Vendors: Tips on landing government contracts during federal buying season
Editor’s note: Martin J. Milita Jr. Esq., senior director at Duane Morris Government Strategies, offers tips that will help vendors and contractors land federal government sales. Milita’s essay is part of GPN’s series of “Use It Lose It” e-newsletters that offer marketplace information as the end of the federal fiscal year nears on Sept. 30.
Washington-based Duane Morris Government Strategies (DMGS) supports the growth of organizations, companies, communities and economies through a suite of government and business consulting services. The firm offers a range of government relations and public affairs services, including lobbying, grant writing; development finance consulting, media relations management, grassroots campaigning and community outreach. Milita works at the firm’s New Jersey office.
Here are the views of Martin J. Milita Jr.
The federal fiscal year operates from October 1 – September 30 each year. Because of a “use it or lose it mentality,” purchasing staff are left with the task of allocating every last procurement dollar before midnight on September 30. The following pointers will help vendors begin winning in the federal market:
Complete all required registrations for federal contractors. This includes obtaining a DUNS number and completing registration with SAM, the System for Award Management. SAM has information on competitors or potential partners and teaming opportunities. SAM also provides key regulatory clauses used in federal contracting.
Additionally, consider applying for applicable certifications such as minority-owned, woman-owned, or service-disabled veteran-owned certifications that may assist in your marketing efforts. Begin researching agencies and their missions. You should utilize databases and tools available to you to research the agencies purchasing the products and/or services you provide. As you research, note the agency missions and objectives and consider how, what you provide, can assist in accomplishing that.
Agencies have a detailed approach to gathering vendor data on related past experience. Create a past project profile to have available when needed. The order of precedence for past performance is federal, state/local then commercial experience. If a vendor has no project experience, the vendor can use the experience of its key personnel.
Research consistently shows that 60 percent of the federal government’s budget is spent during the fourth quarter of the fiscal year. This is the time to accelerate business growth in the federal markets. Communicating to key agency staff such as contract officers and program managers is critical to success.
Your firm should consult professional advisors with knowledge of government regulations and an understanding of the required documents to succeed in the federal marketplace. In addition, access to capital can be part of a successful strategy to win federal business.