Imagine that you are a small business that has been tracking an opportunity since you were on a losing team five years ago. In the interim you have worked hard building a team of the best professionals to perform the contract to close the gaps revealed to you in your debriefing. Your new approach for completing this work is based on a true understanding of the agency culture and their needs based on what you agency contacts have shared with you over the years.
Finally, it’s time for the recompete. The agency forecast tells you that the solicitation should be out by now. You’ve been talking monthly to the CO who says “it’s coming”. So now it’s August. Still no solicitation on SAM. You make your monthly call to the CO and find out that the solicitation was posted last week. To eBuy.
What? Not to SAM? You don’t have a federal supply schedule. You can’t bid. All that time and effort and resources are lost.
How could you have avoided this situation?
- Ask more questions. This company was doing all the right things. And calling to stay top of mind is essential. But perhaps even more important is to gather the right kind of data.
- Look for trends in the data. Very few things are the same as they were five years ago. Constantly scan purchasing data to see how your target agency tends to buy what you sell. In the case I described above, an objective look at the spending data for the last year showed the agency was increasingly purchasing services using GSA schedules.
This company was doing the right things. They were proactive. They had found a prospect who needed what they offered. Yet – when it came time to compete to win the work – they were locked out, unable to bid.
You can’t control what the government does. You can be proactive in gathering the RIGHT data and in offering your ideal customer an alternative contract vehicle. This is why we recommend most companies give serious consideration to getting their own Federal Supply Schedule.
Competition is still the rule – but competition is being limited to fewer and fewer companies. And because it looks like this trend to continue, you need a strategy.