Success in the Federal Marketplace does not happen by random chance, it must be prepared for. I am going to go over Ten Pointers that all firms that wish to market to the federal government should follow.
10 Great Federal Marketing Pointers
1. Focus your marketing efforts on two to three federal agencies. This way you can learn them inside and out, know their terminology, and what is critical for them to fulfill their mission.
2. Make it at least a weekly habit to monitor beta.sam.gov and other federal bulletin boards for ongoing opportunities. It is true that some of the opportunities already have a front runner by the time they are posted on beta.sam.gov. However, many of the solicitations are posted because the contracting officer does not have a good prospect already identified. Finding a few good opportunities per year makes monitoring these sites well worth the effort.
3. Obtaining a GSA Schedule Contract for your business can be critical. Construction and Architecture firms are generally not eligible but for almost all other firms, a GSA Schedule adds tremendous value. The average small business with a GSA Schedule sells $1MM per year to the federal government from this contracting vehicle. Therefore, spending the time, money and effort to obtain a GSA Schedule provides a great return on this investment.
4. If your firm is very new to government contracting and has a limited budget for consulting or market research firms there are still plenty of options. Gaining assistance from the Small Business Administration, Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC), and/or Service Corps of Retired Executives can help. Generally, this process is not as quick to get a firm up to speed as paid services, however, in the absence of other alternatives, it is far better than doing nothing.
5. Develop a Quick Pitch for your business. This should convey the most important message about your firm in under 30 seconds. A pitch to government buyers needs to be fine-tuned from what you would normally use for private sector buyers, but having rehearsed this in advance, will keep you from blowing your effort at a major opportunity.
6. Build or obtain lists and begin your email marketing campaigns to reach federal buyers. Be careful not to attempt to make contact with them more than once per month. However, a well-tailored campaign can greatly boost your federal sales awareness, as well as sales.
7. Keep abreast of all IDIQ Contracts and GWACs that become available in your industry. These are the “Crown Jewel” contracts for your industry. Although IDIQ contracts do not assure you will make a sale, they give your firm a tightly focused niche market that generally outperforms other federal marketing efforts.
8. It is critical for future sales that when you make a sale, you provide a high level of service to your federal client. We recommend you do whatever it takes to get as high a rating as possible. This generally means manage your past performance through communication with your end user and contracting officer to make sure you are exceeding expectations.
9. Working at anticipating your potential federal buyer’s needs. This can lead to making your customers' life easier, as well as add on sales.
10. Know what makes your firm exceptional. You need to learn who your competitors are within the agencies you work with, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. This will help you further define your federal niche, giving federal employees a reason to reach out when the appropriate contracts and work should be directed your way.
Should you need some assistance making sure you are properly preparing your business for federal contracting, I always recommend contacting an industry expert such as Fedvital. They can be reached at (859)360-1320.