How To Sell To The Government
As the acquisition arm of the federal government, GSA plays a vital role in connecting the private sector with federal agencies fulfilling their business needs. GSA offers professional services, equipment, supplies, telecommunications, and information technology from commercial businesses to government organizations and the military through acquisition solutions from its Federal Acquisition Service .
GSA also provides workplaces to the government by constructing, managing, and preserving federal buildings, and by leasing and managing commercial real estate through its Public Buildings Service .
Selling To Local Governments
Provided by OPEN Small Business NetworkSM
Learn how each agency does business
Be very sensitive to price
Municipal contracts are almost always awarded to the low bidder, so agencies can show that they are not wasting the taxpayers’ money. For a small business that has positioned itself to sell on value, not on price, this can be extremely frustrating. Remember that governments base their buying decisions on shortterm expenditures, not longterm savings. You’ll need to focus your sales pitch on what they have to spend, not on what they’ll save.Cost out any contract bid carefully. Can you get the contract and still make money? Don’t lowball the price just to get in the door unlike some businesstobusiness contracts, you’ll find it nearly impossible to renegotiate a higher rate. Don’t get yourself locked into a moneylosing contract.
Look for influence at all levels of government
Make RFPs work for you
Build on successes
General Customer Service And Professionalism
We cannot stress enough the importance of professionalism especially when it comes to customer service.
Sales is a game of relationships.
Government employees are people just like you who want to be treated with the value and respect that you would expect from a business. Thats why sales reps who combine a professional image with quality service have better luck when it comes to attracting and retaining customers. Professional customer service helps build trust while also meeting the needs of your customers. A win-win for both.
So, there it is. Our quick-hit list of need-to-know basics before starting a career in federal sales.
Did we give you everything you need to know about selling to the government?
Definitely, not. But we hope we gave you a starting point and the ability to accept that job offer with limited fear! Keep on the lookout for future blogs from us as we dive deeper into the subjects we talked about today.
See you then!
There is a funny-but-too-true joke in federal software salesyou want to be the third VP of federal sales. The first VP educates the management team and builds the necessary infrastructure, the second VP educates the market and builds sales pipeline, and the third VP closes the deals and gets paid.
This joke seems to hit close to home to many successful VPs of Federal, especially those that have decades of experience. Many have seen this in a growing company theyve worked at, or theyve seen it happen with friends.
1. Federal is a Team Sport
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Selling To Thensw Government
Resources to help your small business acquire the knowledge and skills to tender for NSW Government contracts and local government opportunities
Selling goods and services to the NSW Government and councils can be an important growth opportunity for small businesses. The NSW Government spends about $40 billion each year on the procurement of goods, services and construction.
It can be challenging, however, for a business to qualify as a government supplier, identify suitable tender opportunities and navigate the procurement process.
Becoming a supplier to government was the making of building and construction company, BYGroup
The NSW Government wants to source more of the goods and services it purchases each year from NSW small businesses and has introduced new policies to achieve this. The Governments Small and Medium Enterprise and Regional Procurement Policy, for example, allows Government agencies to directly procure goods and services from an SME or regional business up to the value of $150,000.
Finding Business Opportunities With Samgov
Generally speaking, federal contractors and businesses interested in providing goods and services to the government must:
Businesses should first visit SAM.gov and register there to be notified of newly posted opportunities in their industries. SAM.gov provides a comprehensive database of all major government solicitations, contract awards, subcontracting opportunities, surplus property sales, and foreign business opportunities with the federal government.
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Access To Government Customers
Having access to the wide array of government customers is one important distinction in government versus commercial sales. Government procurement can be through either open market sales or contract vehicles such as a GSA Multiple Award Schedule .
With a GSA Schedule you can sell to federal agencies and other eligible entities. Under certain circumstances, you can also sell to state and local governments using a GSA Schedule. This allows you easier access than having to go through a state or local governments own procurement process. Cooperative purchasing allows GSA Schedule holders to regularly sell IT products and services and law enforcement equipment to state and local governments. GSA can also open up sales in other areas to state and local customers under disaster recovery situations, such as after declaration of a State of Emergency.
Toggle Final Checks Before Submitting Your Tender
Before submitting your tender ensure that you have correctly completed and signed all appropriate tender forms and included all of the information requested by Council.Submit your tender response before the closing time. Plan ahead and get it in a day early no one can see your submission internally or externally before the closing date and time.Lodge your submission where and how the tender document states.
Subcontracting: Getting Your Foot In The Door
Teaming and subcontracting can be effective methods for getting started as a government contractor and gaining experience in the government market.
Teaming allows your company to join forces with a company that offers complementary products and services, to offer government buyers a more attractive, robust solution. Subcontracting allows your company to build experience by working for Prime Contractors that have done the leg work in establishing the contract and agency relationships.
