Business Winning Tip: Compliance and Responsiveness

Compliance and responsiveness are often confused, so let’s discuss the definition of each. Proposals can be responsive but not compliant, or compliant but non-responsive.

Compliance means strict adherence to the customer’s bid request, both the submittal instructions and the requirements. Compliance with instructions means that you have followed the requested format, answered all questions, completed all forms, and submitted your response to the right person and place, on time. Compliance with requirements means that you have agreed to meet bid request requirements.

Notice how many bid requirements are in this seemingly simple request.


Responsiveness means addressing the customer’s underlying needs. Assuming a responsive proposal addresses the customer’s underlying needs, your approach might be compliant or non-compliant, depending on whether your approach or solution is specified in the bid request—so, never sacrifice compliance for responsiveness—you need both.

Here are some tips to make sure your proposals are compliant and responsive: