Pursuit Tips for Federal Work from SMPS Colorado Meeting
Written by Kimberly MacArthur Graham on January 13, 2013
Once again the monthly SMPS lunch presentation topic was so good that I’m compelled to share. We heard from two experts on how to be successful on federal projects. I’ll refrain from sharing the attorney’s advice on contracts (thought it was riveting, especially as a WBE/DBE/small business owner) and, instead, stick to what I know: pursuit tips. Steve Pearson of H&A Architects and Engineers spoke on how his firm has very successfully won (a LOT) of federal work.
Steve Pearson’s Tips for Successfully Pursuing Federal Work:
1 – THE EARLY BIRD GETS DIBS. Many firms rely on FedBizOpps, but by the time a project is published, it’s old news to many of your competitors. They’ve had time to lay groundwork, strategize, and learn about key decision-makers. Pearson recommends scouring early sources such as budget documents, citing a difference in win rate of 85%.
2 – THE NETWORK RULES. Get to know the individuals who prepare the budgets, prioritize and delineate projects, etc. Build an equally strong network of partners. Attend industry events and find other ways to stay in touch – people love to talk and again, your goal is to have a handle on upcoming work (and who’s pursuing it) long before it’s public.
3 – KNOW WHEN TO SAY NO. No firm has the resources to go after every project. Honestly evaluate your skills sets and strengths, your goals, and your resources – and pursue only the projects that you are well-positioned to land and those that will have the greatest impact on your firm. Pearson cautions marketers to remember that at the federal level, competition is ridiculously stiff. You might have a pretty good list of relevant experience, but someone else has a big ol’ business focused SOLELY on that market sector. They will win.
In a nutshell, go deep instead of wide. Spend time upfront on research and strategy (including your team), and allocate your resources wisely. Then give those feds all you’ve got!