Here’s what it takes for contractors to win at the end of the federal fiscal year
Editor’s note: Contractors can choose from a variety of strategies that can help them win federal contracts. What follows is another in GPN’s series on selling strategies as the end of federal fiscal year 2017 approaches on Sept. 30. GPN contacted Jennifer Schaus to find out what works in federal selling as FY 2017 draws to a close.
Jennifer Schaus runs JSchaus & Associates in downtown Washington D.C. The firm provides a la carte services to U.S. federal government contractors worldwide. The services include: proposal writing, GSA Schedules processing and capture, contract administration and more. For more information visit this site. Below you’ll find Schaus’ views.
A hot Washington D.C. summer ultimately leads to the spending frenzy of our uber-wealthy Uncle Sam, with billions in his deep pockets. From services to products, our government buys it all. The federal fiscal year runs October 1 through September 30, with the biggest spending in Q4. This “use it or lose it” policy equates to a competitive landscape with no prize for second place.
Various data analyses indicate high government contractor confidence and an eagerness to capitalize on low-hanging fruit and relationships that have been built with direct agency heads and prime contractors in Q4. These winning firms have characteristics separating them from the pack, including but certainly not limited to:
1 – Market Analysis and Strategy
Successful firms leverage publicly available data to understand where they have the best ROI, what opportunities to turn down and what opportunities to pursue. They leverage budget forecast, solicitation requirements and get to know the players months (if not years) in advance. They have a defined strategy and not a knee-jerk reaction to every request for proposal (RFP) that includes their NAICS.
2 – Facilitate the Procurement Process
Companies that are winning big are making it easy for the government to find them and purchase with confidence at a fair and reasonable rate. Contract vehicles such as GSA Schedules accomplish just this. The GSAadvantage.gov website functions similar to Amazon; it allows buyers to easily click and purchase knowing the sellers have been vetted and prices have been pre-negotiated.
3 – Capitalize on Teaming and Partnering
It’s all about who you know. With risk-averse (and price conscious) government buyers, businesses need to earn their trust through solid capabilities, past performance and relationships. There is no shortage of small businesses and set-asides. Within this pool, there is a shortage of qualified businesses with experience. Experience takes time! Working as a sub-contractor or teaming partner can help build the network, relationships and experience that resembles the profile of the winners.
While there is no magic formula, being consistently successful in this competitive industry takes time, hard work and grit.
Editor’s note: GPN will be spotlighting government buying and selling opportunities as the end of the federal fiscal year approaches. The topic will be discussed in a series of four Use It or Lose It e-newsletters that will be deployed in July and August before the end of the federal fiscal year on Sept 30, 2017.
Please email [email protected] if you’d like to submit a commentary on what federal buyers and contractors need to do before the end of the federal fiscal year, the federal marketplace or similar topic. Go here for a sample issue of the free Use It or Lose It e-newsletter.