How To Win Government Contracts
The government contracting market is complex but full of opportunity. Here are the steps you can take to grow your public sector pipeline and win more government contracts.
After finding government contracts and best-fit opportunities for your business, there are specific actions you can take to connect with the right decision makers and put your best foot forward in order to beat out the competition. By understanding the value of being proactive, how to get ahead of the bid or RFP, and the competitive landscape, you can position yourself to win government contracts.
Understanding the Government Contracting Acquisition Lifecycle
Successful government contractors prepare in advance by targeting specific agencies (such as specific states or federal departments they wish to sell into), building key relationships and setting up a strategic plan to grow their business. To do this, they must understand the contracting acquisition lifecycle, in order to know what actions to take and when to set their business up for success. The stages of the acquisition lifecycle generally look similar to this:
As you prepare in advance to win government contracts, you should keep an eye out for information and analysis that may help improve your ability to compete before, during and after the opportunity is put out for competitive bid.
- Pre-RFP Intel in Budgets and Spending Plans. Forward-looking businesses can gain an advantage by gathering advance notice and pre-solicitation information on upcoming projects found in agency budgets, expiring contracts and capital spending plans.
- Currently Open Solicitations Like Bids and RFPs. While these and other common competitive solicitation types are the “bread and butter” of government contracting, being informed well before an opportunity goes to bid helps during the proposal preparation process.
- Contract Award Information. Understanding data from bid results and contract awards showing where your competitors are winning, agency evaluation criteria, pricing, re-compete opportunities and more can help set you up for the next opportunity.
How to Win Federal Government Contracts
When the federal government needs to acquire a new product or service, or has an expiring contract for a product or service it intends to buy again, it will release an opportunity for bid, a request for proposal (RFP) or another form of government contract opportunity. Breaking down that opportunity to properly prepare to answer all the questions within it are essential to proposal management and creating a proposal to win a federal government contract. This part of the process is so critical there are countless businesses available, such as Red Team, to help you do this right.
When you are preparing to win federal government contracts, a winning strategy can be to use market intelligence tools to identify federal spending areas well in advance, determine who to reach out to at your target agency, then prepare your company’s go-to-market strategy for when those opportunities are released in order to get out ahead of the competition. Tools such as GovWin IQ track opportunities that your business is a good fit for up to five years before a bid or a request for proposal (RFP) is actually issued, and can help you identify key decision makers to target for building relationships.
How to Win State and Local Government Contracts
A strategic focus is required to win state and local (SLED) government contracts. SLED government agencies spend more than a trillion dollars every year, spread out across 50 states and a huge number of cities, counties and other districts, so the opportunity is immense – but so is the challenge.
To succeed, state and local government contractors must be able to identify target buyers that are a good fit for the solutions that their organization provides, either by sifting through huge numbers of potential contracting opportunities and managing rules and processes that are unique to each government entity, or leaning on tools designed to support businesses who don’t already have the institutional knowledge and processes in place in place. Those businesses who focus on mastering the ins-and outs of doing business in SLED, and scaling their approach as they grow, will put themselves in a better position to submit winning proposals on the state and local government contracts that best fit their core competencies.
How to Win a Government Contract Bid
Smart businesses know that they can’t simply register to sell to a government agency and begin to win federal, state and local government contracts immediately. Companies in all industries must understand the nuances of how government agencies operate, and what their preferences are, in order to win a government contract bid and expand their public sector sales pipeline.
Architecture and Engineering Contracts
Successful architecture and engineering (A&E) firms must understand their target agency’s goals, recent initiatives and preferences. The better an understanding of how an agency operates, the better A&E organizations can position themselves to meet their needs and win more business.
Getting ahead of the bid can make the difference between winning a new construction contract and being too late to make an impression. Major construction projects like roadways and bridges take time, so gaining awareness of government construction contract spending years in advance is a must to beat out the competition.
Information Technology Contracts
Winning contracts to provide cybersecurity, cloud-based solutions, consulting, telecommunications, wireless, hardware or software services requires strategy. Studying past procurement habits and identifying upcoming contract renewals can help businesses target IT contracts they’re most likely to win.
Professional Services Contracts
Professional services companies aid government business operations in terms of management consulting, personnel and HR services, advertising and PR, or legal and accounting services. To win contracts they must present their services in a way that is specifically tailored to the needs of their target agencies.
How to Win Government Contracts for Small Business
The environment for companies aiming to win small business government contracts is unique. Government entities such as the SBA (Small Business Administration) offer a number of small business set-aside contract opportunities through programs like these:
- 8(a) Business Development
- Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Programs
- Minority-Owned Small Business (MOSB) Programs
- Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business (SDVOSB) Programs
- All Small Mentor-Protégé Program
Small businesses can compete on a more level playing field by first determining which socioeconomic categories, if any, fit their business. Registering with the SBA and reviewing which categories their business aligns with can help to spotlight opportunities they are most likely to win.
Teaming or Subcontracting Opportunities
Small businesses often break into new markets or gain contracting experience through subcontracting and serving on the team of a prime contractor. It is a way of getting experience that often allows you to avoid some of the complicated compliance requirements and challenges competing against more established vendors, yet gaining some experience and past performance while opening up more contracting opportunities.
Larger businesses also can benefit by teaming up with the right small business, allowing them to seek a broader range of government contracts. Developing relationships is a valuable tool that can make it easier to build out a public sector sales pipeline.
How to Find Government Contracts
In order to win government contracts, it helps to identify best-fit opportunities before your competitors do. For your business to find government contracts that fit your areas of strength, you will need to zero in on your target market, be that federal or state, local and education, and look for government contracts that align to your strengths as a business.
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