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Impact of Corona Virus

in Federal Contracting by Aisha H. Leave a comment

January 31st the President declared an emergency concerning the Cornavirus. If your company would like to supply products during a federal emergency, you need to be registered in SAM.gov as disaster response provider. I pulled this from a health supply company to show how it looks to federal buyers…

Important: If your company is not listed in the Disaster Response Registry you cannot participate in emergency funded contracts. Here is an overview from Acquisition.gov with links to instructions to get your company’s registration updated.

As the Coronavirus task force builds their response and congress approves emergency funds, expect significant challenges in obtaining products which will drive up supply costs and delivery timelines.

Database65 IIA Contract holders and other schedules that carry medical supplies and viral testing products should connect with their GSA contract managers regarding supply chain and pricing challenges. GSA contract holders, while they may be a great resource for many contracts, may experience challenges with GSA pricing maximum that preclude your ability to meet demand at current price levels.

The benefits of pricing your GSA contract right

We have provided hundreds of companies with GSA pricing advices over the years and knowing what GSA looks for will help you price your contract correctly. Whether you provide products or services, here are some tips to use when providing pricing:

  1. Get the highest acceptable price possible. Why? You can always discount your GSA pricing but you cannot go over that price without an approved economic price adjustment. So, if someone is buying on price off GSAadvantage and is 1 penny less you lose AND when an emergency like Coronavirus hits and prices increase you lose.
  2. Provide the contracting officer with pricing support. Why? I can’t tell you how many times we have helped reframe a company’s thinking on this subject and gotten rates for program managers of over $300 per hour. In every case, we did the work for the contracting officer to show them, apples for apples comparison of already accepted pricing – on existing successful GSA contracts – so we can have a higher than average price accepted by GSA. Again, you can discount this rate (which makes you look good) while having the headroom for hiring and providing resources when the going rate puts others out of the game.
  3. Make sure you have price escalation built into your GSA contract. Why? Like most federal 5 year contracts, GSA contracts are 1 year contracts with 4 option years. If you do not have price excallation built in, you are losing money next year AND the rest of the years unless you submit economic price increases. Make it easier on everyone – put those price escalations in at the start.

If you would like to schedule a Market Assessment of your GSA competitors as well as all the competitors in your SAM registered NAICS – Click here or call 888-9-GET-isi.

Register for Emergency Contracting Briefing – March 5 2019

Micro Purchases (P-Card)

in Federal Contracting by Aisha H. Leave a comment

The federal government has increased P-Card (Government Credit Card) purchases to $10,000 for most purchases. P-Cards make it easy for agencies to buy from you because the paperwork is simple and, in most cases, they can buy without a contractual obligation. Certainly, having a GSA contract (or schedule) helps validate your offering so if you have a GSA contract with products, make sure you are proactively marketing to P-Card holders. 

With approximately 200,000 P-Card holders, you can expect every agency to spend millions using these cards. Some agencies like USAID can spend up to $20,000 in the US and $30,000 outside the US.

You might want to check and make sure that you have the best rates on your credit card processing. Some companies offer rates as low as 1.5% for government P-Cards because the government is a low risk sale. GovBrief will be conducting a Procurement Briefing to review P-Card practices, identify thousands of P-Card holders. Here is a link to the session:

3 Ways to Increase GSAadvantage Sales

in Federal Contracting by Aisha H. Leave a comment

Uploading to GSAadvantage.gov is often a cumbersome process so when we do it, we need to make sure that we have the information the way GSA Advantage wants to see it.

Even more important is to compile your information so it matches how your prospective buyers want to see it.  This way when buyers are looking, your company comes to the top of the field.

When a buyer is looking for a product on GSAadvantage.gov, the default return is sorted by price.  Preliminary research indicates that price takes the day about 43% of the time – this means more than half of the purchases on GSAadvantage are not associated with price…

What Federal Buyers are looking for:

  • A company they recognize. Many buyers are reluctant to buy from a company they don’t know – even if they are not the cheapest. Steady, proactive marketing will enhance your brand recognition so if you land in the “acceptable price bracket” you can win – and still make your margins! There are ways to market your products directly to your products on GSAadvantage. Click here for more information.
  • Deliv Days. If federal buyers need what you have in a hurry they will sort looking for the fastest delivery… 1 Day Shipped is the #1. On your next contract update, consider lowering your Delivery Days. You might just start getting calls from buyers to ask if you have the product in stock.
  • Min. Most contracts have a $100 minimum order.  Since  smaller orders are often a pain for federal buyers so they will look for companies with smaller minimum orders. This can be a challenge to your profitability considering smaller orders barely break even or might incur a couple of percent loss. Let me ask a question… If you were going to try and get some business with a new buyer, how much would you spend on marketing?  Would you spend $10 on marketing to reach a buyer that gives you a shot?

