5 Tips for Selling on GSA Advantage!
As a GSA Schedule contractor, you are given access to a variety of tools and platforms for advertising and selling to government buyers. Arguably, the most important of these is GSA Advantage!. Much in the way that you and I would purchase items from Amazon or shop online during Cyber Monday, Contracting Officers for government agencies access GSA Advantage! to browse the full catalog of contractors and their offerings. Even if you’ve already established consistent relationships with existing buyers, your public sector footprint could grow even larger with the aid of GSA Advantage!.
Although managing Advantage! on the back-end can be a handful, the results you’ll see on the customer-facing side can be significant. Below are 5 tips for how to sell on GSA Advantage!.
1. Keep Your GSA Advantage! Price List Updated
The single most important thing you can do as a contractor listing a catalog on GSA Advantage! is to make sure it's fully up to date. This means ensuring that all contract modifications are accounted for – additions, deletions, price adjustments, and more.
Make sure that all your awarded line items are posted with the correct pricing and that all information accompanying each line item is current, accurate, and complete. This is an important item for GSA compliance as well. Your IOA (Industrial Operations Analyst) will look for your full GSA Advantage! price list to ensure everything is listed correctly. Buyers won’t see your results if your GSA Advantage! price list isn’t up to date.
2. Upload Photos and Detailed Descriptions
You wouldn’t buy a product online without at least seeing what it looked like or having a detailed description of exactly what it is, would you? Since government buyers are using American tax dollars to fulfill their needs, it’s important that they are able to confirm that your product/service is exactly what they’re looking for.
GSA Advantage! will allow you to upload photos up to 1 MB in size, and the program allows multiples to be posted for each line item. In addition to showing buyers exactly what the item is, or if you’re going to upload a company logo instead, detailed descriptions can go a long way. One acronym to keep in mind here is SEO, Search Engine Optimization. This means optimizing your results to be indexed in the best possible locations by utilizing keywords in your descriptions. Be sure to include keywords relevant to your industry in your description, whether it be construction equipment, hardware, cloud software, office products, etc.
3. Learn the SIP Program to Understand the Back-end
The GSA Advantage! website can be updated through GSA’s Schedule Input Program (SIP). This program will be your key to presenting the best possible catalog to the public and potential buyers alike. The program will allow you update your listing after modifications, update contact information, incorporate photos, and more. SIP can often be a difficult program to master, so if you have questions, you can reach out to either the GSA Vendor Support Center (VSC) for basic inquiries or contact one of our consultants for more detailed requests.
It's also important to note that SIP version 9 was recently released, and contractors must upload and install the newest version by December 1, 2022, or you won't be able to access your catalog from the old version.
4. Send Links to Potential Buyers
Following tips 1-3 above should result in a very strong listing for your GSA Schedule catalog. Don’t be afraid to send links to your GSA Advantage! for specific products/services, or your entire catalog offering in general to potential buyers, or add the appropriate links to your company's website. Government buyers are just like every day public buyers, sometimes they don’t know exactly what they’re going to buy until it’s in front of them.
5. Gather Market Research
One of the most underrated aspects of the GSA Advantage! program is its ability to be a reference resource for all contractors. GSA contract holders are required to keep their GSA Advantage! price list current, accurate, and complete. Since this site is public, this creates an environment in which contractors are able to perform fairly in-depth market research in order to become more competitive in their industry. This can be immensely helpful not only for the sake of comparison regarding a current bid or Purchase Order (PO), but it can also be helpful when pricing line items in an addition modification to your contract. This is a key step in successfully marketing your GSA Schedule.
Bonus Tip – Include a Capabilities Statement in Your GSA eLibrary Text File
The other half of your company’s GSA contract’s public-facing platform is GSA eLibrary. GSA eLibrary is essentially the landing page for a contractor’s Schedule as a whole. In addition to linking to your company’s GSA Advantage! listing, this website also houses your text file pricelist (most commonly in PDF format).
Although there are certain requirements and restrictions within this document such as including all relevant terms and conditions, including prompt payment and volume discounts, the document can be edited to include a capabilities statement. As a federal contractor, buying agencies will often request a brief statement of your company’s capabilities, so you may already have this handy. Feel free to insert this in your GSA text file pricelist in a presentable format. This will put your company ahead of the curve when it comes to buyers evaluating your offering against competitors.
Are You Prepared to Sell to the Government?
If you want to learn more about selling to the government through GSA Advantage! and in general, check out our blogs, "GSA Advantage! Best Practices" and "The Basics of Government Marketing." As always, please contact us for any questions regarding GSA Advantage!, and we’ll make sure you’re connected to one of our experts!