How Government Contractors Can Stand Out From Their Competition

Government Contractors

Winning a GSA Schedule promises businesses like yours a world of opportunities: decades-long relationships with federal agencies, high-volume contracts, access to exclusive government marketing tools, and much more. The GSA only awards Schedules to those businesses that it believes will excel in supplying the U.S. Government, and so the competition is fierce. What are the 5 ways to stand out from your competitors in the government marketplace?

Check if you Qualify to be a GSA Contractor

Build a government marketing strategy and online presence

Successful marketing of your business on the GSA marketplace means getting to know your target audience, the U.S. Government. As the first step of your government marketing strategy, you should think about the following questions:

  • Who are the government agencies you intend to sell to?
  • What are their goals and values, and how can you help fulfil them?
  • What are the problems they face, and how can your products/services and experience in a given field be the solution?
  • On what products/services and with what type of companies do they normally spend their budget?
  • Who are the competitors within your niche? (You can research contract award information on GSA eLibrary and gauge competitors’ pricing on the GSA CALC tool).

Once you can clearly demonstrate your value, it’s time to bring your business out into the digital space. As well as your commercial website, you should have a government-targeted web presence where potential customers can see your GSA contract details, past performance, testimonials, capability statements etc. You should also make use of GSA Advantage!,  the main marketing tool for GSA Schedule contractors.  It is the GSA’s primary online marketplace, where Schedule holders list their catalogs, and where agencies come to find potential contractors.

Identify your differentiators

Part of your marketing strategy should be your differentiators, i.e., the specific areas where your business really excels. Government buyers are not just looking at the product, service, and pricing; GSA Schedules have dozens of contractors selling the same products and services and at similar pre-negotiated prices, so these factors alone aren’t enough to set you apart from competition.

Customers are looking for GSA Schedule contractors with expertise and enthusiasm, a long-term solution to their problems, and values they share. You’ll need to identify and demonstrate your differentiators, for example:

  • An impressive client list
  • Unique service offerings
  • Geographic proximity to the buyer
  • Better warranty
  • More environmentally-friendly production
  • Highly qualified and certified specialists on staff

Know where to find government contracting opportunities

Knowing where to find business opportunities will put you a step ahead of your competition. There are several places where you can search:

  • GSA eBuy: an acquisition tool used by thousands of government and military clients. Here you can find and respond to Requests for Information (RFI), Requests for Proposal (RFP), and Request for Quote (RFQ).
  • GSA Subcontracting Directory: maximise your chances of selling to GSA by partnering with other contractors. Here you can look for subcontracting opportunities with large business who are prime contractors on the GSA.
  • SAM.gov: on this system you can search for government contracting opportunities by keyword, NAICS code, federal organisation, geographical location, business type, and other factors.
  • Forecast of Contracting Opportunities: this tool is a nationwide dashboard of anticipated GSA contracts, that you can filter by contract type, estimated award year, NAICS code, and more.

Take advantage of special business designations

Not all businesses can compete equally in the government marketplace. To ensure a level playing field, some GSA contracting opportunities are available only to certain types of companies. These opportunities are known as ‘set-asides’. Special business designations eligible for set-asides include small, economically-disadvantaged, women-owned, minority-owned, and veteran-owned businesses.

Know the best practices for responding to government solicitations

Standing out from your GSA competition isn’t just about unique products and services, impressive past performance, and a great website. It’s also about writing a compelling case in response to a government solicitation to persuade them that you’re the contractor for the job. Some tips include:

  • Carefully reading the solicitation and deciding whether you meet the requirements. If not, you shouldn’t waste your time and money by responding.
  • Working out what kind of solicitation it is, e.g. RFI, RFP, RFQ. Each type requires a different kind of response.
  • Taking note of important information like deadlines, page limits, and contact details.
  • Making a checklist of all the information and paperwork you need to include – one missing document could mean losing out to a competitor.

Get help standing out in the GSA marketplace.

Having an advantage over your GSA competition can be incredibly rewarding, but not easily achieved. For help identifying what makes your company special, developing a successful marketing strategy, and finding and responding to the opportunities that best suit your business, get in touch with the Price Reporter team today.

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