How to Market to the Federal Government in 2022

How to Market the Federal Government

When you’re starting any business venture, the two vital initial steps are finding buyers and devising an effective marketing strategy. But when it comes to selling to the government, it’s not as simple as researching local competitors and cold-emailing customers.

Check if you Qualify to be a GSA Contractor

Government agencies no longer purchase directly from commercial vendors. Instead, all their procurement needs to be done either via the General Services Administration (GSA) contracts or Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs). Winning a GSA Schedule in particular opens up lucrative opportunities in the government marketplace to those vendors with a strong business plan.

If you are searching for federal marketing success and want to come up with the best marketing strategy, then keep reading.

Finding Government Customers

A business can’t exist without its customers, so the first step after winning a GSA contract is conducting market research to gather information about your target market of government agencies. 

SAM.gov

It’s important to look for agencies who have recently purchased products and services similar to those in your catalog. You can find this information in the contract data section of SAM.gov.

Log on to the website and modify the dates to show a recent time frame, e.g., the previous six months or fiscal year. Then, enter a NAICS code (the six-digit code corresponding to the product/service you want to sell). Now, you can download the relevant contract data as a PDF or Excel spreadsheet, and find the agencies which commonly purchase from your industry. 

Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS)

Another method for seeking out government buyers is through the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS). This is the authoritative repository of statistics about millions of government contracts, including GSA’s Multiple Awards Schedule Program. In this real-time database, you can find out which agencies bought what, when they bought it and for how much, as well as who they bought it from. Once you find a potential customer on FPDS, you can earmark them for future opportunities.  

Acquisition Gateway forecasting tool

Government contracts aren’t awarded on a first-come-first-served basis; however, staying a step ahead of other contractors can help quite a lot. The Acquisition Gateway forecasting tool is the nationwide dashboard of upcoming federal contracting opportunities and procurement requirements, and is a fantastic tool for large and small businesses.

Face-to-face meetings

The pandemic might have driven our work into the digital realm, but don’t forget the power of face-to-face networking. GSA organizes industry days where you can hear about all the latest GSA updates and get a chance to meet representatives from government agencies. You can also meet other GSA vendors, for example prime contractors that you can team up with to fulfil larger contracts.

FedBizOpps (FBO)

Previously, contracts worth more than $25,000 were listed on FedBizOpps (Federal Business Opportunities). The government decommissioned this system in 2020, and merged it (along with nine other acquisition-focused websites) into the centralized SAM.gov website. The former FBO system now makes up the Contract Opportunities section of SAM.gov. Here, you can search procurement notices from federal contracting offices by keyword, government agency, notice, and other criteria, and find opportunities like solicitation notices, award notices, and sole source notices. Another retired platform was the Commerce Business Daily (CBD).

What is a Successful Federal Marketing Strategy?

Assess your value

At the core of your GSA business lies your marketing strategy. To start with, consider what your company can offer government agencies that no other business can. Here, it’s important to focus not just on products and services, as it’s likely that your competitors will offer something very similar, but to ask the following questions:

  1. Why is your business, product and service necessary for the government?
  2. How will you work to help the government achieve its aims and objectives? 
  3. What are some great examples of how you’ve helped previous customers? 
  4. What is the unique appeal of your company, for example do you have highly-qualified specialists on your staff that other companies lack?

Consider your buyers’ needs

Once you’ve assessed your company’s value, it’s time to focus on your customers. If you don’t already have some in mind, then use the tips we gave you earlier in this article. Consider the following questions:

  1. Which products and professional services has this agency previously purchased, and from what kinds of GSA contractors? 
  2. Can you meet the government customer’s demands on your own, or do you need to work with subcontractors? Alternatively, can you work as a subcontractor for a larger business?
  3. Why would this customer choose your business over other contractors who hold GSA Schedules?

Scope out your competitors

The government marketplace is hugely competitive, so you’ll be bidding against other successful companies for the same contracts. To know what you’re up against and plan your marketing strategy wisely, you should research your competitors. You can get a lot of help from GSA’s proprietary tools; after all, the GSA’s success is based on yours!

  • GSA Advantage! This is essentially the Amazon shopping service of the U.S. Government. Here you can find all the products your competitors sell, including the product name, description, manufacturer, price, delivery time, and even photographs.
  • GSA CALC. Using the Contract-Awarded Labor Category (CALC) tool, you can find hourly rates on already-awarded GSA contracts, and see how your rates measure against your competitors’. Conduct a general search, or search by labor category and add extra filters like education level and years of experience, to find the most accurate and up-to-date data.
  • GSA eLibrary. This is a literal library of contract award information. Simply search the Special Item Number (SIN) that your GSA products/services are categorized under, and your competitors will be displayed. Click the document icon under the “Contract Terms and Conditions” to view competitors’ GSA prices.

Do you need help with your federal marketing?

Price Reporter’s consultants have 15 years of experience helping businesses like yours to flourish in the government marketplace. Whether you’re just starting out and need a game plan, or are an established business needing a fresh pair of eyes on your marketing strategy, get in touch with us today for a free consultation. 

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