I’ve been blogging lately about how to get the best bang for your buck at conferences. Here is another example of how we at TAPE applied these strategies at the NCMA World Congress 2012 in Boston, put on by the National Contract Management Association.
We brought several of our acquisition support staff, which was especially helpful since my wife (and TAPE CEO and President) Louisa and I were late to the event. We had a very good reason: we were celebrating our daughter’s wedding, conveniently located in Maine.
This event was an opportunity for us to meet contracting officers (KOs), contract specialists and senior procurement officials. Since they would each be in charge of handling various procurement actions, we kept our selling materials general.
Instead of focusing on acquisition support, we worked to build up goodwill by sharing helpful information (such as what you’re reading on this blog) with the good folks from PTAC Boston as well as several OSDBU offices. We are not small business consultants; for us this is a way to help others where we were helped.
We also talked a lot about the Mid-Tier Advocacy group (MTA), because many of the KOs have the same frustrations about good small businesses going away too soon (growing larger than the government’s size standards), while the average businesses stay in the NAICS codes for too long.
- Education – Many of our staff went to educational seminars.
- Business-to-Business (B2B) Contacts – We met several folks we can follow up with, including someone that could potentially fill an immediate need for a teaming partner.
- Government Contacts – TAPE’s CEO and President Louisa Jaffe sits on the NCMA Advisory Board that helps to shape curriculum and agenda for this annual event. The Board also takes the opportunity to meet during the conference.
- Service Opportunity – The government needs 20,000 contract people. We can assist by helping to train returning vets who were working in supply. They have the long-term procurement experience so it’s a natural fit.
How do you measure your success when you return from a conference?