Over the years, I have spoken with many companies and government-focused sales people about their practices in identifying government opportunities. It seems to be a theme that the majority of their time is spent combining FedBizOpps or GSA eBuy. While these websites post viable government opportunities, they often miss the target when it comes to identifying what the company is truly capable of.
When you look at the space as a market, you quickly realize that you need to be looking at it from a more holistic viewpoint. This vertical deserves no less attention or careful planning than any of the other markets your company competes in. When you break it down, the challenge is the shear wealth (or overload, depending on your perspective) of information that one can digest.
What you need to do is to start with a single agency. From there, you can begin understanding their procurement forecast and strategic plans, which are released at the beginning of the government’s fiscal year and broken down by quarter. This is a great way to plan your sales and marketing activities before the opportunities “hit the street.” The Strategic Plan will outline the agency’s mission, long-term goals, and the approaches they will take to meet these objectives. If you are in the Information Technology Space, you will benefit by taking things a step further and evaluating your target agency’s Exhibit 53 and 300s. These documents are used for reporting the funding of an agency’s IT portfolio. Exhibit 300A’s are a comprehensive explanation of major “IT Investments”. Exhibit 300B’s are for the management and the execution of those investments through their life cycle and into production.
Another interesting angle, albeit, infrequently used and often times frowned upon as ineffective, is the Unsolicited Proposal. This is a great way to get your idea in front of the top-brass. Of course, an unsolicited proposal is only as good as its foundation. In order to truly understand what a specific agency is faced with, one must examine the GAO and IG Reports. These reports are submitted to Congress by each federal agency in order to communicate their most significant management challenges.
In closing, you can never be too focused or too resourceful. Having success in this market is about turning over as many stones as possible in order to find just the right opportunity. This can only be done by having a comprehensive approach, a short-list of targets, and the necessary resources in place to meet the needs of your prospective customer.