Winning the Business

APMP Certification: What’s in It for Me?

The many benefits of APMP membership for a proposal team

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When I was hired three years ago as the director of proposal services at my firm, my mission was to develop a Proposal Center of Excellence. The benefits offered by APMP—conferences, webinars, online forums, newsletters, and website—have driven my success.

More importantly, I instantly became an agent of change because of APMP’s credibility and the power of its certification program, which has allowed me to:

  • Increase existing and starting salaries for our proposal professionals by more than 30 percent.
  • Shift the perception of the team from an administrative function to a strategic sales partner.
  • Get our company to pay for APMP memberships and certifications.
  • Boost the reputation of my team, earning us multiple team and individual awards.

My team continually shares industry articles and lessons learned internally that back up all the messaging that my team brings to our sales organization.

Certified and Credible

As part of my interview, I remember doing what I do best: I wrote a proposal to outline my plan. Everything I outlined was cross-referenced to the APMP Body of Knowledge and other industry references. My APMP-certified status gave me credibility with my managers that I wouldn’t have been able to instill so quickly on my own.

My team continually shares industry articles and lessons learned internally that back up all the messaging that my team brings to our sales organization.

Show Me the Money

The salaries of the proposal team I inherited were too low, based on APMP’s annual Compensation Report. Prior to my arrival, the proposal team was considered to have an administrative function. We needed to shift this perception by:

  • Rewriting our job descriptions to include the full business development life cycle, from capture management through the oral presentation stage.
  • Educating internal leaders on the existence and reputation of APMP as an organization.
  • Demonstrating the rigor involved in obtaining certifications.
  • Presenting the APMP Compensation Report with graphs illustrating the delta between current and market salaries.

Armed with this data and the reputation of APMP and its certification program, we were able to shift to a higher starting salary. We’ve been able to increase the salaries of the existing team members and the starting salary for new hires by more than 30 percent compared to when I started three years ago.

The free [APMP] webinars we attend every month more than make up for the cost of the membership and certification.

Good Enough Is Never Enough

One way I’ve convinced our company to pay for APMP memberships and certifications is based on the ROI to the firm. The free webinars we attend every month more than make up for the cost of the membership and certification. When we learn something new from a free-with-membership webinar, we implement the lessons learned where it makes sense and share them internally—enhancing our team processes, improving our templates, etc. Our continual advancement, backed by our credential letters, gives our team a larger voice and increased confidence from our partners. It has also boosted morale across the team, as members have taken personal pride in their professional accomplishments.

One of the greatest accomplishments we’ve had over the past few years is the increased reputation of our team of rock stars. Several of our proposal professionals have won at least one Employee of the Quarter award. Last year, our firm initiated an annual rewards trip for non-sales employees. Someone from our team was one of the first winners of a Bahamas cruise. And our team was just recognized us as one of the top non-sales teams contributing to the firm’s overall success.

APMP certification is just the beginning. I look forward to seeing what upcoming benefits it brings my team.


Jennifer Siler is director of proposal services at Tampa, Florida-based Kforce, a staffing services and solutions firm. She can be reached at jsiler@kforce.com.

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