Below we will describe the post-award GSA marketing plan as well as marketing options to sell your products and services to the government.
Marketing to the Government steps:
1. GSA Schedule. Pre-award information.
GSA Schedule is a contract between a company and the government managed by General Services Administration. The contract allows that company to deliver its services and/or products to various federal, state or local agencies across the country.
There are dozens of GSA Schedule types reflecting various needs of the government. More information about existing types of GSA Schedules can be found here.
GSA has very strict standards. Businesses must comply with the requirements in order to obtain access to GSA contracts – that is, win an award.
If a company is interested in doing business with the government/to win a GSA Schedule award, it needs to prepare accordingly: register the business, pass the required training, prepare all necessary documents and submit them to GSA. An assigned GSA officer will then review the proposal and decide if the government will accept the offer. The nuances of the GSA contract preparation are defined in this article.
However, getting your GSA Schedule approved is only the beginning of the process. Government procurements are a special market, but nonetheless it’s still a marketplace. This means it’s essential to conduct GSA market research and analysis, create your GSA marketing plan, find clients, and do everything mandated in a commercial market.
You are awarded! What’s next?
2. Planning your GSA marketing efforts
Planning is vital! As soon as your GSA Schedule award is secured, you need to start planning your next steps. The subsequent research is essential:
- Estimate the government market volume
- Find out who your clients are
- Analyze trends to find a perspective niche
Luckily, GSA market analysis can be done with little effort, because you have all the tools to simplify the process.
Estimate market volume
Your main resources are USAspending.gov and FPDS-NG. The information on these websites will help you understand the spending habits of your prospective customers, and identify how much they spend on products and/or services similar to those you offer on your Schedule contract.
Find out who your clients are
There are three types of customers you should target with your marketing efforts:
- Procurers (contracting officers)
- Influencers (program managers/high-level decision makers)
- End Users
Each client segment requires a specific approach. Thus, understanding whom to focus your efforts on is crucial for a successful marketing plan. FPDS-NG is a great tool for this step.
Analyzing the current market trends will help market to the government efficiently and profitably. FAS Schedule Sales Query Plus is loaded with information that you will find invaluable. It has a review of historical data from past fiscal years and compares it to the current figures plus it instantly displays trending Schedules and SINs. This tool also provides geographic research and identifies the surrounding areas (cities and states) that have demand for your product/service. Also, the SSQ+ Report Builder is a great supply of information for analysis that could help your marketing efforts.
FAS SSQ+ will allow you to compare your company’s sales to other vendors on the same Schedule. With access to this data, you can improve business practices and take advantage of new opportunities.
Another resource is FedBizOpps, which permits you to monitor active procurements and find a specific opportunity based on given criteria.
3. Marketing your GSA Schedule contract
Equipped with valuable information and past year statistics, you are ready to market your GSA contract. One of the most useful resources here is GSA Interact. There you will find plenty of content, a collaborative community, and GSA contractor groups to discuss trending topics or share experiences.
Typical marketing activities directed at the government are:
- Maximizing your company presence. Publish the GSA Logo on your website to identify your Schedule contract to the government community. Fill in your company information at GSA Advantage! and put a link to your website to let government customers quickly find out about your services and products.
- Let customers find you. Make sure to register at available GSA procurement resources starting with GSA Advantage!. Remember: if you’re not on GSA Advantage!, you’re not going to be visible to the agencies.
- Search for opportunities yourself. FedBizOpps lists all federal business opportunities, thus make sure to find ones that match your Schedule. It is also worth putting efforts into searching for expiring contracts.****(I’d tell the audience why they should look for expiring contracts.)***
- Answer to RFQ. Federal buyers post Requests for Information (RFI) and Requests for Quote (RFQ) on eBuy. If your product catalog is approved on GSA Advantage, you will receive an e-mail notification informing you about such RFI’s/RFQ’s. If the opportunity is appealing, you will respond/quote on the eBuy website.
4. Making your post-award marketing better
GSA professionals have vast knowledge of how to market a GSA Schedule contract; using all their expertise they are able to create an efficient and profitable plan to market GSA Schedule Contract. You can significantly improve both pre- and post-award results by hiring a GSA management consulting firm.
GSA strategic plan
A hired GSA consultant can develop a custom strategy that fits your business goals perfectly. With their expert knowledge, the GSA consultant will help you create the most strategic marketing plan.
Professional market analysis
Experts in GSA consulting can perform an in-depth analysis of the federal market identifying top-selling brands and products, discovering new trends among federal, state or local agencies, and creating your clients’ profile.
The best opportunities for you
A GSA consultant monitors the arising opportunities across multiple federal market resources including DOD FedMall, eBuy and GSA Advantage. The agent communicates with the contracting officer and negotiates the best prices.
The benefit of GSA Management starts with the GSA offer preparation. The experts help prepare the price proposal and technical proposal, assemble the audit-proof offer, submit it, and manage the follow up.
Finally, a hired GSA specialist helps you keep your catalog up to date and modifies the contract in time providing all necessary documents to GSA while also fulfilling GSA orders automatically.