We have been getting a lot of questions about federal government contracting in 2009 and contracting during the Obama administration coming in later this month. So we decided to pass on our insights and recommendations to our blog's readers.
One thing President-elect Obama has promised is change. But what does that mean? Does this mean less government spending? That is yet to be seen. In the interim, we're still operating off of President Bush's last budget, however the Obama team has already sent in advance people to meet with agency personnel. Will opportunities in the hopper be canceled? We won't know until the new administration is in place. What it does mean is companies have to ramp up their marketing efforts and get in front of opportunities BEFORE they hit the streets.
D2DInc works with companies to help them win and management government contracts. We see a direct correlation between a company's ability to win a contract and the amount of advance work they do. The time to get started on a proposal is before the opportunity is in the procurement phase. This is easier said than done. Companies must retrain themselves on how and which government procurements they pursue.
We recommend the following activities.
- Look at your products and services and make sure that what you sell is in line with what the government purchases.
- Review and update your marketing plans quarterly.
- Identify your potential customers, opportunities, competition and teaming partners. Budgets change -- do you know where the money is?
- Attend agency industry days and conferences. Knowledge is powerful, but relationships are essential. People buy from companies that know and trust. A proposal submission isn't the time to introduce yourself to your potential customer.
- Provide training to the personnel who will be working on proposals -- before the RFP is released. This way they know what to expect, how to do it and how to juggle supporting their customer with meeting proposal deadlines.
- Update your proposal library on a regular basis. Save time and make sure your past performance citations and employee resumes are up-to-date on an on-going basis.
- Do a financial review and make sure your direct and indirect cost rates are in line with industry accepted numbers.
- We are procurement process experts and help companies successfully navigate government procurement. Our advice to contractors is to make evaluating your contracting practices and direction of your marketing efforts standard company policy.
Here's to a successful 2009!