By Mike Sade
Two months ago I wrote about starting your quest for government business.
In this article, I would like to address the specifics of getting to know your potential customer.
Do your homework. Identify the agencies that need what you are selling or providing. There are many free government tools available online that can help you understand what the potential government customer does, what they buy, and how they buy it. A few that are important are:
- Every agency is required to publish their contracting opportunities for the upcoming year. Although the quality of these forecasts varies, it is an excellent source of information. Go to an agency website and search for their procurement/contract forecast. On the site, you will find what the agency plans to buy in the upcoming year. The information includes information such as what, when, how, and whom to contact regarding the opportunity.
- The Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation is a government–wide database that includes information on all contracts awarded by agencies. This information is available based on agency, contract, date of award, dollar amount, and type of contract. This information will help you learn more about the buying habits of an agency you target for opportunities.
- Social media is a powerful resource as well. All agencies have a Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn account. Link to those pages and join. You will find useful information including current news, upcoming events, and points of contact within the agency.
- Finally don’t forget your basic internet search engine tools. With a few keywords, you can learn about staff within the agency and their presentations and speeches from crucial individuals within the agency. Some of the key staff in an agency to search would be the CIO, Procurement Executive, and the Small Business Directors.
With these free resources you can learn a great deal about your potential agency customers. The more you know the better opportunities you will have in making an introduction and improve your chances to win a contract.
Please give me your feedback and questions on additional topics on doing business with the government by sending a note to [email protected], Attention Mike Sade.
Mike Sade spent his career in federal procurement before founding his Alexandria consulting company, Sade Associates, LLC, www.sadeassocllc.com.