On your next GSA schedule revision take a look at where your products are landing. If you cannot negotiate a better wholesale price from your manufacturers, remember building relationships with buyers is the best way to beat the system and appeal to a buying motive other than price.

Top 3 Ways to Get Shortlisted for Contracts

in Federal Contracting by Aisha H. Leave a comment

That’s right, the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) provide many ways for federal contracting officers to limit the competitive landscape to a few vendors and that means you never know about the requirement until after it is awarded and posted to FPDS.gov.

  1. “Qualified” vendors. 

Most contracting officers that have been around a while know the companies that perform well, even more importantly, the ones who don’t. 76.4% of contract awards have 5 or less respondents because Contracting Officers minimize the competition by qualifying vendors before the requirement is released using:

  • Past performance
  • Contract Vehicle
  • Subject Matter Expert Status

This is great if you are well known and have a relationship, but most qualified vendors never get included because buyers and program managers don’t even know they exist. You need to inject yourself into the conversation with the goal of proving to them that you deserve to be on the shortlist. Let them know that you can’t knock their socks off and they will be missing out on a great resource if they don’t let you to play.

2. “Choice of Two”.

The FAR states that Set-asides for socio-economic programs can be made if:

  • At least two qualified small businesses are likely to submit offers
  • The contract can be awarded at a fair market price

This means Contracting Officers can compete between as little as two qualified small businesses within ANY socio-economic category – WOSB, VOSB, SDVOSB, HUBZone or 8(a).

3. BPA calls and IDIQ Task Orders.

These are pre-established purchasing mechanisms where requirements are only circulated within the holders of these vehicles. In many cases, BPAs and IDIQs are single award and are used for repetitive purchases. If you have a great relationship with a contracting officer within a specific agency, you can ask him or her to execute a BPA using your best pricing. What do you have to lose?

3 BIG Problems with beta.SAM.gov

in Federal Contracting by Aisha H. Leave a comment

You might think I am piling on about the system dysfunctionality of being difficult to search, inaccurate responses for “active” solicitations or the fact that email updates still don’t work… Well, while all good examples of problems with beta.SAM.gov, there are much bigger issues with the new GSA opportunities system.

Just a quick overview for folks that are new to the federal market… The federal government is required by Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) to compete contracts to insure that the taxpayers (that’s you and me) are getting a good value for the dollars spent.  Talk to almost any contracting officer and they will tell you to “watch FBO (now beta.SAM.gov)”.  They might even say “I post all of my opportunities on beta.SAM.gov…”

Is this true?  Nope. 

So why do they say this? The real reason is they don’t know you and you haven’t proven that they should give you any inside information, but let’s set that aside for the moment and look at the biggest issues of beta.SAM.gov.

  1. MOST opportunities NEVER hit beta.SAM.gov.

The repository for contract awards is currently Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation which can be found at www.fpds.gov and it shows us 6,465,516 contracts were awarded in FY 2019. If we include ALL solicitations posted on beta.SAM.gov in FY 2019 you get 125,266 – less than 2%.  Where are the rest?

  1. Legally “Short Listed” requirements between 2-5 qualified vendors) make up 76% of the contracts.
  2. beta.SAM.gov is only required for contracts budgeted for $25,000 and up
  3. GSA eBuy does not hit beta.SAM.gov.
  4. Most 8(a) sole source solicitations do not hit beta.SAM.gov.
  5. Simplified Acquisitions (Less than $150k) may not hit beta.SAM.gov.
  6. IDIQ task orders, BPA calls, GWAC contract orders do not hit beta.SAM.gov.
  7. Credit Card orders (now up to $10,000) do not hit beta.SAM.gov.
  • Search does not allow for open solicitations.

