The United States Federal Government is the largest employer in the world. However, with nearly 3 million employees, they lack the necessary resources and expertise to satisfy their needs across different departments. To accomplish their needs for products, services, knowledge, parts, and the like, they release federal procurements for registered federal contractors to bid on.
However, it is more complex than just bidding on these opportunities in hopes of getting a small piece of the gigantic pie. Navigating the complexities and nuances of the federal contracting market is difficult and requires a strategic approach. Finding and understanding what the government needs in order to satisfy its lack of knowledge and resources starts with understanding the fundamental needs of different departments.
Understand What the Government Is Looking For and Why
When the government needs something, whether it is information, resources, or something else, it often stems from an internal identification. Federal departments, agencies, offices, and divisions, realize that in order to accomplish something, there is a critical element that needs to be satisfied.
After the need has been identified, more often than not, a solicitation is published on SAM.Gov with a deadline and submission guidelines so federal contractors can submit their proposals. The government addresses its need, it now comes down to the right contractor submitting a proposal. However, more often than not, anyone and everyone submits a proposal because they see dollar signs, not because it aligns with their business's goals.
The most successful contractors recognize and understand the identity of their company. They know what they do, why they do it, and look for opportunities that align with their business. They find opportunities that they can do, not specifically that they can win. Winning is great, but what does an opportunity do for you if you win and it does not align with your company? Does it build your past performance, does it increase revenue, does it serve your addressable market? Most importantly, will the benefits outweigh the time and resources that went into submitting a proposal and meeting with the contracting officer?
Where the successful contractors separate themselves from the rest is by sticking to a who is buying, what are they buying, and where are they buying strategy. They understand what the government is looking for and why, and if an opportunity does not align with their business and its goals, they keep searching for ones that do.
Know Where You Fit
Where do you fit in as a federal contractor? Is it as a service provider, knowledge provider, prime or sub-contractor, or are you a teaming partner? Once you know and understand where you fit, how do you plan to win?
Federal contractors like to rely on their past performance and think that just because they won a contract in the past, they will win it again when it comes up. But what if does not show up for another 10 years, or worse yet, what if it never comes up again? Waiting for opportunities is the passive plague that impacts federal contractors and is the reason more fail than succeed. Passive contractors wait for opportunities to be released and then bid on them. Successful contractors are the ones who have been researching and preparing for different opportunities to be released and have been influencing the buying agency for months. The contractor who has been influencing and actively preparing is in a better position, even if their skillset or service is slightly less than that of the passive contractor. They are showing the government that they have a problem or a shortcoming and have the data to back up that claim. This helps push the government into drafting an RFP to satisfy their need. And because that contractor has been building their relationship with that federal entity, essentially helped draft the RFP, and provides that specialized service, they are in a prime position to win that job. There are no guarantees in federal contracting, but that is about as close as you can get.
Staying active, influencing, and knowing where you fit as a service provider is how you improve how you sell to the federal government.
Opportunities for You
The key to success relies on knowing what you do, not drifting from who you are, and specializing in the services you provide. You can probably win a lot of contracts, but what benefit does that provide your team if it is outside the scope of your normal work? The further you stray from your past performance, the more you offset the foundation of your company.
At Federal Compass, we provide you with customized opportunities based on your past performance and unique company DNA. Rather than seeing any and every opportunity that is available, we help you cut through the clutter to find what you can win so you can build the value of your pipeline. This helps your team stay focused to fill your pipeline with opportunities that align with your company and its services, not just opportunities you can win. We then couple these opportunities with robust pipeline management so you can properly track and manage opportunities every step of the way. Because what is the true value of your pipeline if items and tasks fall through the cracks?
Learn more about our all-encompassing solution and put your business on the right pathway to success.