Success in Government Contracts: Knowing Your Market and Keeping in Touch

We’re back with Judy Bradt, CEO of Summit Insight LLC, who has been presenting her seven steps to success in government contracts. You can review her past lessons about strategy and focus, process, and competition and teaming. Judy, we’ve already covered so much – what’s left?

Judy: The steps we’ve already covered are so crucial for success with these last two steps. Otherwise you could just be wasting your time, money and efforts.

Success in Government Contracts – Step #6 – Mastering Critical Relationships

Federal contracting is the ultimate relationship-based market segment. Many people are surprised to discover that, to a surprisingly extent, people in the federal government do business with people they like and trust, just like in commercial business. The challenge in government is often how to find buyers, decision makers and influencers.

The good news is that in federal contracting, there is an open door in every agency that welcomes new vendors and small business. These are the offices of small and disadvantaged business utilization, known as OSDBUs. The OSDBUs are home to small business specialists who are the first of the five people you need to meet in any federal agency.

The others are: the contracting officer, the program manager, the end user and the influencer. The small business specialist can help open doors to each of those — if you’ve done your homework. Email me for my free paper, “Making the Most of Your OSDBU Visit.” That offers great tips you can use all year long to turn small business specialists from contacts into champions. It also includes ideas for a productive experience at the annual OSDBU conference, which is held in Washington, DC in late April of each year.

The tasks you want to check off in the relationship stage are:

  •       Seek out the five people you need to meet: in government and in industry
  •       Cultivate diverse contacts; nurture your inner circle of wise guides
  •       Strengthen your contact relationship management systems
  •       Select/evaluate industry associations that work for you
  •       Build community: Play nice and help the other kids

And that brings us to the final step:

Success in Government Contracts – Step #7 – Options for Marketing

The decisions you make in Steps 1-6 drive your choices, priorities and budgets for marketing. When you consider your marketing choices, you’ll want to focus on activities most closely related to the sweet spot opportunities you identified up in Step 2: focus.

The months of January and February are ideal for researching sweet spot opportunities and tracking down those five people you need to meet. While federal buyers often skew their spending to the last quarter of the fiscal year (July-September), they’re doing business then with the people who develop relationships much earlier in the year, that is to say, right now!

The tasks you want to check off in the marketing stage are to:

  •       Consider the four option types: direct; media/events; process; relationships
  •       List and prioritize targeted calls
  •       Choose marketing that targets the highest-potential business you chose in Step 2!
  •       Set  and use measurement criteria; adjust the plan and marketing mix accordingly
  •       Get out there!

Bill: Wow, Judy, thanks so much for sharing these helpful tips with us. Can you just run down your seven steps again?

Judy: Sure! The seven steps to success in government contracts are strategy, focus, process, competition, teaming, relationships and marketing.

Judy Bradt is the CEO of Summit Insight LLC and author of Government Contracts Made Easier. For 25 years, Judy has worked with her clients on business strategies to win government contracts. Judy blogs at http://www.summitinsight.com/blog.


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