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Compliance matrix step 2: address the evaluation criteria

Make sure that your proposal reflects any evaluation criteria provided in the RFP.

In a US Government RFP, the evaluation criteria will typically be in Section M.  If you do not have a Section M, you will need to look elsewhere for the evaluation criteria that the customer will use in making a selection.  If the RFP does not have any evaluation criteria, you will need to look for language describing their preferences and approach to making a selection.

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Creating a compliance matrix and proposal outline

The second step in building a compliance matrix is to incorporate the evaluation criteria.  Do this by taking the foundation created in the first step based on the outline instructions in the RFP, and then adding headings if needed to address the evaluation criteria.

Depending on the RFP, you may find that the outline and evaluation criteria match up perfectly.  If this is the case, you may not need to add any new headings, and can simply place the Section M/Evaluation Criteria references in the appropriate column, next to the corresponding outline item.

However, most RFPs do not match up perfectly. It is vital to respond to all of the evaluation criteria, since doing that will impact whether you win or lose. If there is no logical place in your current outline to address something from the evaluation criteria, then you need to create a place by adding a section or subheading to your outline.  For each item you add to the outline, make sure that you identify the RFP reference that drove it to be added.

When complete, you should have a reference in your compliance matrix for every evaluation criterion.

If the evaluation criteria include a narrative description of what the customer wants or how you will be graded, then you will need to decide whether to add new headings or add notes to make sure that your proposal is designed to get the maximum score.
 

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