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March 13, 2022

When it comes to selling products or services, the government is a massive potential customer base. But how to sell to the government? And what are the best practices for submitting proposals and following up with buyers post-sale?

In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about how to sell to the government.

How to sell to the government

GSA is the federal government’s acquisition arm. It plays an important role in connecting the private sector to federal agencies that can fulfill their business needs. GSA provides professional services, equipment and supplies, and telecommunications and information technology to commercial businesses and government organizations.

It also offers acquisition solutions through its Federal Acquisition Service (FAS).

GSA also provides government workplaces by managing, constructing, and preserving federal buildings and by leasing and managing commercial real property through its Public Buildings Service.

FedBizOpps – Find Business Opportunities

how to sell to the government

Federal contractors and businesses that are interested in providing goods or services to the government should:

  1. Find out about government opportunities that are relevant to your business.
  2. Make the necessary preparations to bid on a GSA contract.
  3. Send an offer

To be notified about new opportunities in their industry, businesses should first visit Federal Business Opportunities . FedBizOpps is a comprehensive database that includes all major government solicitations, contracts awards, subcontracting opportunities and surplus property sales. It also provides information about foreign business opportunities with federal government.

Understanding how GSA buys

Different types of contracts are used when commercial businesses sell goods or services to the federal government. The General Services Administration (GSA) is the primary contract vehicle for these transactions. There are several different types of GSA contracts, but the most common is the GSA Schedule (or Multiple Award Schedule).

GSA will search for new procurement vehicles if existing contracts are not meeting evolving needs. GSA will continue to support small businesses and promote competition in the market. Companies that do not have a GSA contract may still be eligible to participate in subcontracting with existing contract holders.

Assistance for Small Businesses

American commerce is based on small businesses. Click To Tweet

The federal government has a mandate to provide a variety of programs and services, especially for small businesses. These are coordinated and monitored by the Office of Small Business Utilization in GSA.

OSBU’s small business outreach activities consist of:

  • Training;
  • Counseling;
  • Set-Aside Opportunities;
  • Subcontracting Opportunities;
  • Trade Missions
  • Roundtables and Procurement Conferences

Selling to Government: 5 Tips to Increase Your Government Sales

Although selling to the government can seem daunting for contractors, there are key strategies and tips that can help you structure your efforts and help you excel in the market. Building your government sales team is one of the most difficult challenges your company will face.

Before you can take advantage of the opportunities available to your company, you need a go-to market strategy. We’ve already covered how to find and win government contracts, but today we will focus on how to sell to the government. Here are top five tips for increasing your government sales:

  1. Find the right contract vehicle for your company.
  2. Develop Your Government Sales and Marketing Strategy.
  3. Where to find government contract opportunities.
  4. Identify and outsell your competition.
  5. Install and Establish a Pipeline.

how to sell to the government

1. 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 (GSA) 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

2. Build Your Online Presence and Government Marketing Strategy  

Now that you have decided on the right contract vehicle for your company, what next? Next, and most importantly, is to create your government marketing strategy.

 

There are many ways to increase your visibility in the government marketplace, and one of the most effective is through your company website. Make sure to include a section specifically for your government and public sector offerings, as this can greatly increase brand awareness among potential buyers.

Case studies and whitepapers are also great tools to showcase your company’s expertise and how you can help support the government’s mission. All social media channels can be valuable to utilize while looking to increase your government sales, but LinkedIn is generally seen as the main outlet for government customers.

Utilizing LinkedIn as a way to build your online presence will help you and your organization connect and network with government officials, helping you stand out from the competition.

3. Where to Find Government Contract Opportunities

If you would like to do business with the United States Government, you must register on the System for Award Management (SAM). Click To Tweet

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 (www.fbo.gov) as your primary resource. This website is maintained by the United States General Services Administration (GSA) and lists all active federal contracts, solicitations, and awards.

You can also use FBO’s Advanced Search feature to filter results by agency, NAICS code, product or service type, and other criteria. Another great resource

  1. GSA eBuy.
  2. Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation (FPDS-NG).
  3. For state and local contract opportunities, you may want to consider targeting the following resources:

  4. State Procurement Portals
  5. County and City Procurement Portals
  6. State Procurement Forecasts

4. Identify and Outsell Your Competition

No matter how hard you try, you will always have competition. However, this is something that can be avoided by standing out from the crowd. This can be done by building your online presence and government marketing strategy.

Identifying the differentiators between you and your competition can help you outsell them. If buyers can see how your offering is different from all the others, they are more likely to award you the contract.

Remember that government buyers are considering several options and vendors when searching for a solution, so make it easy for them to see how your company is unique!

5. Build and Establish a Pipeline

Now that your company has won an award for a new opportunity that is a good fit for its product offering, the next step is to build and establish a pipeline. This will ensure that you can continue to capitalize on this success and grow your business.

how to sell to the government

One important tip to keep in mind when building and establishing your pipeline is to do your market research. That is, identify what opportunities you think would be a good fit for your company and include them in your pipeline.

Being proactive and building a 12-36-month pipeline will help your company maintain success in the government marketplace. Another way your company may grow your current pipeline is to expand on current government contracts with expanded task orders.

Conclusion

When selling to the government, it is important for contractors to consider a variety of strategies. While selling to the government can be difficult, these five tips can help increase your sales. By following these guidelines, you will be better equipped to make successful sales to the government.

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