I often ask clients if they have an understanding of what federal agency they would like to sell to? The response I usually get is an emphatic “All of them!” I typically advise people to narrow down their focus because the federal government works a lot like the 80/20 rule, almost all of a firm’s sales for the first few years they are selling to the government will come from a single agency.
What agency do you want to sell to?
This is therefore the first question you should ask yourself before falling into the danger of adopting a haphazard approach. I advocate putting in the time and conducting the necessary market research to find who in the federal government buys your product(s) and/or service(s). During this process a firm should determine the needed contracting vehicles for selling to target agencies and work to obtain those vehicles, as this often takes time. As part of this strategy the firm should focus on three initial agencies, then over time the firm generally focuses on a single agency that provides the majority of its work. It has been my experience that firms that follow this strategy are conducting what I believe to be “federal government best practices”. Over time my experience tells us these firms achieve better results than their peers.
Below, I list the various agency’s small business help websites, areas of their websites that focus on the small business selling to them. Please do not think that I am advocating for a federal “scatter” approach to marketing and sales. Do not target all of these agencies, please. However, it is also important early on to gain as much insight/understanding/lingo, making contact with your target agencies as quickly as possible. The following list of agency websites that are dedicated to helping small businesses “break into” the federal marketplace should prove helpful if explored properly.
Some of these sites are more useful than others:
Department of Justice: https://www.justice.gov/osdbu/doing-business-department-justice
Department of the Interior: https://www.doi.gov/pmb/osdbu/doingbusiness
National Science Foundation: https://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dcca/contracts/contproc.jsp
Nuclear Regulatory Commission: https://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/contracting.html
Smithsonian Institute: https://www.si.edu/OEEMA/SupplierDiversity
Social Security Administration: https://www.ssa.gov/osdbu/
US Postal Service: https://about.usps.com/doing-business/welcome.htm
You will notice that some of these agencies offer courses on how to find work, others have business liaisons, while others offer some simple tips. Gaining as much exposure to your target agency is an important part of Business-to-Government marketing and sales. If you need assistance navigating the process, I always recommend contacting an industry expert such as ez8a or Fedvital. Neither charge for an initial consultation.