Building a Federal Marketing Plan
There are several checklist items to consider when developing your firm's federal marketing plan. Not all of these items will apply. Based upon the firm's time commitment and budget, this list should be changed based upon your firm’e specific needs. One of our specialists can assist in talking you through how to properly structure your marketing plan.
SBA/VA Certifications provide a preferenceA firm should look to see if they qualify for one of these certifications as it can make marketing to the federal government easier. They provide several advantages and among them are the following:
1. These certifications provide for set-asides where only a certification holder is permitted to bid on the contract.
2. Some certifications allow the holder to receive a price adjustment in competitive bid situations.
3. Other certifications provide for sole source contracts which are essentially no-bid contracts directly awarded to the firm directly by federal procurement officers.
GSA-GWAC-IDIQ Contracting VehiclesLarge contracting vehicles are valuable for three main reasons.
1. They allow federal buyers to ease of purchase by not forcing them to set up a separate contract to buy goods or services.
2. It gives the federal buyer the ability to use pre-vetted vendors, as that is done in the application process to obtain a position on the contracting vehicle.
3. In the case of a GSA Schedule, there is a directory for firms to utilize.
Direct Federal MarketingFinding the correct person to sell your product to within the federal government can be challenging, given the millions of federal staff. Therefore it is recommended that your firm build lists of agencies and personnel that are most likely to utilize your product/services. Following this strategy will help the firm stay focused and greatly incease the firms success. Our firm offers a low-cost list building service that is tailored to fit the needs of any product or service.
1. Firms should focus on approximately 3 agencies. This gives the firm the ability to align the firm’s marketing material with the agencies’ mission.
2. We recommend sending marketing emails to your targeted prospective buyers approximately once every four to six weeks. The email should contain your firm’s capability statement as well as what offerings are explicitly targeted to that federal buyer.
3. Following up on emails with a phone call is also recommended. These calls can fall between the cracks however, leaving a voicemail about the email that was sent may create just enough interest in the federal buyer that they seek out your email and review it.
SubcontractingThe majority of firms have the goal of becoming a federal prime contractor. However, the amount of funds spent on federal contracts to subcontractors is approximately 70% of the total prime contract sum. In many cases these relationships are faster to build than those within the federal government.
1. Registering with large prime contractors via their web portholes. If your firm has less developed marketing skills utilizing a professional for this task can be helpful as this is your first touchpoint with the sizeable federal prime.
2. Utilizing sub-contracting to meet procurement officers within the agency so that your firm learns the ins and outs and readies itself to become a prime.
Bid MonitoringA statement that is prevalent in the industry is once an oppotunity is placed on fbo.gov it is already to late. The contracting officer already knows who they are awarding contract. In many instances this can be true but there also some other factors at play.
1. There are at least four other sources as well as GSA ebuy for GSA Schedule holders that should be monitored. These other sites often do not have pole position contractors waiting for the RFQ.
2. IDIQ contracts are posted on fbo.gov. Obtaining a position on the right GWAC/IDIQ contract can be a game changer for many small businesses.
3. A superior proposal will take the day as the federal process is designed to be fair.
These five pieces fit together to form your comprehensive federal marketing strategy. If you need help on trying to balance these items for your firm feel free to give me a call as I am always happy to help.