We’ve talked about outlines, kick-off meetings, creating compelling content, and ways you can prepare before the RFP drops. But, at the end of the day, if your proposal isn’t compliant…you won’t win. And before you assume this isn’t an issue pertaining to you—think again—the government must ensure that awards are not subject to protest, and that means making sure the winning proposal is 100% compliant. So it’s imperative to not only be the best fit contractor, but also the one that adhered to the requirements and submitted the right paperwork.
“If you think compliance is expensive, try non- compliance.” Paul McNulty, Former U.S. Deputy Attorney General
With fewer contracts being awarded and fewer RFPs being released, the reality is that you MUST have a higher win rate. It’s simply not an option to wait for the next opportunity after having a proposal rejected due to inaccurate content, not addressing an esoteric requirement, or not adhering to a specific instruction.
We cannot emphasize compliance enough in the current environment. One of the easiest and quickest you can combat noncompliance—incomplete documents; missed requirements; incorrect format; overlooked submission instructions; and disconnects between the evaluation criteria, proposal instructions, and the SOW to name a few—is to hire an objective, third-party to perform a compliance check in parallel with both pink and red team reviews. Why then? It allows the proposal process to keep moving forward while still giving your team enough time to address noncompliant areas.
What is a compliance check?
Compliance checks are active fact-checking reviews…not copy-edits. They start with a comprehensive, deep-read of the RFP and all supporting documentation and amendments. From there, compliance checks literally strip out and itemize requirements and evaluation criteria so sections and responses can be cross-referenced against them.
They are also dynamic. By asking, “is this compliant or not,” across every level of your response and reviewing for missed requirements—whether directly stated, secondary, or implied—compliance checks deeply assess the content and act as a mechanism to force collaboration throughout your entire enterprise of SMEs to gather feedback, data, and accurate narratives.
What does it cover?
A compliance check systematically evaluates your response to ensure it:
- Adheres to the agency or department’s instructions and requirements—using their exact keywords and terminology.
- Tracks and ensures the agency or department’s active verbs are leveraged as well. Words like “describe,” “state,” “list,” “shall,” “must,” “may,” “should,” (and others) are often overlooked in RFPs. But being aware of these words is vital to showing—in the specific format of the request—you understand and are in compliance.
- Follows formatting and submission instructions—including making sure all forms are completed, volume order requirements are met, and the response is packaged in accordance with stated requirements.
- Meets minimum technical requirements and addresses any exceptions to Terms and Conditions.
- Meets page limitations per section and across the entire document.
- Ensures boilerplate and standard content is updated to the specific RFP requirements as appropriate.
- Is easy to navigate and mirrors the natural flow of the RFP.
Competing deadlines, complex and highly technical content, and the quick-turn nature of RFPs can make it difficult to complete compliance checks in-house.
But…it’s actually nearly impossible for individuals or internal teams to distinguish between what was intended and will eventually be included from what’s actually on paper. A third-party acts as a stop-gap to validate what’s actually there and identify compliance risks.
Don’t Miss Critical Requirements
We’ve reviewed thousands of proposals and are deeply connected to the market. Our comprehensive and detailed compliance checks help clients address all solicitation requirements so they can not only submit a compliant response, but a compelling one as well. Whether you need a second set of eyes or additional technical support for a complex RFP, we’re here to help make your proposals easier and stronger so you can win more.