As of today there are roughly 10,921 active solicitations – at least that is what beta.SAM.gov says.  Given that most opportunities close within a 30-day window for response, let’s look a little closer to see what is really there:

  1. 7,936 posted in last 30 days – more than half have closed already
  2. Historically about 12% will be pulled for some reason or another and never be awarded at all
  3. When you review the Scope of Work (SOW), 80% have been significantly influenced by competition (See #3)

3. When it hits beta.SAM.gov it is too late.

Rule #1 for us at isiFederal is: if you didn’t influence the RFP then your competitor did.  This means that if beta.SAM.gov is your first exposure to the opportunity, then you are already way behind the win curve.  Your competition has a relationship inside the agency been working on it for months (sometimes years) and has impacted the verbiage of the SOW and possibly has a relationship with all of the key decision makers that are involved with the opportunity.

So, when you take the advice from procurement or SBA when they say “Watch beta.SAM.gov”, they are really saying go and compete for the 8% that hits beta.SAM.gov that isn’t already baked for the competition.  This adds up to about 10,000 TOTAL opportunities of the 6.5 million contracts that will be awarded in 2020. There is a better way and we invite you to explore how isiFederal can help    

You might think I am piling on about the system dysfunctionality of being difficult to search, inaccurate responses for “active” solicitations or the fact that email updates still don’t work… Well, while all good examples of problems with beta.SAM.gov, there are much bigger issues with the new GSA opportunities system.

Just a quick overview for folks that are new to the federal market… The federal government is required by Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) to compete contracts to insure that the taxpayers (that’s you and me) are getting a good value for the dollars spent.  Talk to almost any contracting officer and they will tell you to “watch FBO (now beta.SAM.gov)”.  They might even say “I post all of my opportunities on beta.SAM.gov…”

Is this true?  Nope. 

So why do they say this? The real reason is they don’t know you and you haven’t proven that they should give you any inside information, but let’s set that aside for the moment and look at the biggest issues of beta.SAM.gov.

2. MOST opportunities NEVER hit beta.SAM.gov.

The repository for contract awards is currently Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation which can be found at www.fpds.gov and it shows us 6,465,516 contracts were awarded in FY 2019. If we include ALL solicitations posted on beta.SAM.gov in FY 2019 you get 125,266 – less than 2%.  Where are the rest?

  1. Legally “Short Listed” requirements between 2-5 qualified vendors) make up 76% of the contracts.
  2. beta.SAM.gov is only required for contracts budgeted for $25,000 and up
  3. GSA eBuy does not hit beta.SAM.gov.
  4. Most 8(a) sole source solicitations do not hit beta.SAM.gov.
  5. Simplified Acquisitions (Less than $150k) may not hit beta.SAM.gov.
  6. IDIQ task orders, BPA calls, GWAC contract orders do not hit beta.SAM.gov.
  7. Credit Card orders (now up to $10,000) do not hit beta.SAM.gov.
  • Search does not allow for open solicitations.

As of today there are roughly 10,921 active solicitations – at least that is what beta.SAM.gov says.  Given that most opportunities close within a 30-day window for response, let’s look a little closer to see what is really there:

  1. 7,936 posted in last 30 days – more than half have closed already
  2. Historically about 12% will be pulled for some reason or another and never be awarded at all
  3. When you review the Scope of Work (SOW), 80% have been significantly influenced by competition (See #3)
  • When it hits beta.SAM.gov it is too late.

Rule #1 for us at isiFederal is: if you didn’t influence the RFP then your competitor did.  This means that if beta.SAM.gov is your first exposure to the opportunity, then you are already way behind the win curve.  Your competition has a relationship inside the agency been working on it for months (sometimes years) and has impacted the verbiage of the SOW and possibly has a relationship with all of the key decision makers that are involved with the opportunity.

So, when you take the advice from procurement or SBA when they say “Watch beta.SAM.gov”, they are really saying go and compete for the 8% that hits beta.SAM.gov that isn’t already baked for the competition.  This adds up to about 10,000 TOTAL opportunities of the 6.5 million contracts that will be awarded in 2020. There is a better way and we invite you to explore how isiFederal can help    

If .15% chance of success is good enough for you, keep trusting beta.SAM.gov. If not, this month’s free “Federal Success 2020” webinar series will address these issues and provide the road map for finding the millions of other opportunities that will never hit beta.SAM.gov in 2020.  Join us!

If .15% chance of success is good enough for you, keep trusting beta.SAM.gov. If not, this month’s free “Federal Success 2020” webinar series will address these issues and provide the road map for finding the millions of other opportunities that will never hit beta.SAM.gov in 2020.  Join us!

