When working within the federal marketplace, it is critical to allocate resources wisely in order to reach the right audience. This means two things: targeting the proper government agencies and understanding what decision makers are within those agencies. You may get caught up in responding to Requests for Proposals (RPFs), Sources Sought Notices, or in the day-to-day tasks of running a business, but doing the right homework is a necessity. A good chunk of that homework involves determining which agencies you should be spending your time and effort on and who, within those agencies, will be determining whether or not you win contracts.
Like other kinds of marketplaces, the federal one is still relationship-based and agencies tend to work with companies that have taken the time and effort to establish those relationships. Contracting officers value the effort and it also lowers the risk involved with working with you. It is important to pare down what agencies you want to work with as a result, as you do not want to stretch your resources too thin. If you only have one business development employee that actually does the legwork in learning about, developing a relationship with, and contacting an agency, then it may be wise to only focus on one agency at a time. If your business has many more hands available to tackle business development for government contracts, that opens up the possibilities for more agencies to target.
If you’re unsure of which agencies to target, the upside is that government agencies are required to share information about themselves. This includes budget requests, previous spending, current spending, and even plans for future spending. Try taking a look at USASpending.gov or the Federal Procurement Data System. These resources are fantastic in helping you narrow down what kind of agencies can actually benefit from your services or product.
Attending industry days is also a suitable way to see what kinds of government agencies are involved with your industry and what they may need. Working with a government contracting expert, like TargetGov, is also a quick way to become aware of what agencies are suitable for you to reach out to.
Knowing Who Decision Makers Are
Even once you’re aware of which agencies you should be marketing yourself towards, there is still the matter of what decision makers exist within those agencies. Because you are working within the federal marketplace, the roles of each decision maker are clearly defined and identified thanks to rules and regulations that come with the industry. It’s good to familiarize yourself with each factor that contributes to the end decision of who is awarded what contracts. We typically categorize decision makers in four different ways.
Contracting Officers and Acquisition Staff
Acquisition staff are responsible for purchasing virtually everything used by the government. From all services to tables, to plates, to rocket ships, to tanks, a contracting officer had a hand in its purchase. While they may not be experts on what they are buying, they certainly are experts on how the service or product gets bought. Being able to tailor your message to cater to contracting officers and acquisition staff is a necessary part in selling yourself to government agencies.
Program managers are the people in charge of whatever programs may end up using your product or service. They lack the legal authority to buy like Contracting Officers have, but at the same time, they can offer recommendations regarding their decisions. Since they have far more hands-on experience with the product or service and oversee the end users, their opinion regarding your product or service can ultimately come into play and be a strong influencer.
Speaking of end users, the people who end up using your products and services every day have valuable opinions as well. Sometimes they may recommend what companies or people to work with to the Contracting Officer or a Contracting Officer may seek out the opinions of end users to help inform their purchasing decision.
Small Business Representatives
Of course, Small Business Representatives don’t have the ability to make purchases, but nonetheless, it’s critical that you develop relationships with them. At the end of the day, any help you can get from them in the procurement of contracts is worth pursuing, as Small Business Representatives are a valuable resource in having your product or services purchased.
Finding Your Target Audience With TargetGov
If you want to increase your revenue, fine tune proposals and bids, 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.