Does your business work on a response to an RFP for weeks, sometimes months, or years, and never win a contract? Was the contract influenced by another company or maybe the contracting officer had never heard of you? Let’s break down what you can do next time to ensure you are at least on the “shortlist” for the contract award.
According to Mark Amtower of GOVCON News, both are problems all contractors face and both are areas the contractor is in control of. In order to overcome both, a contractor must pursue procurement early in the process. Below are five steps every contractor should take. (GovConwire.com January 3, 2023)
- Differentiate your company from the competition. Define your position by calling attention to your past performance, the time you have been involved in a defined area, and the agencies you are working with. Publicize your claims on your website and LinkedIn. LinkedIn is crucial because this is where your company and your subject matter experts are vetted. All key personnel profiles should clearly define your areas of expertise. (ibid)
- Support your LinkedIn page through claims of your company’s differentiated position. (ibid)
- Expand your network in targeted agencies, to those agencies that already know your company, and to agencies you want to work with. According to Mark Amtower, there are 2.72 million feds (DOD, IC, and civilian) on LinkedIn, therefore reaching out to agency leaders is not difficult. Look specifically for program managers, contracting officers, COTRs, and anyone involved in the RFP process. Connect on LinkedIn, with a personalized note. (ibid)
- Develop and share content that reinforces your company’s differentiated position. People within your company, such as sales and subject matter experts and those involved in business development should be sharing the company content. Not only on the company’s LinkedIn page but on their personal LinkedIn profiles as well. There are GovCon groups on LinkedIn where you can and should post about your company (webinars, speaking engagements, white papers, etc.) Once an opportunity is identified, content should be sent directly to key influencers through LinkedIn. (ibid)
- When you learn of a possible RFP or task order, increase your activity. This is the time to “step it up.” Increase content production and activity on LinkedIn. Use LinkedIn to set up meetings. LinkedIn has a meeting capability, use zoom or meet in person. (ibid)
Inflluencing a procurement and making your company known are both within your control. Start early in the process and share often.
Have questions concerning website and LinkedIn content and/or how to research GovCon agency decision-makers? Give us a call.