Blog | 01.02.20

Think It's Too Hard to Win a Government Contract? Think Again.

Securing just a single government contract – whether at the federal, state or local level – can be a big deal to startups, small businesses and large enterprises alike. It can mean job security for employees and accelerated business growth. And even a single contract, depending on the revenue it generates, can provide the means to expand government sales efforts and generate even more growth.

That’s why, each year around this time, we see companies aggressively allocate resources toward building their public sector sales pipeline. Hopes are high that “this year” will be the year they win a contract and get their foot in the door. However, we also see many companies’ enthusiasm deflate mid-year when they don’t win as many contracts as expected, especially if they had cast a “wide net.” Competition is fierce, and it would be unfair to say that you’re going to win every bid – or even half of the bids.

Does that mean you should give up? Absolutely not!

Why Every Government Bid You Lose Puts You One Bid Closer to Winning    

There are lessons to be learned from every loss, and thanks to government contracting disclosure rules, you’re afforded a post-bid debrief every time you bid so that you can learn who won and why – or why you didn’t win this time. The insights you receive will help you answer questions such as these:   

  • Am I priced too high overall? Or do I need to adjust pricing for certain categories or in certain markets? And does pricing even matter to this agency?
  • Am I missing certain certifications that, while not required, are highly valued by governments?
  • Do I need to team up with another company to increase our experience or performance ratings during government bid scoring?
  • Am I marketing my solution incorrectly in my proposal? And am I marketing my company enough the rest of the year? Do I need to do more to increase awareness of – and credibility for – my company?
  • Do I need to refine my proposal writing, or hire someone who specializes in custom proposal development?
  • Did I fail to include requested information or meet minimum requirements in my bid?
  • Should I provide different references the next time?
  • Is there a way to help government procurement officials better correlate my demonstrated private sector success with their public sector needs and expectations?

It will also help you answer the biggest question of all: Should I even be bidding on these types of government contracts?

Note, the question isn’t “Should I even be bidding on government contracts?” That answer will almost always be “yes.” There is literally a public sector need for almost everything the private sector sells, including toys, baked goods, cars and televisions. Services are in high demand right now too. Meaning whatever you sell, the government is looking to buy.

However, it can be challenging to know which keywords to use when searching for government solicitations as every agency’s terminology might be a little different and not all agencies use the same coding systems to classify their goods, services, systems and construction purchases. As a result, you may find too many bid opportunities – most of which are not relevant – while missing several others that would be perfect for you to pursue.

That is why the number one tip we give to companies who ask “How do I win more government contracts?” is to sign up for a bid notification service that:

  • Searches all possible government agency solicitation posting websites and aggregates results for you in a single web and mobile-enabled dashboard
  • Goes beyond restrictive keyword-only searches to find all of – and only – the relevant bids for your business by learning what types of bids you ultimately pursue an those you don’t
  • Notifies you daily of potential new government bid opportunities (Time is of the essence given that most solicitations are open an average of 21 days.)

If it seems self-serving for us to recommend that you sign up for a bid notification service considering that’s the business we’re in, know that we are not making this recommendation for our sake.

There are government RFP and bid solicitations every day that receive very few responses; many result in sole-source awards (meaning only one company bid on the contract). This isn’t happening because the requirement is so specific that very few companies could even qualify, either. There are probably dozens of companies that could have provided that requested product or service and feasibly won that contract – if they had just known about the bid opportunity.

So, we recommend that you sign up for a service such as Periscope S2G because it automatically connects with 90,000+ government agencies that may be looking for exactly what you’re selling on an around-the-clock basis. They are literally coming to you via Periscope S2G to say “we want/need what you have – and sometimes they’re silently begging for your bid.

Plus, we use machine learning algorithms to learn about your business, so the quality of the bids you see improves every time you search in Periscope S2G or actually submit a bid for a government contract. That saves you a lot of time scoring potential bid opportunities on your own.

Now, full disclosure, we receive a lot of feedback from customers frustrated that Periscope S2G isn’t showing them bids relevant to their business at the frequency they’re expecting. We can’t stress this enough: you must temper expectations when pursuing government contracts.

Periscope S2G does not control what types of bids that government agencies issue. We can only show you what bids are currently posted and accepting responses right now. And while you may be able to anticipate when current contracts are going to be resolicited – i.e. every or two depending on contract terms, which can be found in public records – there is no way for anyone to predict when governments are going to buy what you sell. They may have a need for playground equipment for the first time ever, and there’s no advance notice about when they’ll issue an RFP, Invitation for Bid (IFB) or even just a Request for Quotes (RFQ) or Information (RFI).

Yet, that’s precisely why a bid notification service such as Periscope S2G is so valuable to your business. You just never know when that “perfect” winnable bid opportunity will be posted, especially if it is not a recurring solicitation.

So, if you want to start (and finish) 2020 strong, we encourage you to sign up for Periscope S2G’s free daily bid notifications first and foremost. Then, resolve to be patient – and be persistent – all year long!

Stay tuned into the Periscope S2G blog each week in 2020 for more tips on how to increase your chances of winning government contracts and insights on trending government contracting news.