Government procurement is complicated and drawn out. It almost always involves a formal tender or request for proposal. Often overlooked, the executive summary is a key selling document. It may be the only part of your response that reaches the decision-makers.
The executive summary is not an introduction that can be hastily prepared just before the tender closes. It is a concise summary of your response, and an opportunity for you to emphasise those elements of your response that the decision-makers must understand, including your value proposition.
Tips for preparing an executive summary
1. Know your audience
The audience for your executive summary may include a wide range of people from members of the evaluation team and the business area manager to the Minister in the case of major deals. You must understand the audience for your proposal, how it may change over time, and the "pet" likes and dislikes of government evaluators.
2. Understand that the executive summary is your key selling document
Your purpose in preparing the executive summary is to compel the client to select you, by directly addressing the tender requirements, constantly addressing the issue of “value for money”, and above all, tying your strengths to the client’s hottest issues. Remember the concept of "value" in government is often quite different from that in the commercial sector.
3. What should you include and what is best left out?
Generally, an executive summary should be written for non-technical decision-makers as they are involved, particularly in the early stages of the procurement cycle. It is best not to mention your competitors, but identify the major points of difference between you and the competition relative to the client’s requirements.