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What is a Compliance Matrix?

Compliance Matrix Meaning and How to Use One to Improve Your Proposal Responses

In the world of bids and proposals, compliance means that a proposal satisfies the necessary requirements to avoid automatic disqualification and proceed to evaluation by the organization’s evaluation committee. In other words, compliance means a proposal meets all submission and response instructions and requirements.

As such, compliance is often the minimum goal of every proposal team’s bid or proposal. Of course, aiming for compliance is a low bar. The goal of submitting a bid or proposal is to win. And that is the measure against which most proposal teams gauge their success. Still, compliance is a necessary first step.

Because compliance is an essential component of a winning Request for Proposal (RFP), proposal managers have developed the Compliance Matrix to serve as an invaluable tool for managing the complicated requirements of bids and proposals.

This blog post defines Compliance Matrices, demonstrates how the best companies utilize it to ensure compliance, and how to implement it at your company regardless of your size and expertise.

Let’s get started.

What is a Compliance Matrix?

A Compliance Matrix is a project management tool that tracks all the requirements of a bid or proposal. Typically in spreadsheet format, the compliance matrix tracks the following for each requirement:

  • The section page and paragraph of the requirement in the RFP (page number, paragraph number, reference number)
  • The text of the requirement
  • Evaluation criteria for how each requirement will be judged
  • Whether the requirement has been satisfied
  • Notes (for capture and proposal management to emphasize strategic points or for other contributors to ask questions)
An image of Patri's Downloadable Sample Compliance Matrix

An image of Patri’s Downloadable Sample Compliance Matrix Example


How Do Compliance Matrices Work?

Because a proposal compliance matrix contains every single RFP requirement necessary for compliance on a bid or proposal, it becomes the central location from which to track progress on the essential requirements of the project.

The proposal manager should update the compliance matrix periodically to indicate whether the internal respondents have successfully satisfied compliance for the given requirement. If a requirement has not been satisfied, the matrix indicates to the proposal manager whom they should reach out to for their missing content.

Proposal managers use compliance matrices to proactively manage their bids and proposals and ensure they satisfy compliance.

How to Implement Compliance Matrices At Your Company

Compliance matrices are incredibly useful tools for proposal managers, or anyone leading the charge on creating a proposal.

To implement the usage of a compliance matrix for your bids and proposals, you should either create a standard compliance matrix format and save it to your cloud storage of choice or download Patri’s Sample Compliance Matrix Template.

Once the standard format for your compliance matrix is ironed out, let your response team know that you’ll start tracking progress on proposal requirements using the compliance matrix.

Then, use the compliance matrix as a tool to walk your team through requirements stated in the RFP during the proposal response’s kick-off meeting, so everyone can get on the same page about their responsibilities and what content will be necessary to satisfy compliance. As you work on your response, cross-reference the compliance matrix to ensure compliance.

As you get feedback from your team on what additional information they need to be successful, you can modify the standard compliance matrix to work best for your organization.

Download Proposals 101: How to Start (and Win) Proposals from the Ground Up to Learn More

Want to learn how to transform bid and proposal responses from a liability into an organizational strength? 

For companies in complex industries, proposals, bids, and competitive solicitations are essential tools to capture revenue and promote growth. But they are also costly and time-consuming.

Many companies either avoid proposals altogether, losing out on valuable revenue, or respond to far too many proposals without the proper processes in place to be successful, sapping energy and company resources.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

This eBook is a high-level overview of how to find, qualify, and respond to RFPs, RFIs, and RFQs. Intended for companies launching a proposal response function or seeking to understand why they aren’t winning more competitive solicitations, this eBook covers everything you need to know to establish a successful proposal function, impress proposal evaluators, and win government contracts.

Download Proposals 101: How to Start (and Win) with Proposals from the Ground Up to learn the following:

  • The proposal terms you need to know
  • How proposals should fit in your company’s growth strategy
  • How to find and qualify proposal opportunities
  • Essential proposal management tools to satisfy compliance
  • The top five proposal pitfalls to avoid

Download the eBook