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15: Persuasive Answers to RFP Questions > The Compliance Matrix: Simplifying th... - Pg. 173

Persuasive Answers to RFP Questions 173 The version on the left starts out by naming the service plan (and including an acronym that is never mentioned again), then describing it in very generic terms. In the third sentence, the answer mentions an "Advocate" but never defines who or what that is. We can guess, but guessing creates uncertainty and doubt. The version on the right starts by addressing what customers are more likely to care about--being able to focus on their business without being distracted by telecommunica- tions issues. The service plan is then presented as an answer to that problem. We left out the acronym and the jargon term "Advocate" be- cause they don't seem to add anything. The Compliance Matrix: Simplifying the Evaluator's Job Tip number 3 in the preceding list mentioned the importance of includ- ing a compliance matrix in your response to an RFP. So what's a compli- ance matrix? It's a chart that makes it easy for the evaluator to determine which proposals are worth looking at and which can be discarded. Re- member that the evaluator's first job is to reduce the number of propos- als to a manageable few. An easy way for a gatekeeper to do that is to glance through your proposal to see if it complies with the basic require- ments. The presence of a compliance matrix shows the evaluator that your response is worth keeping and looking at in detail. The absence of one may suggest that it's not. In addition to showing the evaluator how well you meet the require- ments of the RFP, your compliance matrix should make it easy to locate more detailed information. In the following sample (Figure 15-1), the page numbers are hot links that jump directly to the relevant answers. Our Proposal Is Fully Compliant with Your Requirements The compliance matrix below illustrates graphically the extent to which our solutions match up with Urban Bank's key requirements. Detailed answers and explanations for each question or requirement can be found in the following pages, as indicated by the page num- bers. Compliance Key: EX = Exceeds the requirement F = Fully complies P = Partially complies N = Non-compliant American Management Association