For vendors: federal fiscal year-end strategies & tactics (with related video)
Editor’s note: As the federal fiscal year-end approaches on Sept. 30, GPN reached out to federal government contracting expert, Gloria Larkin for her timely views on the federal marketplace. Larkin is president of TargetGov. Larkin’s thoughts follow.
Every year, up to 40 percent of the annual federal spend is finalized in the final quarter of the federal fiscal year: from July 1 through Sept. 30. These contract actions can be worth a few dollars to a few hundred million dollars. Small and large transactions will add up to a hefty $150 billion or more in business for contractors. Savvy contractors use this unique time of year to see results from building decision-maker relationships throughout the year.
The key to success is that people do business with people they know and trust. Smart contractors market themselves and their companies year-round in order to set the stage for a fiscal-year-end bump in federal sales.
Top Four Tactics for Success
1. Only reach out to those decision-makers with whom you have built a strong relationship and should recognize your name, your company and even your voice. The levels of decision-makers include: contracting, acquisition, program managers, end-users, project managers and staff. If your business is “small,” you should include the small business representatives.
2. Only reach out to decision-makers who have an identified need for your products or services. Fiscal year-end is a time to close business, not to qualify targets. Your year-round marketing efforts would have identified these needs based upon forecasts, budgets, upcoming recompetes and vendor outreach information.
3. Before you reach out, verify that you have the preferred contract vehicle your decision-makers use. For instance, if they use the GSA Schedule or Seaport-e, you must have that exact type of contract or team with a partner who does. A fallback vehicle is the versatile procurement credit card, or P-card. This can be used as any typical credit card, and is usually preferred for purchases under $3,000 per transaction.
4. Tools to use at fiscal year-end: personal telephone calls, targeted one-to-one (not mass) emails, tailored Capability Statements highlighting specific services or products the agency needs at fiscal year-end.
Now, at fiscal year-end, there are billions of dollars that federal agencies have to contract out, and they can’t do that on procurement cards or purchase cards alone. At the end of the fiscal year, federal buyers need to be able to use other contract vehicles that are specific to their agency.
Gloria Larkin is president of TargetGov. The Linthicum Heights, Md.-based firm provides consulting services and business development products that have directly resulted in clients winning billions of dollars in federal contracts, according to the company.
Larkin is a government contracting marketing and business development expert. She serves as Educational Foundation Chairman of the Board of Directors and past National Procurement Committee Co-Chair for Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP). It is a non-partisan organization representing over 6.2 million women nationwide.
Larkin is also the author of two books: “The Veterans Business Guide: How to Build a Successful Government Contracting Business” and “Basic Guide to Government Contracting.” For details, click here.
In the video, Larkin outlines the four tactics that lead to selling success at the federal fiscal year-end.