September is Coming – Act NOW!

in Federal Contracting by Aisha H. Leave a comment

Believe it or not, we are ¾ of the way through the race for this fiscal year! The final quarter of the federal fiscal year is here and so is the rush to spend remaining budget. Because of budget concerns earlier in the year, agencies have been hoarding budget monies and some agencies have half of their budget left and they have to spend every single dime.

Buyers are way behind… Let’s rewind to October 1 when FY 2019 started. Spending was frozen, then the government shut down for over a month. Now add this to the already insane September spending frenzy where they have to use or lose their budget.

What is going to happen… Every year as September approaches agency heads drill down and look at what they want to do with the money. Sure, some of that money will get allocated to large projects but there will be billions spent on last minute, smaller purchases. When I say smaller, I mean thousands of $250k – $750k. Great money for small businesses and especially great for GSA schedule holders.

Want some? Move Now. The fact is your competition has been priming the pump for over 9 months.  If you wait any longer, you will not have a chance at this year’s spending. If you are not in the federal space, now is the time to get in.  This is by far my favorite time for strategic planning because we have two Septembers in the next 18 months. 

This is critical for your success and we will be discussing why this coming Tuesday at 11am EST. Register and join us for our “How To Go Federal” webinar series here:

Getting in the Game

in Federal Contracting by Aisha H. Leave a comment

As a result of immense investment, nearly a decade of systems development, and sheer determination to win, isiFederal has achieved goals that I didn’t even know existed 9 1/2 years ago. Early in my federal sales pursuit, I stopped chasing bids and started chasing the people behind the bids and it has proven to be the most important decision I ever made. After nearly a decade here is what isiFederal has done:

Unmatched Connections

  • Over 64 Million Contacts
  • 1.2 Million Federal Contacts
  • 70,000+ Federal Buyers
  • 380,000+ Prime Contacts

Superior Marketing

  • GovBrief
  • Introduction/Capabilities Campaigns
  • Unsolicited Proposal
  • Pilot & Proof of Concept
  • White Paper

Compelling Results

  • $580M+ Direct and Indirect Sales
  • New Relationship Development
  • Repeated Success

Unlimited Potential

The federal government will spend over $310B in the next 5 months – guaranteed. Most of this spending will happen July – September so now is the time to lace ‘em up, get on the field and get in the game.

Winning federal contracts will:

  • Diversify your company
  • Stabilize your revenue
  • Increase your company’s value

If you are new to the game, struggling or just want to WIN… isiFederal is the right partner. We will map out the game plan, draw out the plays and get on the court with you so we can WIN.

7 Tips for winning in 2020…

in Federal Contracting by Aisha H. Leave a comment

Winning in the federal market is a matter of planning and positioning and right now your competitors have the upper hand – THAT CAN CHANGE!  You will WIN when you start injecting your company as a key player with key decision makers who spend the money.  During our 2020 Selling To the Government sessions we will be reviewing and discussing best practices on how you can do this: 

1.    Get Smart.  How can you pursue federal buyers that you don’t even know who they are?.  isiFederal’s Market Essentials  is the best way to find the rest of the people behind the opportunities and prioritize them by activity within your sweet spot.  Market Essentials provides you with the road map – specifically for your company – by identifying who matters most to you.  Knowing this you can get moving and go after them.  Need some help? isiFederal’s support team actively targets and pursues thousands of buyers every single month. 

2.    Identify Gaps.  Every business needs help and 93% need some help with business development processes and activities.  Where are your gaps and will it take for you to be successful? Dedication to the cause.  isiFederal can quickly show you what it takes and what you need. 

3.    Budget. Did you know that the average successful small business federal contractor spends over $165k per year in federal marketing and business development? That’s right. There is nothing fast easy or cheap about winning federal contracts.  If it was, everyone would be able to win federal contracts.  Need some help? isiFederal provides dedicated representation for less than half of hiring someone on staff.  We also provide inside and outside sales support so you can get in front of key decision makers. 

4.    Get Proactive.  If you want to win, you better be going after your competitors’ buyers starting NOW. April through June is your chance to get positioned before the money is allocated for 2019 spending this September.  Using creative ways to get in front of – and stay in front of – key decision makers will make the difference of whether you win or you let your competitors win.  Need some help?  isiFederal has several innovative ways to get you remembered as a subject matter expert so you get the attention you deserve. 

