Contractors with the Federal Government should be aware of the three layers of decision makers that exist in the federal purchasing process. Knowing who these decision makers are and understanding how they can help your company throughout the procurement process is crucial in an already competitive market.
Each layer of decision makers has its own unique function within an agency and its own way of helping you. It is important to familiarize yourself with titles, roles, and what information each layer is interested in. This focus will improve your marketing efforts and allow you to build better relationships with the people who procure contracts.
The three layers of decision makers are:
Small Business Representatives
Most agencies have an Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) and the representatives in this office are interested in your company’s socioeconomic status
How you use this first layer of decision makers will depend on the size of your company. For small businesses, it is important these representatives are aware of you, what you are capable of, and your socioeconomic certifications. This way they can help advocate for you with the other decision makers to meet their small business goals. Large businesses want to contact the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization to help find high quality teaming partners or subcontractors who meet the socioeconomic demands of the contract.
Contracting Officers and Acquisition Staff
This layer is made up of the individuals procuring products and services on behalf of the Federal Government. They are interested in receiving the best value out of a company, low risk awardees, and fulfilling their contracting needs. This layer does not have the technical expertise to understand complicated jargon or nuances in your business. It is important to get to know this layer because of the purchasing power they hold.
The program managers will actually use the products and services that have been procured for the Federal Government. They will have a wide variety of titles and levels of authority, but because they are the end users this level of decision makers has a great deal of influence on the final decision. Program managers are involved in the technical aspects of the procurement and want to know the details of your capabilities, this allows them to make better informed decisions and provide more insight about your business to the contracting officers.
These three layers of decisions are not ordered in terms of importance, they are all important to a successful federal marketing plan. It is important that you learn who these people are, how they can help your business, and the ways to effectively engage them.
We want to hear about your interactions with these decision makers. If you have any experience marketing to any of these three layers leave a comment below or contact us directly.