For a small business hoping to grow its sales and reach out to an expansive new customer base, there is perhaps no faster way to do so than to become a government contractor.
Achieving this isn’t as easy as simply putting one’s products up for sale to government agencies, however. There is an extensive and quite complex process that every business must go through before being approved and awarded government contracts. One of the biggest snags companies frequently hit is not understanding how to go about marketing to the federal government. Here are some tips on how to speak their language to ensure that your contracts get approved.
Step One: Register As a Government Contractor
To kick off the process, the first thing you’ll need to do is register as a government contractor. This is a multi-step process that includes:
Obtaining a Dun & Bradstreet D-U-N-S® Number. You will need one of these identification numbers for every physical location of your business. You can visit the D&B D-U-N-S Request Service website to request your number online.
Registering in the System Award Management (SAM) Database. Federal Acquisitions Regulations (FAR) require that all companies doing business with the federal government be registered here before any contracts will be awarded. When completing your SAM registration, you’ll be asked to list any applicable North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes, so be sure you have those handy.
Having a Past Performance Evaluation Completed. To secure contracts such as GSA Schedules, the FAR requires that companies prepare past performance reviews that cover a period of more than one year. These assessments must be repeated on an annual basis.
Step Two: Understanding and Marketing to the Federal Government
As you plan your strategy for securing federal contracts, you’ll first want to conduct market research to find out which federal agencies are in need of your products or services. Rather than relying on your standard marketing, you’ll want to customize your marketing approach to target the specific agencies with which you hope to do business.
As you create your marketing campaign, keep in mind that there are three specific groups to whom you’re speaking: procurers, influencers, and end users.
Procurers are contracting officers or others who actually conduct the procurement. Influencers, meanwhile, are high-level decision makers who have great influence on the procurers and are where the requirement for the product or service originates. As the people who actually use a service or product, end users also have quite a bit of influence on which contractors are chosen.
As many companies can attest, a regular commercial marketing strategy will not resonate with government agencies. It’s key that you understand the specific objectives and requirements of the agency to which you’re marketing. When marketing to the federal government, clearly communicate exactly how your product or service helps that agency accomplish their objectives. Make sure they understand how easy it will be to purchase from you and highlight your contracting expertise. If you have contracts with other agencies, explain how they have benefited from what you have to offer.
Keep in mind that the government doesn’t speak a commercial language. They aren’t concerned with increasing profits or pleasing customers, so these kinds of statements will fall on deaf ears. They want to increase efficiency and meet specific mandates. Ensure that you’re communicating with them in their language and not your own.
Expert Help in Securing Government Contracts
Whether your company sells industrial products or healthcare services, Government Contract Services can help guide you through the process of winning government contracts. We do it all, from the application process and helping you fine-tune a strategy of marketing to the federal government all the way through negotiating prices.