How Business Proposals Are (Really) Evaluated

If you’re new to proposal writing, either for Sales, Grants, or Government procurement, you’re chance of having your bid accepted increases when you understand how proposals are evaluated.

Business Needs Statement Checklist

How Business Proposals are Assessed

For most large-scale Request For Proposals, the proposal evaluators will create an Evaluation Grid against which they score proposals bid. Most government Request For Proposals provide an evaluation grid in the Appendix.

If the Evaluation Grid is not included with the RFP, you can assume that is will be based on the tender submission format. It is for this reason that you need to prepare your response exactly as per the submission format.

An evaluation grid is a matrix with the key criteria on one side and the weighted scores on the other.




Understanding of Requirements



Technical Capability



Proposed Solution



Project Management



Fixed Price Cost



Other Factors etc





Sample Evaluation Grid

How RFP Requirements Are Scored

The evaluation team generally allocate the weight according to each respective criterion, e.g. the fixed-price costs.

However, in European Union contracts, the RFP may stipulate that most economically advantageous tender (M.E.A.T) will win the contract.

Conversely, they can also state that they are NOT bound to accept the lowest bid.

Nonetheless, you need to get the cost right. Pre-sales and business development functions should assist you in ‘guess/estimating’ where to pitch your bid.

When bidding, this should be the very first activity to undertake. Do not leave costing to the end!

Write Your Proposal To Get Higher Scores

Evaluators use different formulas to determine financial criteria, such as Value-For-Money, hidden costs and change control.

For this reason, you need to outline your costs very clearly.

Any attempt to disguise costs, e.g. bury them inside the terms and conditions, will raise suspicions and erode any trust between the bidder and the evaluators.


These points must be examined in depth to ensure your grant application or business proposal is heading in the right direction. For new proposal writers, it can be very difficult to see your bids rejected, when you know that the price is good value for money and the team is qualified.

In the next article, I will show you how to address this and position your Proposal in the eyes of the funding agency.

About the Author: Ivan Walsh provides business proposal writing tips, tutorials, and templates on the Proposal Writing Course every week. Get his free proposal writing newsletter here.