A federal contracting agency can begin preparing for contract wins years in advance of the actual solicitations. Furthermore, in today’s very competitive business-to-government (B2G) market, winning among government contractors competing for federal contracts requires the combined efforts of business development (BD), capture management, proposal teams, and marketing/public relations (PR).
What is Federal Contracting?
The federal government provides funding for research and development through grants, contracts, cooperation agreements, and other transaction arrangements. These agreements are methods of procurement, mostly used to buy goods or services directly for the US Government.
They demand regular reporting and great accountability and are subject to stringent terms and conditions, including those from the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). Criminal or civil fines may follow noncompliance with the contract and failure to fulfill deliverables on schedule and within budget.
Federal procurement strategies, procedures, and grant administration criteria do not apply to other Transaction Agreements (OTAs). Whether the University is the primary receiver or a subcontractor, the Federal Contracts Services Team processes OTAs and subcontracts.
Business Development for Federal Contracting Opportunities
When an agency is aware of your identity before receiving your proposal, your chances of securing a federal contract greatly increase. Bidding on government contracts is an annual procedure by companies that consistently obtain government contracts. They use the business development lifecycle to position the firm, find opportunities, plan, prepare, and present bids after defining their markets and go-to-market strategy. Following that, government contractors carry out operations to bolster winning bids for their imperative contracts.
Identifying Opportunities and Positioning
Positioning efforts aim to increase a company’s visibility to the organizations with which it wants to conduct business. Collaboration across business development, capture management, proposals, marketing, and public relations is essential to winning government contracts. Start by focusing on prospective possibilities that fit the company’s objectives and reach out to organizations that are anticipated to send out requests for proposals (RFPs).
Starting, it’s advised to establish the business as a “thought leader,” post on social media, create blogs for the business and the industry, and write bylined pieces for important trade publications. Join relevant trade groups, go to conferences and industry exhibitions where agency staff members are present, and receive insider knowledge and contacts from the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU).
Join an existing team within the targeted agency, request introductions from partner contractors to key agency personnel, schedule meetings with contracting and program offices, use market research to gather customer and program intelligence for upcoming opportunities, prepare early-stage proposal products (resumes, past performance) and recommend whether or not to pursue each opportunity.
To decide which prospects your cross-functional team will explore, establish an internal review board. In order to optimize the likelihood of successes consistent with your entire go-to-market plan, use resources, including money, people, and hours, wherever feasible.
Between the time a contract is decided upon and the Request for Information (RFP) publication, capture management is an essential procedure designed to boost the likelihood of securing a government contract. Its two primary goals are preparing a proposal and preparing the government for an award. The intention is to instill a sense of comfort and trust in the government market by raising expectations that the firm will deliver exactly what it desires.
In order to convey the idea that the business is well-known in the sector, the team works closely with industry and consumer media sources throughout this phase. This entails monitoring influential customers, going to speeches, obtaining program information, and creating a preliminary capture strategy.
In addition, the team assists with customer need analysis and requirements definition, reviews the Request for Information (RFI), attends Industry Day in order to secure the contract, publishes relevant content on social media and blogs about the education sector, and drafts white papers, articles, and blogs on RFI-related subjects.
After the first bid/no bid decision, the capture management phase comes to an end, and program and proposal managers focus their efforts on developing and preparing the contracts that are thereafter pursued.
Before the formal publication, federal contracting offices frequently disclose draft RFPs, giving teams time to plan their winning bids. This covers the pricing, partnership choices, make/buy strategy, proposal management plan, and proposal outline. Finding a company’s strengths and weaknesses, neutralizing strengths, and emphasizing positive discriminators are the objectives of the winning strategy.
The team will use the draft RFP as a guide while crafting the proposal, highlighting credentials showing they have completed work of the necessary scale and scope. This involves increasing the number of encounters with customers, obtaining intelligence, and using the capture plan’s solution techniques.
In addition, the team will create team agreements, carry out nondisclosure agreements (NDAs), assist customers in defining their needs and requirements, establish a baseline offering, receive, review, and provide feedback on the draft request for proposals (RFP), update previous performance and capabilities descriptions, create the executive summary, maintain a proactive thought leadership presence, and modify market messaging as winning themes become clear.
An extensive self-evaluation and competitive analysis go into the bid/no bid decision. Starting with a SWOT analysis is a smart idea since it may address issues like the company’s ability to convince the government to choose it, its prior performance and capacities to move into the role, and its availability of proposal development resources.
Conducting a candid, cooperative evaluation that includes a roundtable conversation with key stakeholders or using a structured checklist with predetermined questions and ratings attached can be required. Since historical performance and customer-identified strengths or distinctions may be absent, it is often advisable not to bid.
Proposal Development and Submission
When submitting a bid on an RFP, use your evaluation to help you craft your proposal, allocate the appropriate resources, and offer cooperative assistance to tell your best narrative.
Complete the pre-proposal meeting, establish the connections between your team and subcontractors, and create a proposal development schedule that includes deadlines for pricing, solution descriptions, and draft reviews.
Consider paid and unpaid media choices while addressing the challenges that motivated the RFP to become prominent in the market. While developing the proposal, create a microsite as a resource for the client. Complete the last round of solution management, legal, and financial assessments before submitting your proposal.
Partnering is essential for B2G marketers to secure federal government contracts. Promising contractors pledge to work as a cohesive team from the outset of strategy development to proposal submission. It takes a four-way cooperative “grand slam” to maximize company resources and secure additional funding for government contracts. This cooperation is crucial from the start to the filing of the proposal.