We talk to many business developers who are responsible for government sales in their organization. They often have a good understanding of GSA’s federal supply schedule program and know that getting on the GSA list would help them gain more federal sales. They also know that getting a GSA contract represents an organizational commitment that will require some resources, discipline, and change. It isn’t a silver bullet for getting quick sales, but pays enormous dividends in the long run.
Their main quandary is they don't know how to convince senior management that becoming a GSA vendor is a goal worth committing to.
Management commitment is essential and gaining it takes some education, persuasion and visioneering. Here are a few steps that are effective in getting management on board:
1. Explain Federal Buyer Preferences
While a GSA contract is not the only contract vehicle in town, it is continuously updated, open to new vendors, and remains the Swiss army knife of government contract vehicles.
2. Describe State of the Federal Market
Government budgets were tight and spending was curtailed in 2012 and 2013, but GSA schedule sales remained solid, and contracted far less than other contracts. Now that the federal budget process has stabalized and sequestration iis gone, much of the spending that had been postponed is now back in play. Having your products and services listed in the GSA catalog will facilitate buying. And as the U.S. economy continues its steady recovery and growth, government budgets won’t remain quite as tight.
3. Educate Management
Few managers intuitively understand what a GSA schedule is nor the benefits that can be had. Take time to inform them. TurboGSA offers several resources that can help including a GSA Schedule Overview, Introduction to GSA schedules, The GSA Schedule Game, and free briefings. Look elsewhere on our blog for additional GSA information.
4. Show How Competitors have Won
Check out some of your competitors by performing a GSA schedule sales query. While there are some contractors who are inactive and do not compete for work, you will find many competitors doing quite nicely. Look at both the average sales for the special items numbers you qualify for as well as the average for active contractors. Management rarely likes to be left out in the cold and this information may get their competitive juices flowing.
5. Quantify GSA Sales Opportunity
Based on the above research, any empirical evidence you have gleaned from your own contacts, and the number of federal agencies in your market or territory, estimate your potential GSA sales. Pick a few similarly sized competitors as a benchmark.
6. Government Marketing Action Plan with Costs
Layout a concrete plan showing who will be responsible internally, which consultant you will use to ensure that the negotiated contract is both profitable and audit-proof, a timetable (be realistic, dealing getting on the GSA schedule can take 6-12 months or more if you do this on your own), and associated costs.
7. Payback - Show the ROI of a GSA Contract
Look at the two prior steps and lay out the ROI and payback period.
Be pragmatic and conservative though because getting a GSA contract is great but does require hard work to thrive. By showing management a logical path forward including a detailed, thoughtful analysis, you will have a good chance of gaining management commitment.
Wait, that is only 7 tips. What are the last remaining tips?
8) If you fail to gain management support now, don't give up. Sometimes positive change takes time.
9) Subscribe to out blog to receive timely updates.
10) Try, try again.
by Robert Kelly Google