Before you even begin the first steps in the procurement process, there are preliminary considerations that are important to fully process. By taking these first steps seriously, you will be able to best prepare for upcoming RFPs and position oneself to best secure projects. Based on our many years of experience in the government contracting landscape, we feel as if each of these pre-steps can better prepare expectations and goals.
Avoid the urge to immediately hire a writer.
When first entering government contracting, there may be a temptation to immediately hire a bid writer. However, we strongly recommend to our clients to educate themselves first on the specifics of the public purchaser and to thoroughly read through the RFP themselves.
Ask yourself: “Am I going to still be here after 10-20-30-40 or 50 losses?,” “Can my company survive with zero wins after 6 months?,” What do I ultimately want?”
This question is important to ask oneself prior to exerting effort on the RFP process. 10-20-30 losses etc. can be discouraging, but it only takes one win to provide incredible value to your business. It can be difficult for some businesses to fail to see their hard work come to fruition after months of hard work. This is an important understanding to have before entering the government contracting space.
Make sure you have five strong references from the last three years.
In order to clearly demonstrate your qualifications for the RFP that you’re applying for, we strongly advise that you have five strong references. We also strongly recommend that your references be within the past three years. This also demonstrates that you are capable of providing the service at a high grade. While any business can show that they have experience, not every business can show positive and strong past performance.
Make sure you understand the competition, what their proposals look like, and how they’re pricing similar services.
Being well informed on the nature of the industry can give you the opportunity to best position yourself. In order to win a bid, it’s important to distinguish yourself from the competition and be able to articulate your advantages. At TKS, we have found the best way to leverage industry information through FOIA requests and obtaining this information in order to assist with bid preparations.
Read up on the foundations of capture management.
We highly recommend that you work to gain foundational knowledge on capture management and the processes behind it. Capture management is generally set into two segments: capture management and proposal development. Capture management provides assurance that everyone will be able to understand the RFP and specific wording.
Determine how many submissions your company will make every week (at least an average). Commit to a number of weekly submissions, not to an end date, win ratio, or any other variable. This ensures momentum and healthy pipeline movement; it trains you and your team to say No Bid more often, flushing out unnecessary distractions.
A set number of submissions weekly assures that your company will continue to improve the pipeline and set yourself up to win more bids. At TKS, we strongly believe in the power of weekly goal-setting and the importance of this time frame. A week allows for momentum to stay fresh, for ideas to be best explored, and for most proposal based deadlines to be reached.
Speak to a few public purchasers on the phone.
Speaking to a public purchaser on the phone is one of the best ways to humanize and improve the image of your bid. By putting an actual tangible person behind the written bid being submitted, you are continuing to assert yourself from the competition. This is also helpful in terms of becoming comfortable speaking with public purchasers, and knowing the best technique.