Today contractors working with the Federal Government are required to provide a capability statement during all phases of pursuing business. Capability statements are an essential tool to set yourself apart from competitors in the eyes of all decision-makers including contracting officers, program personnel, small business specialists and prime contractors. In a sense, a capability statement acts as a resume for your business—it is used by the government to compare companies and allows you to highlight what is unique about you. Success in government contracting first requires you to get your foot in the door and capability statements are the most effective tool to do so.
Crafting a Powerful Capability Statement
Most capability statements fail because they are too generic or do not address the specific needs of the target. A well-crafted document will fit all relevant information onto one side of one piece of paper. Much like a resume, you will want your capability statement to be visually appealing and easily readable. It is intended to be concise, to the point, and present all of your company’s strengths in one easy-to-read format. If it is necessary to include a second side on one document, it is best to keep all critical information on the first side as it may be the only side read.
A well-crafted capability statement includes the following:
- Company name
- Contact information, including name, title and email
- Core capabilities specific to the target
- Past performance in the government or commercial marketplace
- Differentiators that can be measured
- DUNS number
- CAGE code
- NAICS codes
- PSC/FSC codes
- Type of business (woman-owned, Veteran-owned, etc.)
If you were awarded past projects by the government of a similar nature, those are important to include. You would describe the work performed, when it was completed, the value of the contract and references. This gives the decision-maker a solid foundation for what it is you do, what your history is, and what makes you stand out. Much like a resume, be sure to create both PDF and hard copies for distribution to any agencies that need your products or services.
DUNS Number and CAGE Code
Always include your DUNS Number and CAGE code because that means you were already registered in the System for Award Management (www.sam.gov), which is the federal government’s mandatory vendor database. This signals to buyers that you are geared towards the government sector. Additionally, federal agencies cannot do business with you unless you are listed in the SAM, so it’s a good idea to get this information out there initially and show that you are capable of government contractor work.
PSC/FSC and NAICS Codes
Including these elements within capability statements is a signifier that you know what those codes are and what their significance is. Much like CAGE codes, this is a sign that your company knows how to work with government agencies and is capable of offering the needed services or products. Likewise, if you are marketing to state and local governments, make sure to also include your NIGP codes.
Specifics of References
When including any references to past work, be sure to include very specific point-of-contact information such as names, titles, phone numbers and emails. This allows a buyer and any decision-maker to easily call or email your reference to inquire about what kind of work was done, the quality of work performed, the familiarity with government billing processes as well as satisfying reporting requirements.. These references should be clearly related to the target agency or contract in question and show a range of skills and capabilities needed.
Tailoring Your Approach
Most companies make a huge mistake in writing a generic, one-size-fits-all document that is more of a brochure. This will result in decision-makers deleting emails and virtually slamming doors. That said, you will want to create targeted capability statements—just like you would craft your resume around each job that you are looking for.
Targeted capability statements are much more nuanced as well as much more effective. This is because you can include descriptions of past work that line up with what is specifically needed by the targeted customer. Every agency and prime contractor or teaming partner want to see in your capability statement that you understand their needs, so it’s important to consider language, terminology, and formatting when crafting a successful tailored approach.
Sources Sought Capability Statements
If you are responding to a sources sought notice or a request for information (RFI), that requested capability statement is not the one page marketing document we have been discussing. When responding to a sources sought notice, you must answer in the specified format, answer the exact questions in the exact order, in the stated font type and size, and include all supporting documents such as resumes and keep within the stated number of pages. Unlike of the one page marketing capability statement, the government outlines exactly what information they need and in what format to do so. It is important that you not include unnecessary information or even additional documents such as your marketing capability statement. Consider a Sources Sought Notice as a solicitation of interest, though it isn’t an actual bid or proposal solicitation, it often serves to fulfill the agency’s mandated requirement to perform market research.
Taking Action With TargetGov
If you want to increase your revenue, fine tune proposals and bids, and see results from your business development, contact TargetGov today. Our clients have won over $4 billion in contracts—just in the last 6 years alone. If you need expert consulting services and business development products to put your business on the map, look no further than TargetGov, a trusted expert capable of helping you increase your revenues and profits In the government marketplace.