Published in  
Proposal Development
April 20, 2021

Your Proposal Needs to Be Cohesive

While it may be tempting to overlook the voice and cohesion of your proposal, purchasers can tell when a bid sounds patchy and unprofessional.

Like a jigsaw puzzle, a well done proposal requires all of the necessary ‘pieces’ in order to create a completed end product. If the pieces are different shapes and sizes and lack uniformity, the puzzle will never be done. Likewise, if a proposal is patchy with different sections clearly written by different people, the entire proposal can feel awkward and unprofessional. Having a seamless and cohesive proposal can improve the overall flow, ensure professionalism, and demonstrate to purchasers demonstrated expertise.

Cohesive Writing Creates Flow

Nothing can disrupt the flow of ideas within a proposal than sections that lack common ideas, voice and cadence. One of the common issues that arise within the proposal development process is having multiple contributors on one RFP, without the internal communication to establish a flow within the document. While this communication is easier achieved with an internal team, achieving a cohesive flow with teams of different expertise, different writing styles, and different perceptions can be very difficult. A proposal without flow can be much harder to understand. Prioritizing flow and understanding how to create a cohesion across multiple paragraphs and sections can lead to a better proposal. Cohesive writing within proposals will always answer the question ‘why’ as efficiently as possible.

For example:

  • Connecting ideas into understandable segments. For example, in one paragraph focus on each topic you need to hit: price, services, references, etc.
  • Utilization of transitional phrases that create cohesion
  • References of earlier pieces of the proposal when relevant

Exemplifies Professionalism

Cohesion shows much more professionalism than a sloppy and patchy proposal. One of the skills that purchasing entities are looking for is basic abilities to follow directions and create a polished document. Professionalism is valued high for purchasing entities, and the quality of a proposal can be a direct reflection of the ability to complete the project. When each section has a different voice, tone, and level of formality, it is often an indicator that sufficient time was not given to the proposal- even if this is not the case.

Differentiation From Others

A key component of writing a successful proposal is differentiation from the countless others who have similar qualifications. Creating a document that is both visually appealing and has a clear stream of ideas that don’t contradict each other is one of the fundamental elements for a successful proposal. Many proposal writers attempt to have different teams, subject matter experts, financial pros, and etc. each write one portion of the proposal. As we have seen again and again though, is that the end product lacks cohesiveness and sounds thrown together. By working toward cohesive and uniform proposals, there is a strong sense of demonstrated differentiation and attention to vital details.

Every Detail Matters

When it comes to proposals, every small detail contributes to the overall quality of the bid. If you are looking to improve the cohesiveness of your bids and start winning big, reach out to us at!

Key Takeaways:

  1. Cohesive writing results in a better sales package.
  2. Your proposal’s “voice” is important, and purchasers can pick up on disjointed areas where the voice is chaotic.
  3. Not being attentive to cohesiveness will result in a less-than-favorable evaluation.
  4. Bids are like jigsaw puzzles; each piece has to fit in with the others in order to be completed

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