I understand why companies think government contracting seems so complicated. They have been told to take a few simple steps, and then contracts will roll in. The most frequently mentioned 10 best practices for winning government contracts include:
- Determine your business size
- Register as a government contractor in the System for Award Management (sam.gov)
- Work with local Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) to better understand opportunities in your area
- Prepare a capabilities statement and presentation
- Consider subcontracting to Prime contractors
- Identify and target agencies (whoa, that’s a big one in itself)
- Attend government networking and matchmaking events
- Look for bid opportunities on FedBizOpps (fbo.gov) and similar sites.
- Learn how to read solicitations
- Prepare responsive proposals
Now sit back and wait for RFPs and government contracts to roll in!
How has that worked out for you? So many firms implement some or even all of these “best practices” and soon grow extremely frustrated. Some give up too early – it can take 12-20 months to gain traction in this market.
Most only implement the last few practices – searching for and chasing RFPs. While many people think they should start the government sales process when an RFP or RFQ is released, they are wrong. Doing so reflects a fundamental lack of knowledge about how agencies really buy. The chances of winning that contract when you start at the RFP stage is extremely small. Small businesses that succeed get involved in the buying process far earlier.
Knowledge Required to Succeed
Few firms really take time to understand how the federal buying process works, the roles of different agency personnel in the process, and how they develop their requirements. Knowing this will enable a firm to develop an effective go-to-market strategy. This enables your company to get involved early in the process where you can contribute to the requirements analysis and position your firm as the problem solver.
Knowing How Agencies Buy is Especially Crucial to GSA Sales
For anyone seeking government business, knowing how to play the game is important and particularly vital to GSA vendors. While some people obtain a GSA contract to gain access to exclusive bid opportunities on eBuy, the real value of the GSA Schedules program is the ability to go out and create your own deals. Deal creation allows you to proactively build a pipeline of opportunities that will increase win rates.
Understanding the Federal Buyers Journey
Having a lot of experience in B2B sales is great, but that is an entirely different approach than what successful government contractors must undertake. Trial and error and guessing how agencies buy are a waste of time. Why not spend 45 minutes learning how to win contracts by gaining an understanding of who the key players are, and how to address their needs.
The Understanding the Federal Buyers Journey program is a 45-minute online course that explains the process and focuses on the pre-bid process where you help evaluate agency challenges and collaborate on a solution. You will learn what agency end users are doing, what the program managers role is, and what happens when contracting officials get involved.
A short investment of 45-minutes will eliminate some of the frustration and guessing and put you on the path to government sales success.
View the course outline for Understanding the Federal Buyers Journey.