Compliance and Responsiveness

Compliance and responsiveness are two equally crucial qualities for winning a proposal. Compliance refers to the act of meeting the requirements stated by the customer. In order to be compliant, a proposal needs to meet the submittal instructions, answer the customer’s queries and address specifications to the letter. Some examples of compliance include, remaining within the page limits, adhering to formatting guidelines, such as font size, style, and margin size etc.

            Responsiveness is manifested in addressing the goals, concerns, issues and values of the customer. It is a quality that helps the customer achieve their business goals along with their projects or procurement goals. Examples of responsiveness include understanding your customer’s stated and implied needs, addressing them in your response, describing the benefits your customer will gain from your solution, etc. It is possible to be compliant without being responsive and vice versa. However, a successful proposal is both compliant and responsive. Compliance prevents your proposal from being eliminated, whereas responsiveness edges out the competition.

Best Practices

  • Begin to cultivate responsiveness long before RFP release.
  • Thoroughly review and clearly understand the customer’s bid request.
  • Prepare a comprehensive compliance matrix for every bid request.

Two important tools that can be used to ensure compliance are:

  • Compliance Matrix
  • Executive Summary

A compliance matrix is a list of customer requirements where complex, multi-part requirements are split into sub-requirements. It is used by proposal managers and internal reviewers to verify that the proposal meets all the requirements.

            An executive summary is a brief abstract of the main points of the offer aimed at the senior-level decision-makers in the customer’s organization. It provides an overview of the offer and highlights the key selling points for customer decision-makers. It articulates the customer’s vision and presents win themes and strategies.

It is advisable to create the compliance matrix early and update it throughout the proposal process following solicitation amendments, customer responses and proposal outline changes.

NOTE : Proposal process is a systematic series of scalable actions or steps directed to winning bids.

Proposal Outline is a framework for content and organization based on customer requirements.

  • Submit a response matrix with the proposal.

A Response matrix is a roadmap for evaluators, pointing to specific proposal responses for each compliance item. It is derived from the compliance matrix. It may also contain a summary response. It identifies where in the proposal you have addressed each of the solicitation requirements. The evaluator uses the response matrix to locate the compliant response to each requirement.

  • Maintain customer focus

The understanding of the customer’s hot-buttons, issues and requirements should be demonstrated throughout the proposal. Customer-focused nature of the proposal is ensured through practices like naming the customer first in each volume, section or paragraph, stating the customer’s visions and problems, addressing the problems by presenting customer benefits before offered features.

Compliance and Responsiveness ensure the success of a proposal by emphasising its customer-focused nature. Both compliance and responsiveness should be consistent and maintained throughout the proposal.

The article briefly details key examinable syllabus area from the APMP Foundation certification.

Based on APMP Copyrighted Material.

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