Blog | 05.13.21
By Danni BallImg 4543

How to Predict Your Next Government Contract Win – Or at Least Find Winnable Opportunities Faster

No one is a mind reader. Nor can any company firmly guarantee a government contract win before all proposals are reviewed. (Remember, public sector procurement is conducted via fair and open competitive processes, with safeguards in place to prevent bias, fraud and abuse).

However, business-to-government (B2G) sales planning is no different than business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) sales planning. Just like retailers conduct market research to understand their target demographics – who’s buying what, when, and why – companies that want to aggressively, or just more strategically, pursue government sales opportunities can forecast when certain contracts may be re-competed or when certain categorical solicitations are likely to increase. How? Using past agency procurement trends and government sector buying patterns.


For example: Government agencies typically have a lot of money to spend at the end of every fiscal year, and they want – really need – to spend it fast. Especially in the last 30-60 days. That means that nearly* every state and local government-funded agency is going to increase their competitive bid solicitations in April, May and June each year, and federal agencies are likely to initiate their annual spending sprees between August and September.

But not every type of procurement can happen fast, so government agencies aim to make “easy buys” such as technology hardware and software, furniture, and other commodities. The rate of construction contracts awards also increases in the last four months of the federal fiscal year as agencies prepare for infrastructure projects scheduled to start in the next fiscal year.

Now, just because agencies may continue to make purchases up until the last minute (literally, 11:59pm of the last day of the fiscal year), does not mean you should wait until the last minute to pitch your goods and services. Many agencies will make end-of-year buys from vendors on open statewide or co-op contracts; contracts that are secured and negotiated months in advance.

 

Whether you want to compete for multiple contracts or just find that one “perfect” contract to boost your business with the government this year, the key is to be more proactive, not reactive.

  • You must pay really close attention to government solicitation posting boards – or have an automatic daily email notification coming from a service such as Periscope Supplier to Government (S2G) – if you want to uncover every RFP/IFB opportunity that’s relevant for your business, have time to confirm your resource availability, and have the maximum amount of time available to prepare (hopefully several) winning proposals.
  • Speaking of research: You need to know which agencies are buying goods and services you sell, how much they have spent in the past on contracts similar to the one you’re pursuing, and what your competitors are charging the government for their goods and services – especially in competitive bid situations where price is the only contract award determinant. Post-award debriefings (for other proposals you’ve submitted) and simply talking to the customer are extremely beneficial in uncovering pricing data and identifying historical agency spend trends. As are public records.
  • Speak to the customer – before, during, and after a solicitation is posted. We’ve said it before, but relationships matter. The best way to “predict” potential opportunities is by speaking directly with the source of the solicitations (government procurement officials) as frequently as possible. Attend procurement fairs hosted by federal, state, and local agencies to introduce yourself and get the scoop on what’s in the pipeline. Attend industry events where government contracting officials will be speaking or networking. Or simply pick up the phone and inquire about what their agencies need and when they expect to make their next buy in the categories that your business falls into. They may even start proactively calling you to give you a “heads up” about a solicitation posting soon within your area of expertise – if you establish relationships with the right people. Just don’t forget to ask about vendor gaps. If there’s a contract that’s been sole source for many years (i.e. only one company has been willing to shovel snow atop a local mountain to provide seasonal access to a military communications tower for the last 10+ years), then there’s an opportunity you for to come in at a lower price and win the contract, assuming you can provide the same level of quality service as the incumbent.

 

Remember: The average RFP is only “on the street” 21 days. That’s not a lot of time to get your affairs in order (i.e., sureties, sub-contractors, inventory, etc.); conduct your market research; and prepare a quality proposal. If you’re manually searching 100k+ government agency websites for solicitations and trying to run the rest of your business day-to-day, it becomes almost impossible to compete for every winnable bid opportunity. Make it easy on yourself by using an automatic, targeted notification system that does the research about new RFPs/bid opportunities for you and delivers them to your inbox daily.    


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About the Author

Danni Ball

Marketing Manager at Periscope Holdings