5.    Give Them the “WHY”.  The fact is federal buyers already have relationships with your competitors and, for the most part, they are satisfied. What you are asking them to do is take money from someone they know, and give it to you instead.  If that is going to happen in 2019, you better have the right answer to the “WHY”.  Need some help? isiFederal can help you hone your message to what matters to THEM so they will understand WHY you are important. 

6.    Get Ahead of the RFP. Rule #1 is if you didn’t influence the RFP then your competitor did.  Opportunities come from people, not FBO or even GSA eBuy. Did you know that most winnable opportunities are competed between less than 5 companies?  You want to be one of the 5 and you get there by people liking you. Need help? isiFederal can provide you with the expertise to help you bridge the gap and save you hundreds of thousands at the same time. 

7.    Stay the course. Give yourself 24-36 months to develop traction and you will beat the vast majority of the competitors in the federal market. This is what the incumbents did – you can do it too! Need help?  isiFederal provides support services that can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars and guarantee success within 18 months. 

To be effective in 2020 you need to know about the market and fill the gaps in your resources and isiFederal can help you do exactly that. For more information visit www.isifederal.com or call 888-9-GET-isi (888-943-8474) and no matter what, please join us for our free monthly session “Selling to the Government” and get an understanding of what it takes to win federal contracts and how we can help.

5 reasons 81% of contracts never hit FBO

in Federal Contracting by Aisha H. Leave a comment

We all hear it from Contracting Officers… “We post everything on FBO.” Do they now, or is this a convenient blow-off?  In reviewing recent market intelligence in the

  1. Shortlisted between “Qualified” businesses.  Most contracting officers that have been around a while know the companies that perform well, even more importantly, the ones who don’t. Some ways Contracting Officers determine their shortlist include:
    1. Past performance
    1. Capabilities Briefing
    1. GSA contract holders by SIN
  2. “Choice of Two”. The FAR states that Set-asides for socio-economic programs can be made if:
    1. At least two qualified small businesses are likely to submit offers
    1. The contract can be awarded at a fair market price

This means Contracting Officers can compete between as little as two qualified small businesses within ANY socio-economic category – WOSB, VOSB, SDVOSB, HUBZone or 8(a).

  • Under $25,000. The FAR states “For proposed contract actions expected to exceed $15,000, but not expected to exceed $25,000, by displaying in a public place, or by any appropriate electronic means”. This means Contracting Officers can place the requirement on a bulletin board in a common area within their office. If you are not there, or you don’t know the contracting officer, you never see it.
  • Micro Purchases. The new P-card (purchase card) threshold is $10,000 and some of the 200,000 employees have authority to spend over $100k.
  • Existing Contract Vehicles. BPA calls and IDIQ Task Orders are only circulated within the holders of these vehicles. In many cases, BPAs and IDIQs are single award and are used for repetitive purchases. If you have a great relationship with a contracting officer within a specific agency, you can ask him or her to execute a BPA using your best pricing. What do you have to lose?

In all of these cases knowing the people responsible for purchasing is critical to your success. isiFederal is the leader in federal intelligence and proactive federal marketing. We have over 1.2 Million federal contacts, 70,000 active federal buyers AND we know who buys what you sell.  We don’t stop there. isiFederal can get your company in front of federal decision makers within the next 60 days. We do this for fortune 500 companies, and we can do it for you… Call 888-943-8474 (888-9-GET-isi) and we will get your proactive federal marketing program going today!

Are you ready for the Madness?

in Federal Contracting by Aisha H. Leave a comment

We are nearly half way through FY2019 and almost every federal agency is behind in spending their piece of $1.2 Trillion. If you want some, you better be in front of decision makers in the next 60 days…

Contract research shows that companies that start marketing in before the end of May win 90% more than companies that start after June 1. Why?

1) Increased workload

2) Summer Vacations

3) Budget planning (for 2020)

What is going to happen..

Every year, as September approaches, agency heads drill down and look at what they want to do with the money. Sure, some of that money will get allocated to large projects but there will be billions spent on last minute, smaller purchases.

When I say smaller, I mean thousands of $250k – $750k new and re-competed projects. Great money for small businesses and especially great for GSA schedule holders.

