Project Management.)

Proposal Writers:

Proposal writers create and edit content. They may interview SMEs to learn about the bid effort, customize pre-existing content, and design templates.

Additionally, proposal writers may create and maintain content libraries.

Proposal Coordinators:

The proposal coordinator is usually in an administrative position dealing with security, documentation, internal flow, and delivers the proposal to the production team.

Subject Matter Experts (SMEs):

SMEs are precisely what they sound like: experts on whatever subject you need expertise on. SMEs will be the proposal’s go-to resource when crafting a technical solution.

In some cases, the internal proposal team may be the leading SMEs, while in other cases, the proposal team may need to reach out to experts on different teams and ask them to contribute to the proposal effort.

Executive Sponsor:

The executive sponsor is the team member who signs off on the go/no-go bid decision. The proposal cover letter may also be from and signed by the executive sponsor.

During the final review (often called the “Business Case Review,”) the executive sponsor will be the one to sign off on the solution, the pricing, the legal requirements, and ultimately decide when the proposal is ready for the team to submit.


Editors work closely with writers to examine content for clarity and concision and check for grammar, punctuation, usage, and spelling errors.

Editors will also check the document for formatting consistency.

A document may go through several rounds of writing and editing before the team submits.

Capture Managers:

The capture manager (also know as a pursuit manager, opportunity manager, sales manager, or bid manager) helps identify the opportunity, make the bid/no-bid decision, create proposal strategies, and support the team throughout the effort.

If you are a contracted proposal writer consulting for a client, determine who your primary contact points are:

  • Who is your primary contact? The proposal manager? The executive sponsor?
  • Who are the subject matter experts (SMEs) you need to meet to gather the necessary information?

Additional Team Members.

Consider who will be necessary to win the business. Sometimes RFPs will require specific project team roles. In this case, you need to decide who on your team will be the best fit for each role. Other times the project roles will be entirely based on your solution and require you and your team to develop crucial roles and subsequent team members to fulfill them.

When choosing team members, consider not only each person’s abilities but their availability as well. Will this team member be able to devote enough time to the project when your company wins the business? Do they have other ongoing or future projects that may jeopardize their commitment?

If you do not have the workforce available within your company, you may need to find a partner or a subcontractor to accomplish each project specification. Or do you need to consult a proposal writer or editor outside of your immediate team?

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

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