Finally. You found an RFP that’s a perfect fit for your organization. Your knowledge and experience meets (or even exceeds) the minimum RFP requirements posted. Check. There is a plethora of previous content to pull from other bids. Check. Your team is even ready to begin stitching together the perfect proposal. Check, check, check. But, before you get all hands on deck, there are important guidelines to keep in mind to ensure your proposal is compliant with the RFP’s requirements. RFP compliance allows the reviewer to assess your orientation towards both direction and detail. For these reasons, it’s so important to keep these tips in mind throughout the entire process. By following the steps below, you can rest assured your RFP will not only be compliant, but will also check all of the reviewer’s boxes.
1. Read, review, study, repeat.
Reading an RFP may seem like a no-brainer; however, it is one of the most vital steps in ensuring RFP compliance. Thoroughly read the RFP and every requirement carefully to be sure that you have a complete understanding of what the RFP is asking. It can be useful to write out some of the more important requirements so you can easily refer back to them later.
Additionally, having multiple members of your team study the RFP requirements will decrease the chance of any confusion later on. This “study session” will allow you to delegate roles so team members know exactly which parts of the RFP they are responsible for completing.
Having multiple reads of the RFP is also a way to verify that your company truly meets every requirement. For example, if your organization is new, but upon deeper reading of the RFP you notice that the client is looking for ten years of experience, that particular RFP may not be a good fit. Details like this can be overlooked when a bid looks near-perfect at first glance, but will result in countless hours of wasted effort.
2. Keep open communication with your team.
RFP compliance requires multiple members of your team to guarantee success. On your team, you will likely have authors, technical writers, project managers, and more. Each of these people will likely contribute to a different component of the response. It is important that every team member working on the RFP speaks to one another periodically to ensure all requirements are being met. Tools such as Slack, Uberconference, and Zoom are easy and effective ways to schedule and conduct meetings. Within your content, Google Drive enables members to comment, tag, and flag pieces of information for other contributors.
3. Create an RFP Compliance Matrix.
An easy way to dissect a large RFP is to create an RFP Compliance Matrix. By pulling each segment apart, it allows your team to screen and check each requirement for compliance with the RFP. By separating the qualifications in the Compliance Matrix, it is easy to keep track of who is responsible for which part of the response. This not only sets a schedule of tasks to be completed, but also creates accountability for every team member.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
After a first read of the RFP, you will more than likely have questions about how certain RFP requirements are worded or phrased. Thankfully, this is nothing to stress about. The organization or governmental department that released the RFP will usually conduct a Q&A period. This usually takes place 1-2 weeks before the RFP’s deadline, which still leaves your team a comfortable amount of time to complete the RFP. Asking questions will guarantee that you leave no stone unturned when it comes to ensuring RFP compliance.
5. Schedule multiple reviews.
As noted before, it is also important to plan multiple reads once the RFP is completed. Having a fresh set of eyes read the entire RFP will help identify any odd wording or syntax errors. Looking at an RFP for an extended amount of time means that you may unknowingly gloss over blatant errors, which another reader can be quick to point out. Reviews by peers can also help verify that you have correctly labeled and organized the attachments for the proposal. Some RFPs require dozens of forms, spreadsheets, and waivers, and this can get very confusing- especially when deadlines are tight. Having multiple reviews with different peers can weed out any errors or mistakes before submission.
Ensuring RFP compliance takes lots of work! RFPs require a significant amount of time and resources that can be difficult to come by (and COVID-19 is definitely not helping that effort). At The Bid Lab, we believe that all companies should receive the support they need to remain competitive and complete stellar RFPs. Our top priority is your overall success, which starts with guiding you through the RFP process from start to finish and always being available to answer any questions. The end result is a strong, organized, and aesthetic proposal. To see what we can do to lift the burden of your RFP process, contact us or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.