Want some? Move Now! The fact is your competition has been priming the pump for over 6 months and some incumbents have been winning these contracts for years.

Rules of the Game

in Federal Contracting by Aisha H. Leave a comment

Manage Your Expectations. Most, and I mean most, 80%+ of companies that attempt to get in the federal space fail within the first 12 months. Another 10%-15% fail by 18 months, leaving less than 5% surviving past 24 months.  So you can look at it as incredible risk, or you may see this as the market thinning out your competition. The ones that make it not only survive – they thrive. 

Budget for Success. Did you know that the average successful small business federal contractor spends over $165k per year in federal marketing and business development? That’s right. This is the #1 challenge in federal marketing because you can spend that kind of money and still not get a dime if you are riding the wrong horse. It is highly likely the people you need are not on your payroll right now.  Look for force multipliers… the people, partners, trusted advisers that can help reduce the learning curve and accelerate your position.

Be Proactive.  You can’t sit on the bench and expect someone to let you take a shot. If you want to win, you better be going after your competitors’ buyers NOW. March through June is your chance to get positioned before the money is allocated for 2019 spending this September

Get Ahead of the RFP.  Rule #1 is if you didn’t influence the RFP then your competitor did.  Opportunities come from people, not FBO or even GSA eBuy. Did you know that most winnable opportunities are competed between less than 5 companies?  You want to be one of the 5 and you get there by people liking you.

Stay the Course. Give yourself 24-36 months to develop traction and you will beat the vast majority of the competitors in the federal market. This is what the incumbents did – you can do it too!

Get off the Bench

in Federal Contracting by Aisha H. Leave a comment

Getting in the Game

As a result of immense investment, nearly a decade of systems development, and sheer determination to win, isiFederal has achieved goals that I didn’t even know existed 9 1/2 years ago. Early on I stopped chasing bids and started chasing the people behind the bids and it has proven to be the most important decision I ever made. After nearly a decade here is what isiFederal has done:

Unmatched Connections

  • Over 4 Million Contacts
  • 1.2 Million Federal Contacts
  • 60,000+ Federal Buyers
  • 380,000+ Prime Contacts

Superior Marketing

  • GovBrief
  • Introduction/Capabilities Campaigns
  • Unsolicited Proposal
  • Pilot & Proof of Concept
  • White Paper

Compelling Results

  • $580M+ Direct and Indirect Sales
  • New Relationship Development
  • Repeated Success

Unlimited Potential

The federal government will spend over $400B in the next 7 months – guaranteed. Most of this spending will happen July – September so now is the time to lace ‘em up, get on the court and get in the game.

Winning federal contracts will:

  • Diversify your company
  • Stabilize your revenue
  • Increase your company’s value

If you are new to the game, struggling or just want to WIN… isiFederal is the right partner. We will map out the game plan, draw out the plays and get on the court with you so we can WIN.

Do’s and Don’ts of the 2018 Shutdown

in Federal Contracting by Aisha H. Leave a comment

Don’t Target Affected Agencies

The shutdown affects each agency differently. GovExec published a handy chart to show which agencies are most affects by the shutdown.  In most instances, procurement and contractors are affected at the same rate. This means you probably won’t be able to make any headway with these agencies during the shutdown.

Do Pursue Other Avenues

If your core business is in one of the largely affected agencies (like National Park Service), Now is a great time to market to other agencies that could be buying from you. One of the best ways to find these agencies is isiFederal Market Essentials intelligence research. This intel will give you a clear view of what your competition is winning, where and most importantly who is buying.

Don’t Panic

Don’t let the politics of the shutdown get in the way of your federal strategy. Whether you love or hate what is happening in DC, at the end of the day, money is going to be flowing with huge implications this September.

Do Prepare for Life After Shutdown

Getting to decision makers is still your best avenue to success and you can be getting prepared right now to get in front of key decision makers (see the next article). So, who needs to know about you after the shutdown?That depends on what you sell but in most instances there are 3 or key decision makers in each opportunity including:

Contracting Officers – Job is to procure and work out the contractual details.

Project Managers – Responsible for assembling requirements and defining required capabilities.

Technical Representatives – Responsible for bridging the gap with requirements and contracting.

Join me for Getting Ahead of RFPs 2018 to help differentiate your company and win in 2019!


