What’s Your Winning Hue? How to Unlock the Power of Proposal Color Team Reviews

Jane Flanagan
Jane Flanagan

While nobody likes the feeling of “too many cooks in the kitchen,” having more sets of eyes on a proposal can actually make it better…especially with all of those eyes on the prize. 🤩

In fact, the average proposal team has a whopping 8 members who help craft a single RFP response. So, how does a group of this size bring their winning ideas together?

Many teams use a color system for reviews.

While it’s more widely adopted in the public sector, this system can help any team submit higher-quality proposals through different rounds of color reviews.

So, will you be on the pink team or the gold team?

Find out by learning how to unlock the power of proposal color team reviews:

Improve Proposal Quality With Standard Color Team Reviews

In this review system, each color (like the red team) takes a turn in scrutinizing a proposal during the proposal development process. The purpose is to look through a different lens each time, ensuring the proposal meets customer expectations and RFP requirements.

Here’s a sneak peek at how a proposal gets passed from one review team to the next.

Team Colour Primary Objective
💙 Blue review Focuses on the win strategy and outline of the proposal
🩷 Pink review Creates a compelling narrative by completing a first draft
❤️ Red review Examines the proposal for clarity and compliance
💚 Green review Assesses the solution’s cost and financial feasibility
💛 Gold review Provides a high-level review and stamp of approval
🤍 White review Serves as the final quality check before submission

💙 Blue Team Review

The blue team lays the foundation for a winning proposal. After conducting a go/no-go decision, their primary focus is to put forth a response strategy. At this review stage, they will assess the RFP, develop high level win themes, outline proposal sections, and assign writers and subject matter experts (SMEs).

The success of a blue team review hinges on the involvement of individuals acquainted with the customer, proposed solution, and competitive landscape. This team might include a sales or proposal manager, capture manager, key subcontractors, and even outside consultants or experts.

🩷 Pink Team Review

Following the blue team review, the pink team steps in to weave a compelling narrative. Their goal is to give life to the outline with a first pass, even if it’s a bit messy at first. Working with SMEs, this team comprises proposal writers who ensure the information is both accurate and engaging.

After this stage, the proposal should be roughly 65-70% complete, with almost all details filled in. Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors are of no concern yet. Remember, the aim of the pink team is to get the story right by zeroing in on the content exclusively.

❤️ Red Team Review

As the proposal nears completion, the red team comes in with fresh eyes. Whereas the pink team focused on creating compelling content, the red team reviews the proposal for clarity and viability. Their top priority is to check for compliance and identify any gaps in the message.

In other words, the primary purpose of red team reviews is to assess the proposal’s red-iness and coherence from the viewpoint of evaluators. By predicting how the proposal will be scored by the customer, the red team provides valuable recommendations prior to proposal submission.

💚 Green Team Review

The green team conducts the pricing review. During this stage, the green team breaks down the cost of the proposed solution, strictly adhering to the pricing format stipulated by the RFP.

At the same time, the green team works with technical SMEs (like I.T. officers) to determine a viable price point. Their goal is to avoid presenting a low quote which the company cannot feasibly execute.

💛 Gold Team Review

The gold team review is a paramount phase in the proposal process as it ensures the right people have given their final stamp of approval. Also known as the executive review, the gold team consists of senior executives or managers who are ultimately responsible for the business winning this RFP.

Staying in the loop throughout the entire RFP process, the gold team examines the proposal’s high level win themes, discriminators, and pricing one last time before submission.

🤍 White Team Review

The final draft is finally ready for proposal editors. Also known as the white glove review, the white team reads the proposal with a fine tooth comb, checking for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and other inconsistencies in pre-submission quality. By the time they’re finished, the proposal should be flawless.

The Pros and Cons of Color Team Proposal Reviews

Like any process, the team color review process comes with pros and cons. Understanding these can help you leverage the advantages and effectively address the challenges it presents.

🙌 Pro: It Provides a Comprehensive Review

A color-coded review gives a proposal team the chance to look at the proposal from different angles, helping to identify (and address) any gaps or weaknesses that might’ve been missed by one person.

⚠️ Con: The Process Can Be Time Consuming

Even if you play hot potato with a proposal, this process can be long-drawn out. Each team needs time to prepare, review, and provide feedback–which is tough to coordinate with already-busy schedules.

🙌 Pro: It Improves Your Proposal Quality, Ten-Fold

Research shows, the more brain power, the better. In fact, top performers are more likely to pull in experts from different fields. This can significantly improve the quality of a proposal because each team contributes different, yet valuable insights.

⚠️ Con: The Process Requires a Big Team Effort

This review process demands a diverse roster of experts, and a smaller organization might not have the bid team structure. Even with the numbers, it requires strong team communication and coordination.

🙌 Pro: It Can Lead to Higher Win Rates

A well-executed color team review process can significantly increase win rates. A detailed and thorough review helps create a strong, competitive proposal that stands out from the competition.

⚠️ Con: There is Potential For Review Overlap

Without clear guidelines and communication, there can be overlap between the different color teams. This can lead to confusion and inefficiencies in the review process if left unchecked.

4 Best Practices for Successful Color Team Reviews

While the cons listed above may give you pause, there are steps you can take to ensure your color team reviews are effective, efficient, and deliver a winning proposal.

  • 1. Keep the Lines of Communication Open

    Successful color team reviews hinge on clear communication. Host a kickoff meeting to go over the objective of each team’s proposal reviews, provide clear instructions, and agree on a realistic timeline. This will help build alignment from color to color—and prevent review overlap.

  • 2. Provide Helpful Resources to Complete Reviews

    Beyond clear communication, it’s a good idea to provide resources that will help each team independently verify a proposal for compliance, customer requirements, and win strategies. These tools can include an RFP process checklist, a bid proposal template, and review guidelines.

  • 3. Adopt the Evaluator’s Perspective for the Proposal

    Adopting the evaluator’s point of view will help your proposal team objectively identify areas for improvement. Use a review checklist to ensure all teams know which RFP requirements and compliance items the proposal must meet. That way, they won’t have to worry about missing crucial details.

  • 4. Review the Proposal in One Central Place

    When no one knows where the latest version is living, a proposal can quickly become inaccurate as it passes from one color team to the next. Instead of having multiple drafts saved in different locations, use a collaboration tool (like proposal management software) to review the proposal in one place.

Is Your Proposal a Winner? Every Color Approves 🌈

Implementing color team reviews in your proposal process can be a game-changer. By understanding the purpose of each color review, building strong teams, and following best practices, you’ll be on your way to create winning proposals that stand out from the competition.