Just as government agencies are encouraged to meet annual set-aside goals for contracting to various types of small businesses, large contractors that hold a GSA Schedule Contract are also required to develop a subcontracting plan that establishes goals for working with small businesses. GSA maintains a Subcontracting Directory, , to assist small businesses in finding subcontracting opportunities with large GSA Schedule Contract holders. This directory lists companies and industries by location, as well as the subcontracting point of contact and company specific subcontracting goals.
GSAs eLibrary site can also be used to identify potential teaming and subcontracting partners. Once you identify the appropriate GSA Schedule categories and Special Item Numbers that best fits your offerings, you can view a list of companies that already offer those products or services under the SIN.
Things To Consider When Getting On A Contract Vehicle
Its important to understand how your company will maintain your GSA Schedule or any other government contracts. Will there be a designated contract administrator, or will you work with a consulting company that will update and maintain accurate records in all programs associated with government sales?
Additionally, your company should consider if you want to pursue your own Prime GSA Schedule, or if you want to become an authorized manufacturer on an established GSA resellers Schedule. If you do not meet all the requirements to get on a GSA Schedule, partnering with a reseller could be an option for you.
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Selling To The Government: 5 Tips To Increase Your Government Sales
Selling to the government can seem like a daunting task for any government contractor, but focusing on several key tips and strategies can bring some structure to your public sector efforts and help your company excel in the government marketplace. Building your government sales practice is one of the greatest challenges your company may face, and before you can capitalize on the opportunities that exist for your company, you should have a go-to-market strategy in place. We have covered how to find and win government contract opportunities, but today we well focus on how to successfully sell to the government. Here are my top five tips to increase your government sales:
Why Sell To The Government
To most small business owners and startup founders, the idea of selling to governments is baffling. They dont even know where to begin. If you work in a startup, the things you care about are probably the opposite of a life in public service: potential for growth vs. job security freedom and autonomy vs. procedural process. The government seems impenetrable, with bureaucratic nightmares, tight budgets, and crazy contracts.
Endless questions pop up that steer most people well clear of pursuing the government. In many ways, selling to the government is uncharted territory for startups. Its the road not taken.
But because no one really understands how to sell to the government, its a massive opportunity to blaze a trail, to go out there and actually do it.
The government is a huge space, ready to be disrupted. Roughly, 33% of government transactions are processed digitally and continue to raise year over year. Once you get your foot in the door, its a market thats waiting and ready to be cornered.Lets take a look at how SeamlessDocs transformed the trajectory of its business by focusing sales outreach on the government, and how you can do the same.
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Identify What Contract Vehicle Is Right For Your Company
When selling to the government, it is important to understand the products and services you are offering. Different contract vehicles are available depending on the marketplace you will be selling to. If selling to the federal government, a General Services Administration Multiple Award Schedule is most likely the best option.
With a GSA Schedule, you can also sell to select state and local agencies that participate in cooperative purchasing. If selling to a state or local agency that does not participate in cooperative purchasing with GSA, you may need to register for their individual procurement portal.
Under the GSA MAS Consolidation, established contractors now have the ability to sell supplies and services through their GSA Multiple Award Schedule Contract that were previously out of scope of their Schedule. This opens up new opportunities for companies looking to sell to the government.
Contractors also now have access to ALL industry Large Categories under GSA MAS. This means your company could potentially sell goods and services
Are You Interested In Selling To The Government Through A Gsa Schedule
Now that you have reviewed the appropriate steps to do business with the government, you have a better understanding of how you can get involved in government contracting. We understand that while this blog may have helped you envision your plan for selling to the government, you may still be left with several questions like: whats the process to get a GSA Schedule? How long does it take to get a GSA Schedule? What are my other options to sell to the government?
We are here to help you answer all those questions and any other concerns you may have about becoming a government contractor. If you have general questions about next steps, or need help with getting on a GSA Schedule, please feel free to reach out to one of our consultants today.
About Bradley Wyatt
Bradley Wyatt is a Lead Account Manager for Winvales Public Sector Partner Program where he currently manages a diverse portfolio of Information Technology, Hardware, Software, and Services Channel Distribution Partner Accounts to accelerate their sales within the Public Sector. Bradley is a native of Fredericksburg, Virginia and a graduate from James Madison University with his Bachelors of Science in Public Policy and Administration.
3951 Westerre Parkway, Suite 250Richmond, VA 23233
Benefits Of The Cooperative Purchasing Program For Business
The Cooperative Purchasing Program reveals GSA Multiple Award Schedules for a range of non-federal governments that are eligible to participate in the program. For a vendor, this means new opportunities to sell to otherwise unavailable clients. As said above, normally, STLOCs cannot purchase commercial products freely and have to do this using various procurement programs.
