Proposal professionals use the word “compliance” a lot. We even have a special tool–a compliance matrix–that we use for every proposal, to ensure that the proposal is “compliant.”
But what do we really mean when we talk about compliance?
You may use “compliance” as a synonym for “meets the requirements.” In this interpretation of the term, you might consider the proposal compliant if it addresses all of the requirements of the RFP.
Is that all there is to it, really?
Well, no, not really. It’s a bit more nuanced than that.
Addressing all of the requirements may make a proposal complete, but it does not necessarily make it compliant. A compliant proposal does more than merely “check the box” for each requirement; it also truly “answers the mail.” In other words, it is substantive, not perfunctory.
That distinction can make a significant difference during proposal evaluation–perhaps even the difference between winning and losing. Keep that in mind as you assess the “compliance” of your next proposal.