Successful government contractors know how to gather the marketing information necessary to inform the four major business development opportunity phases.
It is easy to become inundated with marketing data. What separates winning companies from losers, is the ability to turn this data into actionable intelligence. This section explores the following major sources of marketing data.
1. The best business leads often come from relationships with existing clients. A good relationship with a client can mean they’ll push opportunities to you that typically aren’t advertised. This information can be uncovered by project managers, account managers or company executives. This should be an integral part of a strong business growth culture.
More and more agencies are posting new business information on their web sites including lists of incumbent contractors, budget and program forecasts, and organizational contacts. Government Accounting Office reports can also provide useful agency program insights.
2. Many thousands of contractors use market research firms like FEDMINE and DELTEK to identify new business opportunities.
3. Business development professionals at other contractors can be a great source of market intelligence. Meetings with these individuals should be part of your marketing strategy. Furthermore, their web sites, press releases and financial publications can shed light on their contracts as well as their frequent teaming partners. Other sites, such as Dun & Bradstreet and news outlets can reveal if a company has any significant issues with labor or credit that may make you think twice before pursuing a specific contract or teaming relationship. Finally, consultants with current agency contacts and knowledge can also be a real asset.
4. Government bid announcements from web sites like SAM (FedBizOpps) are an important source of opportunities. Although many times, by the time a lead is announced, other companies have already positioned themselves with the customer. There are other government databases such as CCR and FPDS (both now part of SAM) that can provide information about competitors and teaming partners. Also, the GAO Bid Protest Docket and the GSA Excluded Party List System can provide useful insights into an agency’s contracting environment.
5. More and more agencies are posting new business information on their web sites including lists of incumbent contractors, budget and program forecasts, and organizational contacts. Government Accounting Office reports can also provide useful agency program insights.
6. Trade periodicals such as Washington Technology and Signal Magazine provide in-depth coverage of our market and often provide useful marketing intelligence. Even news organizations that are not focused on the federal government may include nuggets of information. Local newspapers can be a great resource for future construction projects as well as providing “local firm does good” contract announcements.
7. Small businesses will want to acquaint themselves with their target agency small business advocates. Often, but not always, these individuals can be very helpful in pointing you in the right direction and letting you know about upcoming procurements Many agencies hold recurring seminars and webinars about doing business with their agency. These are great for new firms entering the federal market and, in some cases, a good place to meet potential government buyers.
8. Lastly, there are numerous government sponsored procurement technical assistance centers or PTACs across the country. They can be helpful to companies new to this market.
– Mike Lisagor and Kathleen Sievers, DELTEK