Complying with every submission mandatory is the second-most important thing in RFP responses.
“What!?!” you (or some well-intentioned technical/domain expert on your team) cry. “Compliance is the most important thing!”
To which I reply, “No, we’ve covered this already.” But compliance with submission mandatories is definitely next in line after meeting schedule.
Why? Because if you miss even one mandatory, the client can choose not to look at your technical proposal. Now, these days, even government clients (previously renowned for being sticklers on this point) reserve the right to choose to allow you to submit something you’ve missed, but you can’t count on it.
So don’t count on it. Instead, manage submission mandatories so you never need a client to overlook your mistake. What does that mean?
For a given RFP response effort, it means this:
- Assign responsibility at the right level – that’s the head honcho on the proposal, by whatever title, this being a management, not an administrative, responsibility
- Institute a fail-safe method for identifying and executing submission mandatories – that’s having at least two independent and qualified reviewers
For ongoing RFP-response capability, it means training a wide range of folks so they’re able to read an RFP carefully, and know what they’re reading for. That gives every proposal manager access to qualified reviewers. The more people who understand mandatories, the fewer panic attacks there will be on proposal teams or in executive offices the night (or hour!) before the proposal is due.
And as a side benefit, there will be fewer distractions for the proposal team from well-intentioned experts who, as it turns out, know more about their domain of technical expertise than they do about proposals.
PS Not entirely sure what “submission mandatories” are? Stay tuned for this week’s definition in the Term of the Week posting.