GSA By The Numbers

in Federal Contracting by Aisha H. Leave a comment

The feds usually spend about $500B every year on contracts.  This year that number is nearly $1.2 Trillion and that means significant increases across all contracting vehicles – including GSA. Every sale over micro-purchase (recently increased to $10,000 max) requires some kind of competed contract vehicle to meet the requirements of the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR).

Between June of 2017 and June 2018 over $39 Billion of federal spending went through GSA schedules.  As of November 1st there are 17,289 active schedule holders held by 14,346 companies (some companies have multiple schedules). Looking at the Budget for 2019, sales are could exceed $50 Billion – That would be record since GSA sales in 2017 were down to $32 Billion.

Now for the real news… GSA reports $39B in sales between June 2017 and June 2018 was won by around 7,756 companies… That means 9,533 schedule holders are under-performing – on pace for less than $25,000 per year – the minimum required by GSA to keep the schedule.  So, the winners are averaging over $5 Million in federal sales through their GSA schedules and the rest of the companies are in the process of failing and failing miserably.

Why? Simple: GSA doesn’t sell for you, you need to sell your GSA.

GSA schedules are by far the easiest contract vehicles to obtain and very useful as tools for obtaining federal sales – BUT they don’t bring sales by themselves. In fact, GSA gives new companies TWO years to make the first $25k… You have to ask yourself why? I’ll tell you… it’s because it isn’t easy and you need to get out there and go after business- not just wait for orders from GSA Advantage or opportunities to hit GSA eBuy. You need to get proactive and go after these people.

Getting in front of federal decision makers is the key to GSA success. If you can’t succeed in FY2019, you will never have a better shot. You need to identify buyers in your market, get to them and make sure you are one of the qualified GSA schedule holders they remember when they need what you sell.

 

MythBusting Federal Buyers

in Federal Contracting by Aisha H. Leave a comment

There are three major issues that I work with everyday to help break into the federal space. The first, “I don’t know who to call”. That we solve with Market Essentials. Second, “I can’t get through”. That we help with introductions and GovBrief marketing campaigns. Third, when you actually reach people they tell you…

Myth 1) “We list everything on FBO.”

BUSTED. According to the Federal Procurement Data System in Fiscal Year 2018 4,701,543 contracts were executed yet only 204,061 solicitations actually hit FBO. Where are the rest?

a) CO’s are only required to list opportunities that are budgeted for greater than $25k.
b) GSA does not require listing on FBO
c) IDIQ task orders are not listed on FBO
d) BPA calls are not listed on FBO
e) Minimally competed “choice of two” or “Short Listed” opportunities don’t hit FBO
f) Simplified Acquisitions (now $250k) do not have to be listed on FBO
g) Micro purchases (now $10k) do not post on FBO

Want to find the people behind these opportunities click here to join us for “Getting Ahead of RFPs” Tuesday November 13th at 11AM.

Myth 2) “We don’t maintain our own vendor database.”

1/2 BUSTED. True, they don’t maintain a database – they just simply have “short-listed” vendor relationships. If you are not “short-listed” you get sent to FBO. Over 80% of what they buy is competed between from less than 5 preferred companies. They don’t need a database because they already know the people who will be responding already and unless you are one of them, you get sent to FBO.

Want to get on the “short-list”? Join us for “Getting Ahead of RFPs” Tuesday November 13th at 11AM.

Myth 3) We don’t meet with vendors.

BUSTED. Buyers and program managers absolutely meet with vendors BUT they don’t meet with vendor just because you ask. Think about it, do you meet with everyone that asks? Of course not. You need to have a good reason to meet with people and that is usually because they made a connection that piqued your interest. If you are having problems getting meetings it is probably because you need to adjust your approach, so you resonate quickly with your target audience. If you need help with this check out GovBrief (www.GovBrief.us) and see if you being a Subject Matter Expert (SME) will help you get meetings with key decision makers.

Want to get meetings with decision makers? Join us for “Getting Ahead of RFPs” Tuesday December 11th at 11AM.

What you can do…

These are typical and intentional blow-offs to weed out the riff-raff from the qualified companies with dedicated people who really want to do federal business. Many buyers want to make sure you are in it for the long haul. They already have resources to buy from so you need to make sure they know you are serious and you understand what they need. What they are really saying is “Get Serious or Stay Out”. Are you serious? Are you ready? Join us Tuesday November s13th and see if you have what it takes to make it in the federal market.

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