You recently won a federal government contract. Excellent! Time to write it on a sticky note, add it to Microsoft Excel, and email everyone internally and let them know they need to start tracking it...right? If this is how you manage your contracts, there is room for improvement.
Managing government contracts is not easy, but it does not need to be difficult. If any of these points sound like your team or close to it, it may be time to reevaluate how you manage your federal government contracts.
Is This Relatable?
As we emerge from the pandemic, many companies have found success by moving to a fully remote or hybrid work environment. This is great for employees as it provides more flexibility and opens up the talent pool. In a post from Forbes, they conducted a study and found that on average, remote workers worked nearly a full hour more than their in-office or hybrid associates. A full hour more. Think about how much more productive they are. Hopefully at least!
However, with all the benefits of remote workers, it means that data silos are more prevalent than before. When this happens, there is no centralized knowledge repository. Rather than being able to have one point of reference, there is a need to check multiple sources for information. This slows down your processes and allows for misinformation and missed deadlines to creep in.
When knowledge lives with only a select few, it limits visibility based on sharing capabilities. If Employee 1 does not have access to the data in Sharepoint, they cannot efficiently and effectively evaluate technical fit. What lives on Employee 3's computer is not accessible to anyone other than themselves. If they are out one day and everyone else needs that critical information, a bottleneck occurs.
To combat this, companies opt to build their own internal systems to manage everything. This route is typically chosen to avoid subscription SaaS platforms. However, if and when internal systems need to be updated or fixed, internal team members who initially built them often are the ones who need to fix them. But what if those people are no longer with the company?
To this point, we have identified data silos that exist, whether remote or in-person, but we have potentially found a way around that with internal systems. However, we found those can be costly to build and maintain.
So, what about opting for a free, cloud-based solution like Google Drive? It enables you to share documents with other team members, docs live in real-time and are shared with internal and external teams. Sounds like we have a solution, right? To an extent.
Information does not automatically flow into shared Drive folders. This means there is a lot of manual entry and we all know that time is money. Having team members search for information, enter the information into a system, and notify the right team that their info is ready. Once the right team is notified, they now need to reference it to continue pushing opportunities forward. However, when updates occur or new releases of information come out, it can be like starting from square one. Research teams have to find the data, input it, notify teams, etc. A lengthy process that still has flaws. It is cheaper, but it is much less efficient and reliable.
Even if you say to yourself, "there are not enough opportunities or data to keep track of so even when updates are released we can handle it," how do you manage deadlines? Are there calendar invites you send to each other to alert everyone when something is due? Another manual process takes place.
Tying it All Together
Before your team even enters an opportunity into your pipeline, how do you know if it is even a good fit? Do your opportunities align with your business and its goals? By setting up qualifying factors for opportunities, after you have identified the good ones first, the value of your pipeline should increase. This is because you will no longer be filling it with opportunities that you could win, but with opportunities you SHOULD win. Just because you can win something does not mean you should want to. If you are building the wrong past performance, you will drastically shape how the next several years will look.
By implementing a SaaS platform that not only identifies good opportunities but essentially spoonfeeds them to you based on your business criteria, you can help alleviate some of the stress manual processes gave your team. You can also share one system with multiple internal and external team members to continue pushing opportunities forward. All in all, SaaS platforms should enable your team and make life easier. So long as they can demonstrate the value they provide your team. Realistically, they should pay for themselves many times over.
Just please, do not tell me you are using post-its or Microsoft Excel to keep track of things. 😅