How to Write a Bid Compliance Matrix

Jul 2, 2021Bid Writing, SME Champions, Tender Writing

There’s no doubt that there is a lot of paperwork involved with even the simplest tender. One way to make sure that you have covered all the points that you need to is to write a bid compliance matrix. You don’t need any special tools to create one of these, a spreadsheet or table in a Word document will work just fine, as will a checklist if you want to go the pen and paper route.

What is a Compliance Matrix?

The Association of Proposal Management Professionals describes a compliance matrix as a ‘must-have planning document’ and urges Bid Managers to  create one, ‘regardless of bid size or timeline.’ We’d agree. Making sure that you are clear on each and every requirement of the bid is important, you need it to make a good bid/no-bid decision, to decide on your solution architecture, and to ensure that your bid is compliant.

It should be created early in the bid process and used to keep track of the bid, the promises you’ve made, and for the writer to make sure they’ve put everything that is needed in the responses. Exactly what you need to include in your matrix will depend on your business, and how many people are involved in writing the bid. If it’s just you from start to finish, then a simple checklist will suffice. If it’s a team effort, then recording who is responsible for each element may be important too.

Some things you might want to include are:

  • Source (e.g. main ITT, Specification, Appendix A)
  • Page Number/Section/Paragraph
  • Exact Text of Requirement
  • Where to cover this in the response
  • Our Response
  • Status (Not started, in progress, completed)
  • Person Responsible

You can download our Compliance Matrix Template here in Excel and PDF versions.

How to Complete a Compliance Matrix

How to Write a BidNow it’s time to grab a cup of tea or coffee and sit down with your tender documents and your compliance matrix. Start with the main SQ/ITT document and begin to work through the questions. If you come across a requirement for the tender, then add it to the matrix. For example, compliance needs for SQs (Selection Questionnaires) often include needing to upload copies of recent accounts, insurance certificates or industry accreditations. Keep in mind that sometimes the SQ/PQQ (pre-qualification questionnaire) are online, so may not be included in the documents you download.

The next most important document is the specification, which may be included in the main ITT or may be a separate document depending on the size and complexity of the project. Again, go line by line and mark down anything that you need to do to meet the client’s needs. This might be hitting certain hard deadlines, meeting service standards, or ensuring that you respond to customer complaints within a certain timescale. After the specification, go through each bid document, in turn, to make sure you’ve captured everything.

How to Write a Bid with a Compliance Matrix

Now that you have a list of all the things you need to do, you need to work out where you are going to tell the client that you can do them! For PQQ/SQ questions this is usually obvious, there is a direct link between the question and the information you’re providing. Things you’ve found in the specification can usually be mapped onto one of the quality questions or method statements.

We talked in a previous blog about how to write winning tender responses, and the compliance matrix plays an important part in that. Once you’ve analysed your question in the way we suggested, you can then look through your compliance matrix and see which requirements you have mapped to this question. Pencil them into your outline, and you should have the outline for a winning tender response.

Need Help?

At Bid for Success, we work flexibly to support our SME clients to win bids whether it’s their first or their fiftieth. We don’t have an ‘off the shelf’ service, we’ll look at each piece of work for you as you bring it to us and quote you for what you want us to do. If you’d like us to simply create you a compliance matrix, we can do that. We can also mentor you, teaching you how to write a bid as we go, split the bid between us – or if you just want to hand the whole thing off and go spend your day running your business? We can do that too. To find out more about how we can be your bidding best friend, get in touch today.



Adrian Corcoran

Adrian Corcoran is Managing Director and Founder of Bid for Success. Passionate about working with great businesses to win them new work, she and the Bid for Success team are here to help you with your bidding and work winning needs.


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