Positioning for an opportunity starts months, sometimes years before an opportunity reaches the RFP stage. By the time something hits Fed Biz Ops, it is too late. You need to be in front of the right people with the right message early so they know you are serious about competing for the business. There are a few rules to follow when deciding to chase an opportunity:
Rule#1- If you didn’t influence the RFP, someone else did.
Rule#2- The larger the opportunity, the more influence you need. Be realistic about what you can win right now. Plan for competing for the larger contracts as you gain traction in an agency and have the connetivilty to affect the scope, requirements and certifications.
Rule#3- Cover as many of the decision makers as you can. Unlike commercial procurement, in most instances there are 3 key decision makers in each opportunity.
Contracting Officer– Job is to procure
Project Manager– Responsible for assembling requirements
Technical Representative– Responsible for bridging the gap with requirements and contracting. Every one of these people have different roles and different buying motives . Make sure your message is tailored appropriately.
I was looking through a recent construction association magazine about how bidding competition is off the charts in just about every construction field. Construction companies that were up against 4 or 5 bidders two years ago are now bidding against 25, 30 even 50 competitors today. Some of the construction folks I met with last week are seeing larger competitors try to make up for lost revenues by competing in new or smaller markets.
85% of federal opportunities have less than 4 competitors…
We recently compiled a federal intelligence report for our utility construction client located on the east coast… Over the past two years $3.9 Billion was spent with contractors on various forms of utility construction for the federal government and ¼ of the opportunities had only ONE response. 85% of the 11657 of the contracts awarded had less than 4 responses. That’s $2.7 B in awards that had less than 4 competitors.
Big successes for Small Businesses…
The largest “Small Business” contract discovered through intelligence was awarded in November of 2009 for a water and sewer project in New Orleans. The contract was won by Pennsylvania’s DV & Associates $31,186,659.20 and – get this – they are being paid in progress payments for percentage of completion. This helps offset bonding requirements and keep cash flow high. Even in this opportunity – only 9 offers were received.
Road and Roof Construction from Virginia landed over $25M in bite size chunks averaging $46k per job. TP Enterprises, Inc from Oklahoma won $14.5M, Sabre Communications Corp out of Iowa banked over $4.2M and has seven more zero dollar contracts that will help them minimize their competition over the next several years. This is great work at a great time and with minimal competition, is absolutely winnable.
More information from this Construction Intelligence:
Federal spending spikes 350% in September
Average contract size for utility work $413k
395 contracts for $321M were solicited to Small Businesses and No Responses were received
1569 contracts for $228M were solicited to Disadvantaged Businesses and No responses
1308 contracts for $556M were not solicited to Small Disadvantaged Business because the contracting officer didn’t know of one.
Dispelling the Federal Myth…
True, the federal space is confusing and time consuming. That is no different than when you got into business in the first place. There are three things you need to make your federal strategy successful:
1) If you rethink your timetable for return on investment. Turn your 1 year goal into a 3 year goal.
2) Find out what works. If other companies in your space are doing it, you can too. Learn how they are doing it and do what they do.
3) Build relationships with the right people. People buy from people, even in the government, and relationships trump check boxes every single time. That is how the big boys win and how the small businesses explode. Triple Canopy started in 2003 and have since sold over $1B to the government.
4) Understand the procurement process. Every agency is different, every sub agency has its nuances, and every person has their own buying motives.
5) Dedicate resources. You need to be face to face with decision makers.
Want to get smart about your federal market?
“Last year I was looking for ways to find high probability targets. isiFederal provided exactly what we needed and now we are gaining access to opportunities that we would never have seen. The fact that they are in DC every day make all the difference in building relationships at the right level.”
Brendan Skelly, President LINQ Services, Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Initial Intelligence $299
This is our most introductory report. It will answer the underlying question of most business owners… Is there my kind of work out there? We can tell you for sure if there is enough activity for your offerings before you spend thousands trying to find it.
Find out where the federal market is for your services
Competition and Award report for your product or service offering
Identify Top Purchasing Agencies that are spending money now
Contact and Competitive Intelligence $3,000.00 Click here for Sample Excel.
This is our most popular report because it gives you competitive information and contact information –including e-mails – for who is responsible for spending the money. If you want to be considered for business in September, you need to be in front of federal decision makers by the end of July.
Identify Purchasing Agencies currently using your products and services
Identify and Verify Contracting Officers (with contact information)
Complete list of all competitors, who bought from them and how much they got paid
Identify Top Purchasing Agencies
Identify Top Contracting Offices
Identify Top NAICS
Breakdown by PSC
Action plan for pursuit
*This report takes 12 business days to complete.
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