Compliant Proposals

What is compliancy in a proposal?

Preparing your response to a request for a proposal can require a significant investment of your time and focus. After all of that hard work, it would be crushing to learn your proposal was kicked out of the running for a simple mistake that could have been avoided. Safeguard your investment by ensuring your proposal is not one of the 50% of proposals trashed because they are not compliant.

Compliance is ensuring you adhered to the bid request, both the submittal instructions and requirements. It means you have paid attention to the font type and size, margins, and layout requests. It shows you have answered all questions, completed all forms, and submitted your response correctly. It shows agencies and corporations that you can follow instructions and pay attention.

Review the bid and follow the proposal instructions carefully

Take time to do some research and find any data or graphics that can help support your proposal and showcase that your solution has sound reasoning behind it. Approaching your proposal with supporting documentation will help drive a strong content narrative.

Grab a highlighter, a pen (preferably not black, so it will not blend in with the text on the bid), and post-it notes/flags. This is an active exercise. Highlight requirements, circle, underline, and number each requirement, and mark who will be responsible for the requirements. Utilize Post-it notes/flags and flag the pages for easy future reference. 

As you go through the bid, indicate specific requests such as page limitations (overall limits as well as section limitations),  proposal submission order, due dates and times, submission for questions, and submission of the complete proposal.

Develop a compliance matrix

A compliance matrix will keep you honest throughout the proposal process. This is the hub of all compliance and also your proposal outline. These matrices can be created in Word and Excel. See our sample compliance matrix below!

Bid Section #Our Section #Proposal
ResponsibleRequirement(s)Page LimitDue DateAdditional Comments
 Executive SummaryExecutive
Julie 29/28 
4.11.0PricingRogerProvide all costs associated with project completion. (development, implementation, travel, meetings, project management)39/3Utilize IRS rates for mileage and use four star hotel estimates for lodging. 
AprilInclude 3 references, including name, phone, email, company, and similar scope of work59/1Pull from the last proposal we submitted
KeithIdentify technical specifications necessary to complete work within desired timeframe. 109/1 
4.44.0Management PlanLynseyDescribe your management structure, processes, reporting requirements, contingency plan15  
StephanieInclude ownership structure, organization chart, years in business, financial solvency. 3 Utilize our boil plate information on the server

Utilize your outline

When you begin to develop content for your proposal, outline your document with the section and sub-section headings that you have developed in your compliance matrix. Under each section or sub-section heading, place the RFP language and any supporting research documents linked beneath it so as you are developing content, you know exactly what you need to be writing to.

You can also utilize your outline with RFP language for when you evaluate your response. Once you have completed your content, you can cross check it for RFP compliancy.

A winning proposal requires an organized approach that results in detailed responses to all the topics requested in the RFP in the proper order and format. When you establish a standard process for analyzing and dissecting your RFPs, and utilizing a compliance checklist to adhere to throughout each stage of your response, you will be prepared to develop your compelling and compliant proposal.

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