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Blog | 02.11.20

Time is Money. Making This One Change Can Save You Both When Going After Government Business

How much time do you and/or your team spend searching for government bid solicitations? An hour a day? Longer?

Now, think about how much you’re paying those people – or how much your time is worth. Is that the most valuable use of time and money? Could you and your team use that time to focus on more strategic tasks, such as meeting with potential customers, conducting market research or refining your proposals to ensure they’re truly representative of what you can offer? How many bid opportunities have you passed up because you just didn’t have time to prepare the response before the deadline? And how many bids have you missed because you simply didn’t know about them in time? 

The truth is that, like most other manual business processes, asking people to scour the web for relevant bid opportunities from all 90,000+ federal, state and local government agencies is just not efficient or effective. As humans, they can only work so fast while an automated bid notification service can easily keep up with this massive volume of searching. This is vital to any business looking to increase its revenue from the public sector.

What to Look for In a Government Bid Search Service

Although nearly every public sector entity posts its bid and RFP solicitations online these days, you won’t be able to find them in one place without using a bid notification service such as Periscope S2G.

Yes, the federal government uses beta.sam.gov to aggregate solicitations, but not all agencies are required to post there, and state and local governments don’t use that solicitation board. Neither do school districts, higher education entities or non-profits.

Even if you were just interested in doing business with Oregon-based government agencies, there are several hundred individual state, local and special district entities that you’d have to research.

In other words, you would have to search tens of thousands of websites to find bid postings across all levels of government – and then you’d still have to filter through them all. This is no easy feat considering that there is no standard keyword directory or classification/coding system for each type of good, service, construction or system solicited.

You have probably figured this out already, though, and therefore understand the value of a using a third-party bid search and notification service.

(In case you haven’t, this ROI calculator can help you determine whether or not it could pay off to invest in such a subscription.)

Just beware: not all bid notification services give you the same level of visibility or search personalization capabilities. Before you sign up, ask the following questions:

  • How many agencies does your service monitor? Many offer both free and paid plan tiers, including Periscope S2G. You may be able to focus on a certain state or region for a lower price at first and then scale up to the national plan when ready to expand your reach.
  • How does your service monitor for government bids? Do you just have a team of humans scouring the web? Or do you use advanced technology algorithms? Do you have any direct connections with agencies that enable you to automatically pull in all posted solicitations?
  • Do any government entities exclusively post their solicitations through your service? Full disclosure, some state and local governments post first, or exclusively, via Periscope S2G.
  • How many bids does your service find/publish each month, on average? One reminder here: third-party bid notification services don’t have control over the volume or type of solicitations posted by public sector entities. They (we) just find and notify you of what’s out there. So, if you’re not seeing a lot of relevant bids for your business, it could be due to a few reasons, one of which is the fact that governments just aren’t spending on those types of goods or services right now. More likely, though, is that you don’t have your search criteria set up properly. Which is why the next question is one of the most important…
  • How much can I customize/personalize my search criteria? Am I restricted to a basic set of keywords, or is there a way to find bid notification that may be relevant to my business but use different terminology than what I might typically use? Keywords alone are so limiting. Though a good starting point, not everyone speaks the same language. For example, some agencies may use broad terminology to solicit for construction services while others may drill down into very specific requirements in the solicitation title. Find out how the bid search is handled and what control you have in scoring (or rating) returned bids to help the system learn what is actually relevant to you – and what is not – to improve the quality of search results the next time.    
  • How am I notified of new bids? Do you have to login to the app every day to see what is available or will you also receive daily emails with a listing of the latest and most relevant opportunities?
  • What happens if I want to bid on an opportunity that I learn about via your service? Do I have to then go to the government agency’s website to track down the original solicitation or can I submit the bid to the agency through your service somehow?
  • How much time and money have your customers reported saving with your service? You can find the stats for Periscope S2G here and then determine your potential savings using the ROI calculator. (Every company is going to receive a different ROI depending on how you currently conduct government bid searches.)           

There may be more qualifying questions you’ll want to ask, of course, and it always helps to hear from other users about their experiences. We always recommend taking advantage of free trial offers to get a feel for the overall user experience: how the dashboard looks, how much flexibility you have in customizing search criteria, how involved you have to be in improving search results and the level of solicitation detail and agency access you gain via the service.

If you want to check out Periscope S2G for free, you can sign up here. Just be sure that you take the time to set up your profile correctly. We have support teams on standby to walk you through that process and help you refine initial search terms, if needed.