How to Sell to the Government
After the Biden Administration passed a sweeping domestic funding plan which includes $1 trillion dollars in anticipated infrastructure spending, you may be wondering how to infiltrate the public sector and gain access to the vast amount of government contract opportunities. While selling to the government may seem like a difficult endeavor, understanding the many nuances of the government marketplace will certainly help you expand your company’s public sales efforts. In this blog, we’ll cover five steps to how to sell to the government including how you can get on a streamlined contract vehicle like the GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS).
Step 1: Government Market Research
So, you’re interested in selling to the government through a GSA Schedule contract, now what? Market research should be your fist step in determining your public sector strategy. You will need to have a good understanding of:
- Your target government customers (federal vs. State, Local, Education or SLED)
- What products and services your target agencies are purchasing
- How your target agencies are currently procuring goods and services (the contract vehicle they are purchasing from)
- Who the current provider(s) or contractors are
How do you gather this information? We compiled a list of helpful resources below that you can use to understand how to specifically target your government customers to meet and exceed their demand. These resources include:
- USASpending.gov: This site provides a comprehensive view of overall government spending.
- SAM.gov: This site is a web-based, government-wide application that collects, validates, stores, and disseminates business information. You can also search for upcoming and past contracting opportunities.
- GSA eLibrary: One-stop-shop for all the latest GSA Schedule contract award information. This is where you can research what other contractors are offering and which agencies they are selling to.
- Paid subscription tools: Government marketplace paid subscription tools offer an extra layer of search terms and values specific to your market and make it easier for you to keep track of relevant opportunities.
Step 2: Getting on a Government Contract Vehicle
Understanding the public sector and who your target government customers are will help you make the important decision on which government contract vehicle is right for your company. If you are looking to sell to the federal government, you will want to look into getting a GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contract. With a GSA Schedule, your company will have the ability to sell to federal agencies as well as eligible state, local, and tribal governments. If you want to explore different types of contracts, you can check out our blog on government contract vehicles.
If you decide you want to pursue a GSA Schedule contract, you’ll want to make sure you are prepared to take the next steps:
- Ensure you are eligible to sell through a GSA Schedule contract.
- Register for a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number (Note: by April of 2022, the federal government will transition from the DUNS number to a new Unique Entity ID in SAM.gov).
- Register with the System for Award Management (SAM) or SAM.gov.
- Determine the appropriate North American Industry Classification System NAICS code(s) you want to sell under.
- Obtain a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) code.
Things to Consider When Getting on a Contract Vehicle
It’s important to understand how your company will maintain your GSA Schedule or any other government contracts. Will there be a designated contract administrator, or will you work with a consulting company that will update and maintain accurate records in all programs associated with government sales?
Additionally, your company should consider if you want to pursue your own Prime GSA Schedule, or if you want to become an authorized manufacturer on an established GSA reseller’s Schedule. If you do not meet all the requirements to get on a GSA Schedule, partnering with a reseller could be an option for you.
Tip 3: Establish Your Presence in the Government Marketplace
Now that you have determined which government contract vehicle works best for your organization, you should focus your company’s efforts on establishing and building your online presence and government marketing strategy. It’s imperative you have a go-to-market plan prior to entering to public sector to ensure your company’s success in government contracting.
Creating a government landing page on your company website is a vital step in establishing your government marketing presence. This page should focus on how your goods and/or services differentiate from your competitors, and what value they bring to potential government customers. If you pursue a GSA Schedule contract, we recommend at a minimum including the following information on your government landing page:
- A link to your GSA eLibrary page
- A link to your GSA Advantage! page
- GSA Schedule/Government Contract Number
- GSA Schedule/Government Contract Logo
- Dedicated POC for Public Sector
Finally, you will want to have some government related case studies, whitepapers, references to have on file. Having this information will allow your company to emerge as a subject matter expert (SME) in your industry and emphasize why your organization should be the government’s trusted provider. Your main goal of establishing and building out your government marketing presence should be to make it simpler for government buyers to purchase your products.
Tip 4: Identify Your Public Sector Competition
Competition will always exist in the government marketplace—it’s simply unavoidable. Once you determine who your competition is, you will need to identify how your solution is different and how you can effectively outsell your competition.
Highlighting the differentiators that exist between you and your competition will make you stand out, which in return will boost your chances of winning government contract opportunities. It’s important to note that government buyers, especially Contracting Officers (CO), receive numerous responses to government solicitations, so it’s vital you focus on standing out from the competition if you want a better chance of winning awards.
Tip 5: Find and Win Government Contract Opportunities
If you utilize some of the tips mentioned above, finding and winning government contract opportunities should be much more attainable for you and your organization. Most, if not nearly all, government solicitations and government contract opportunities can be found on web-based eCommerce portals. You will want to ensure that your company is registered to any and all relevant portals to increase the government solicitations and government contract opportunities you have visibility on.
Are You Interested in Selling to the Government through a GSA Schedule?
Now that you have reviewed the appropriate steps to do business with the government, you have a better understanding of how you can get involved in government contracting. We understand that while this blog may have helped you envision your plan for selling to the government, you may still be left with several questions like: what’s the process to get a GSA Schedule? How long does it take to get a GSA Schedule? What are my other options to sell to the government?
We are here to help you answer all those questions and any other concerns you may have about becoming a government contractor. If you have general questions about next steps, or need help with getting on a GSA Schedule, please feel free to reach out to one of our consultants today.
About Bradley Wyatt
Bradley Wyatt is an Account Manager for Winvale’s Public Sector Partner Program where he currently manages a diverse portfolio of Information Technology, Hardware, Software, and Services Channel Distribution Partner Accounts to accelerate their sales within the Public Sector. Bradley is a native of Fredericksburg, Virginia and a graduate from James Madison University with his Bachelor’s of Science in Public Policy and Administration.