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.