Developing your strategy to win government contracts is like putting together a 1,000 piece puzzle. It requires time and understanding a lot of rules. This week we are demonstrate how […]
About Karla Williams
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The information on how the government spends taxpayer money on contracts for goods and services is available for free to anyone who cares to navigate their less than user friendly database. Figuring this system out takes time that most small business owners don’t have.
This is why I have partnered with Federal Compass. Federal Compass is a powerful tool that provides the data you need in an easier manner. It is also a tool that provides insight into what that data means.
Schedule a demo to see how Federal Compass provides you with the data you need, helps you analyze that data, and saves you time. After you complete your demo, contact me and I’ll set you up with a free trial of this powerful system.
Winning government contracts is a process. Your first assignment was to research who in the government purchased your product or service. The next step is to analyze this data to answer three questions.
- How do they buy what you sell?
- Who do they buy it from?
- Is it a repetitive buy? And if so – when are they likely to buy it again?
The answer to the how question tells you the contracting method and whether any type of small business set-aside was used. First the small business set aside answer. In many cases, once a requirement is placed into a set-aside program, it typically remains in that program. Your path to winning a government contract must be based on a strategy that leverages this fact to your advantage.
The contract method is a little more involved but just as important in developing your strategy to win government contracts. It reveals whether any type of special contract is needed in order to submit a competing bid or proposal. Many companies limit their search for RFPs and RFQs to bid on to sam.gov to find RFPs and RFQs. This could be a mistake.
For example, if the majority of the contracts issued to buy your product and service were made from a GSA Schedule you need a strategy to sell using the GSA Schedule. Why? Because if you don’t have a GSA Schedule there is no way for you to submit proposals or quotes to win a government contract. In fact, you won’t even see these requirements until after they are awarded. The GSA schedule is not the only such contract vehicle that the government uses to award government contracts faster and easier. Any strategy that does not take this historical data into consideration is reactive and much less likely to produce government contract awards.
The answer to the who they buy it from question tells you who your competitors are. Study this list carefully and ask yourself what you know about these companies. If you are like many of my clients, once you have the hard data in front of you, you begin to realize you really DON’T know who your competitors are. This puts you at a disadvantage.
The final analysis of timelines reveals when the government is likely to buy your product or services NEXT. This information, along with an understanding of the stages in the buying process tells you WHEN to schedule each of your outreach and marketing activities.
All of this puts you ahead of the game you must play to win government contracts. As a result, you only compete for the opportunities where you enough information to develop a strategy that produces more government contracts wins.
Congratulations. You have figured out how to make your government customer know, like and trust you to deliver the results they are paying for. This strategy has resulted in your winning government contract awards.
You did this by carefully building your reputation. And you didn’t do that alone. Your employees played a large role in developing and preserving that reputation. And when properly tasked, these same employees are the best tool you have to continue to win more government contracts.
But this won’t happen automatically. You will need to develop both a deliberate strategy for your employees to follow and a clear compensation plan that rewards success.
An agency specific business development strategy must focus on the goals and mission of the agency. This begins by explaining how your product or service contributes to the agency’s success in fulfilling their mission. Next, employees need to understand what additional products or services your company can provide. They also must understand how those products and services can either save the agency money, improve quality of a critical process, or deliver desired outcomes faster.
To use this information properly, employees must understand the process the agency uses to buy your products or services. And they must understand how and when they can take steps that lead to becoming a trusted resource. Help them understand how trusted resource status that helps their customer find solutions is the key to long term success and results in government contract wins.
Finally, a company needs to be available to provide support, guidance and coaching as employees use their newly acquired skills. This coaching should provide the resources that individual contributors need to win new business. Employees must be able to visualize actually receiving compensation for their efforts in growing the business they work for. This ongoing support is required to keep employees motivated, because successfully implementing these steps to win new government contracts takes time.
We offer a government contract training program designed to help you set up a strategy to do more business with the government. Read about our program that trains your project staff to help you get more government contracts.