Highlighting Your Past Performance

After your name, your past performance write-ups are probably your most valuable marketing materials.

What is past performance:

Past performance is just a write up of a project that you have done in the past that gives enough detail for someone to feel comfortable that you really know what you are talking about

We HIGHLY recommend that you use these extensively in your marketing materials (web-page, capability statements, etc)

What can qualify for past performance:

When you respond to an RFP there are clear guidelines about what qualifies as past performance but if you’ve been working for a while I recommend choosing

-Projects at agencies you think you will be targetting

-Projects related to your core service lines

Why do they matter so much?

1) Builds confidence among primes that are looking at us:

Small businesses have a bad habit of listing tons of NAICS codes in their capability statements and webpages, and writing two sentence descriptions of their experience in each that leave people wondering whether the company really has experience with that work or if they just listed it because it was “hot.”

By writing out mini-case studies of the work we’ve done we give any reader a LOT of confidence that we really can do the work.

2) It helps us differentiate:

I can’t tell you how many people say they do help desk services, or cloud implementation, and they think that by being broad they are giving themselves more options to get onto bid teams, but really the opposite is true. If there are 100 companies that all say they do help desk then each of their chances of being selected are 1%, not great. Instead, if you write out a past performance you will end up sharing the kind of information that will actually differentiate you from the pack.

1) Share your client (differentiator)

2) Share the systems you used (differentiator)

3) Share how you approached the project (differentiator)

4) Share the size of the project (differentiator)

5) Share what your outcomes where (BIG differentiator)

3) It is what the government wants to know about on RFPs:

Most government RFPs are going to ask you for write-ups of your past performance, so you have to write them up anyway so let’s get it out of the way and make them a core part of your marketing.

Where we are going to use them?

You are going to use past performance in three principle places and you will need to give a different amount of detail in each

1) Your Capability statement (two lines on a written page)

2) You website: the full version (A quarter of a written page)

3) Proposals (these may be a half page)


  • Barbaricum (Look at their “Services” tabs for the high level and “Results” for the more detailed discussion)
  • Booz Allen Hamilton (Look at their “Featured Insights” for the high level and the “Insights” section for the detail)
  • Enlightened IT   (Look at the “Featured Case Studies” on the left for the detailed view)
  • Eminent IT   (Good examples of teasers)