1. How do I find out if a company has a GSA Schedule?
2. How do I find out if a Federal Government agency is meeting its procurement goals for small business set-asides?
3. How do I engage with Government end users / requiring activity points of contact (POCs), e.g., Government Program Managers to learn more about their requirements?
4. How do I find the names and contact information for Government small business representatives at a particular Department or Agency?
5. How do I find out if a Federal Government bid is under protest?
6. What does it take to be successful in Federal Government Business Development?
7. For subcontracting opportunities, how do I pick the best prime contractor?
8. How do I know if competition is favorable to bid? Specifically, how do I know if a procurement is “baked” for a particular vendor?
9. How do I know if competition is favorable to bid? In particular for follow-on or re-compete opportunities, how do I know if the incumbent is “entrenched”?
1. You can visit the GSA eLibrary to get the latest GSA contract award information:
You can either search by company name using the A-Z Contractor Directory to find all GSA Schedule awards by company:
Or you can search by Schedule and SIN to identify all contractors who have awards for the selected schedule / SIN using the Cross-Schedule Search:
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2. You can visit the Small Business Administration (SBA) website to see Government-wide and Agency scorecards for each Fiscal Year:
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3. Through your personal and professional network, determine the targeted agency’s “climate” for being open to industry. For example, in the DoD Modeling & Simulation (M&S) Community that is centralized within the UCF Research Park, all four services have a presence but the Navy agency, NAWCTSD, is by far the most open. The former CO reserved each Friday afternoon to meet with industry representatives to either see new technology demonstrations or tour facilities.
Other communities within DoD and the Intelligence Community hold annual conferences, which provides access to Government requirements POCs. The biggest conferences include DoDIIS and GEOINT. You can research similar events for your community of interest.
If targeting a specific agency, then develop and execute a Government Call Plan that includes a list of all potential Government end users / requiring activity points of contact (POCs), e.g., Government Program Managers, for engagement. Include the preferences of each POC. Request a meeting through either a Small Business Office representative (if you are a small business) or directly with each POC. To gain interest for the meeting, submit a tailored capabilities brief or unsolicited white paper. When the meeting occurs, don’t focus on regurgitating your capabilities statement, but rather, allow the Government representatives to speak and listen to learn about their challenges and needs. With that information, you will be better able to provide a solution that will benefit them by resolving their issues.
To try to learn more about the Government’s requirements, you can research similar contracts to identify previously funded requirements. Also check to see if the agency has open BAA or SBIR vehicles with topics that align with your proposed solution. Finally, check to see if the agency has any OTAs or consortiums in place that you can join to submit a project proposal or white paper or participate in an event.
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4. The easiest way to find small business POCs for a particular Federal Government organization is to Google the name of the Department or Agency along with the terms "Small Business Office." For larger departments, small business representatives are typically assigned for each Service (e.g., the Department of Defense has small business offices for each of the Army, Navy, and Air Force Services as well as the various Defense agencies), Bureau, or Sub-agency, so be sure to use specific organization names. However, most large Departments provide a "directory" of Small Business Specialists for the entire Department. For example, the latest (two year old) U.S Army Small Business Specialist Directory can be found here:
Keep in mind that the Contracting Organization and the Requiring Activity for an opportunity may be two different agencies. For example, the U.S. Army Leadership Training procurement (Solicitation Number W52P1J-18-T-LD12) is being managed by the Army Contracting Command Rock Island (ACC-RI), Rock Island, Illinois; however, the end user of this training is the Crane Army Ammunition Activity (CAAA), Crane, Indiana. Typically, the Small Business Specialist assigned to the opportunity is aligned with the requiring activity; however, it is best to confirm this with the Contracting Office POC for the opportunity. (Therefore, for the CAAA Leadership Training opportunity, according to the U.S. Army Small Business Specialists Directory, the Small Business POC for CAAA is Ms. Rachel Eaggleston, Phone: 812-854-4412, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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5. You can search the GAO Bid Protest Docket here:
By entering the Solicitation Number in the "Search the Bid Protest Docket" section of the Search Form, you will be able to find out if the bid is under protest.
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6. Consistently successful BD requires: research, intelligence gathering, and relationship building. Every BD professional should apply a combination of research and interpersonal skills to identify opportunities, and possess a broad professional network so that he or she can leverage existing relationships to identify opportunities through networking.
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7. There are six key criteria used to vet / rank and select the best prime contractor teaming partner:
- CUSTOMER INTIMACY: How well does the potential prime know the customer? Do they have an understanding of the customer environment and requirements? Do they have a good reputation / advocacy with the customer?
- CUSTOMER PAST PERFORMANCE: This goes hand in hand with obtaining customer intimacy, but goes beyond the experience and understanding piece, based on HOW WELL they have been performing work for this customer. BTW it is possible to be performing well, but not have the advocacy from all stakeholders within the organization. Many companies get a bad rep for having what it takes to meet and exceed requirements with quality work, but lose cred by being arrogant and acting like they know more than their customer. Not good.
- CORPORATE PROCESSES, CLEARANCE LEVELS, CERTIFICATIONS: This mainly comes in play when evaluating Small Business primes, as many SBs may not have what is required in these areas. Still, with Large Businesses, it is telling to see their corporate commitment in these areas, and how much they have invested in the company to distinguish themselves from the competition through this infrastructure.
- PRICE-TO-WIN STRATEGY: Do they know how to be competitive WRT pricing in the target / local market (i.e., at the place of performance)? How do you tell? What other contracts have they won or lost against the competition for that customer? Most pricing evaluations are consistent across contracts within a government agency.
- IN-HOUSE PROPOSAL SUPPORT: Again, another factor for evaluating SB primes, but in either case, you don't want to get stuck with writing or managing the proposal for your prime! (unless you have cut a sweet deal on workshare and part of that deal is the proposal "lift" you've agreed to take on)
- ACTIVE CAPTURE: How long has the potential prime been tracking the opportunity? How long have they been preparing to win it through capture and proposal planning activities? If you brought the opportunity to their attention, then you should consider other primes.
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8. It is usually fairly easy to spot a “baked” procurement. Some key indicators include:
- Very specific and detailed requirements are provided in the Statement of Work (SOW) or Performance Work Statement (PWS)
- Key personnel and/or labor category requirements are also very specific, including years of experience and qualifications that can only be met by incumbent contractor personnel
- Potential barriers to other bidders are included as requirements that can only be met by the incumbent, such as possession of specific corporate certifications, office locations within a certain distance of the place of performance, etc.
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9. Incumbent contractors have a 50% Pwin for re-competes, assuming they have been performing at a satisfactory level during the period of performance. Their level of “entrenchment” is indicated by a number of factors:
- Number of re-competes won (and how long they have been performing the work for the customer)
- Any contract bridge activity or delays in the contract actions for the re-compete
Early re-competes (i.e., option years of contracts not exercises), absence of contract bridge activity, and advance market research (i.e., SSN/RFI releases) or pre-solicitation notices are indicators that the incumbent may not be performing. As you gather knowledge of the customer environment and competitive intelligence, any customer pain points that involve the incumbent contractor are also key indicators of the incumbent's performance.
Also, if the contract was previously awarded as a small business set-aside, then check the size standard for the associated NAICS code, and try to determine if the incumbent has “graduated” from small business size status (i.e., does not meet the size standard for the NAICS code). In that case, the incumbent will NOT be able to compete as a prime, and will have to identify a small business to “prop up” as their prime contracting partner.
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