So focusing your efforts on cooperative purchasing is a viable tactic, to bite off another piece of the government market.
Also, in 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic the General Services Administration has allowed local and state governments to purchase any emergency services and supplies through MAS contracts by means of the Cooperative Purchasing Program, not only IT or law enforcement products.
Combined with other measures the government has taken to help government agencies fight Coronavirus, this makes Q4 2020 the perfect time to get your first GSA contract.
Where To Find Government Contract Opportunities
It is important to note that your company can find nearly all government contract opportunities at both the federal and state level of government on web-based eCommerce portals. One of the most common questions we hear after someone has been awarded a GSA MAS contract is where do I find government contract opportunities?
We provided some guidance on how to find and win government contract opportunities in this blog, but to stress the importance, here are some of the best vendor portals to find government contract opportunities:
For federal contract opportunities, you should consider using FedBizOpps as your primary resource. This website is maintained by the United States General Services Administration and lists all active federal contracts, solicitations, and awards.
You can also use FBOs Advanced Search feature to filter results by agency, NAICS code, product or service type, and other criteria. Another great resource
For state and local contract opportunities, you may want to consider targeting the following resources:
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How A Tiny Startup Accidentally Discovered The B2g Business Model
SeamlessDocs didnt set out to revolutionize the way governments digitally process forms. The startupwhose software instantly converts PDF or Word docs into dynamic, smart, cloud-based formswasn’t even thinking about the government.
They began like many other startupswith a vision, a couple of people, and a rough product. They had found some traction with small businesses, but not enough to achieve the kind of growth they aspired towards.
The turning point came two years ago, as , the companys Director of Sales, was working late into the night. The phone started ringing: Hey, can I get a demo? I work for the state of Tennessee. Im in the HR department, and was wondering if I can use your electronic signatures on my forms.This call changed the future of the company.
Suddenly, everything clicked. Instead of selling to small businesses with a few forms each, SeamlessDocs looked at the government and saw an industry drowning in permits, registrations, applications, contracts, and surveys. They saw a sector ripe for disruption, and the perfect market for their product.
The whole team sat down and decided to radically shift gears in their sales strategy to dominate one industry: the government.
What Is The Cooperative Purchasing Program
Cooperative purchasing allows state and local governments, sharing procurement contracts between each other to simplify acquisition, speed up the process and save on resources.
The Cooperative Purchasing Program opens up a possibility for certain eligible governments to procure a range of allowed products and services through the GSA MAS Program. Specifically, the Cooperative Purchasing Program authorizes state and local governments to buy IT, security and law enforcement goods and services from GSA Schedule contractors.
Cooperative Purchasing contracts are typically intended to fulfill the common needs of multiple governments: computer hardware and software, IT administration service and consulting, office supplies and furniture, pharmaceuticals, security equipment and such. Thanks to participation in the Cooperative Purchasing Program, STLOCs can leverage the power of the GSA Multiple Award Schedule contracts, as well as save a lot of time and money.
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Understanding How The Federal Culture Works And Operates
In order to fully understand the federal culture, you need to understand how the government works. We recommend taking a quick look back at Government 101. You may remember, the Government is a system of checks and balances, made up of three branches, and designed to ensure that no single entity has too much power.
A VERY quick review:
The Executive Branch, headed by the President, is responsible for enforcing the laws written by Congress.
The Legislative Branch, which consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate , has the power to make laws.
The Judicial Branch is made up of the Supreme Court, and many other smaller courts their job is to interpret the laws.
Simple enough, right?
Ptacs Across The Country Were Surveyed As To Their Top Tips For Selling To State And Local Governments Here Is What Their Procurement Experts Recommend:
Do your research. Determine to which agency or agencies you want to sell, visit their website and find out how they do their purchasing. Do they have a purchasing department, or can each department do its own purchasing? Are there certifications or preference designations you should pursue ? Do they use DUNS numbers, NAICS or NIGP codes? There is a huge variance in purchasing practices among states, and even among counties or cities within the same state. Learn how your target market operates.
Create a one page Capability Statement which lists your capabilities, tailored to match the mission of the agency you are targeting. It should also include information such as your DUNS number, CAGE code, NAICS codes and any certifications your business holds if your target agency uses such data, as well as the size of your business and a few pictures of what you do. Keep the language simple and straightforward and be specific about what you do. NEVER show too many capabilities. Make a separate capability statement for each of your specialties. If you provide both plumbing and carpentry services, then have one capability statement for each of those. Keep it simple and to the point.
More about Procurement Technical Assistance Centers
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