How Government Contractors Can Improve Their PWin…(Percent Win)

While PWIN (percentage win), is clearly an easy metric to apply to sales and performance of capture with a targeted customer base, it doesn’t lend itself so easily to the government arena. That’s because there are a number of fundamental differences between government and the open market, and it’s important to understand these differences if a vendor wants to be successful on public Organization bids.

Lots of Opportunities Exist

With $500 billion regularly available just for small businesses due to targeted procurement, the federal government alone is a major market mover. On top of this market slice, there are public funds for general procurement and every state and local government offers millions in contracting as well. The problem is that a vendor needs to follow certain steps to reach success. It’s not as simple as calling someone up and getting a meeting to make a pitch, regardless of what Hollywood makes things look like.

Learn the Field

The most common mistake new businesses to government make involves assuming government procurement is simple – one just has to show up and everything is organized to respond. Wrong. Increasing your Pwin success starts with learning which Organizations need what your business offers. That means doing research to learn what Organizations do, what their mission is, how they operate, where they exist, and what they need that government doesn’t provide itself. Answer these questions for each potential Opportunity and a vendor is already at the front of the pack framing the beginning of a capture strategy.

Government is also not one size fits all. There are small Organizations and big Organizations and departments in between. Some consolidate a need into one package and others break a large need down in multiple parts across multiple markets. This too affects your ability to win if you don’t know how a bid is going out to market. Studying an Organization’s program, talking to its people, discussing with managers how they operate, and studying how the program puts out bids provides a tremendous amount of information on how to bid as a vendor.

Awareness & Promotion

While many larger government levels manage many departments and groups below them, they often operate as silos. That means vendor information and bidding detail are not shared very well. Where it is, an Organization tends to be more interested in touting its assumed savings via a clunky master contract than actually finding valuable commonalities. But this is starting to change as government begins to move into the arena of big data and digital procurement. Information about different department vendors is quickly becoming available, but department government managers have yet to be properly trained on how to use that data effectively.

In the meantime, your business needs to increase the PWin on every deal by making yourself known with good old-fashioned Capture. Government is not very keen on social media. You need to get out and use personal networks, mailers, posters, conventions, meetings, hallway events, town halls and non-profit events for goodwill to make your presence known. That then puts your name on their radar, and then you get notified under a requirement known as fair and reasonable efforts to put a bid to market. Being a known vendor, believe it or not, comes down to the right people being personally aware of your business’ existence. Forget sharing Facebook likes; this is about shaking hands, making calls, having meetings and explaining what you do to lots of government officials you’ve already targeted from your research. When they know about you in person, your percent win goes up on your subsequent bids because you become a known commodity.

If Eligible, Take Advantage of Status Registration

Various registrations are required just to be able to do business with government and others give you advantages. Small business, minority-owned businesses, women-owned businesses, HUB zone and veteran-owned enterprises are all officially listed as preferred categories for government buying. Take advantage of your status to boost your Pwin by finding set-aside opportunities and shaping others to become what you are. Also, consider subcontracting in this regard. Almost all large prime contractors need a percentage of their government business to go to small subcontractors, so searching out these contracts and players can give you an indirect favored channel to government business as well.

Don’t Forget to Connect

Remember, everyone you talk to in government is a potential procurement contact, either directly or indirectly. Play your contacts to gets notices, heads up, introductions, meetings and inroads for potential bids. This is an ongoing effort and should be considered a normal part of your daily capture process. Many companies use consultants for this effort, but you can also perform it directly as well. BIT Solutions can help with your capture, management, organization and planning. Their software tool CaptureExec is uniquely designed for Government contractors to manage and improve their PWin by collecting better information about each opportunity and crafted for robust communications, information organization, and service delivery. Consider partnering your human effort with smart tools like for increased connections and wins.

 

About Skip Blackburn