Make it easy
Contracting officers are busy people. One thing all procurement people look for is an easy way to fulfill the obligations of the contract. If you don’t have a contract vehicle, that means a ton of work for the contracting officer. There are exceptions to this rule like an emergency contract or sole source for a unique offering but most of the time contracting officers will make it difficult to move through procurement, even if you have a strong relationship with an advocate.
The political fallout of bad decisions infects the government decision making process to such a degree that almost all stakeholders are risk averse. New ideas, processes, products, services and yes, new contractors present a significant issue for risk averse decision makers. As a result, ALL stakeholders are looking for a cover for their decision. That cover can come in many forms.
Relationship cover –
- “top-down” sales model where the administrator or director gives tacit initial approval or
- consensus development where the person who likes you builds support across all stakeholders.
Policy & procedural cover-
- Generally accepted form of purchasing like pre-competed GSA schedules or BPA’s
- Agency or government wide BPA
- Memorandum from Agency or Governing Agency like OMB, OAG, OIG
- Good- References in other areas of the federal government
- Better- References within the agency on other projects
- Best – references from within the agency on similar projects
For the whole text, download a free copy of Dave Lowe's Doing Business With the Government Handbook.