Tips for Marketing Your GSA Schedule as a Small Business
Competing in the federal market can be difficult, especially if you don’t have the right tools and knowledge to properly market your GSA contract. As a small business, there are so many opportunities in the federal marketplace, but it’s up to you to know where to find them. You may know your industry commercially, but it’s crucial that you understand the government side of marketing.
There are a few things to consider in the federal market when you are deciding how to best use your GSA Schedule. Before creating a marketing plan for your contract, it’s helpful to conduct research to determine where your best opportunities are. So, we put together some questions to help you figure out where your products and services will fit into the federal market, and some tips to help you get started.
Questions Contractors Should Ask Before Marketing their GSA Schedule
Which Federal Agencies Are Purchasing my Products and Services?
With the vastness of federal procurement, it’s important to narrow down your market and determine who will be interested in your offerings. Use your North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code(s) and your Special Item Numbers (SINs) to seek out opportunities such as matchmaking events put on by specific agencies, or relevant contracting opportunities listed on GSA eBuy and SAM.gov. You can also use resources like the Data Bank in SAM.gov which is home to data from 90+ contract writing systems and can help you narrow down specific opportunities based on your business.
Are there Any Small Business Set-Aside Opportunities?
When looking at the needs of potential buyers, you want to make sure your company has the resources to compete, and you are targeting agencies that are buying what you offer. Does your company qualify for certain small business set-asides? The federal government is required to set aside a specific percentage of federal procurement to small businesses, so set-aside contracts are a great place to look for future contracting opportunities. As important as it is for you to know if your targeted agencies have set-aside opportunities, you’ll also want to make sure your entity is classified under all applicable socioeconomic goals. You don’t want to miss out on specified contracts available to your company.
Who Are my Competitors? Who Holds the Current Contracts?
By looking at your competitors, you can determine what contracts they are competing on and if there are options for your company in that space. You can research and find your competitors on one of these 3 GSA sites:
If you are a small business and do not think you have the resources to compete alone, you could partner with a competitor or the current contract holder and form a Contractor Teaming Arrangement (CTA) or subcontract with them. GSA eLibrary is arguably the best resource for researching competition. This website will help you find contracts under the same SINs as yours.
What Contracts Are Set to Expire that I Can Compete On in the Future?
It’s always smart to be one step ahead. Knowing when a contract is going to expire can give your team the time needed to prepare a proposal and be ready to compete when the time comes. GSA also provides the Acquisition Gateway forecasting tool that shows forward looking data about future procurement requirements and potential prime contracting opportunities. This can be beneficial if your small business has the resources to fulfill the contract or is looking to team/subcontract with a prime contractor on an opportunity.
Tips for Finding GSA Contracting Opportunities
There are a lot of ways to find GSA contracting opportunities as we started to get into above, but we realize it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start. So, we summed up 5 tips for being proactive about researching and locating relevant opportunities for your business:
- Respond to Requests for Information (RFIs) and Sources Sought Notices in a timely and comprehensive manner. These often breed Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and it’s crucial to get your foot in the door early so you can help shape the future opportunities.
- Attend industry days put on by GSA. GSA holds Industry days events a couple of times a year so you can learn about all the latest GSA updates and network with government agencies and other contractors. Keep your eyes open for the next one in your region.
- Strategically manage your time at matchmaking events. If you decide to attend a matchmaking event, make sure you are taking the time to explore all the subcontracting opportunities out there by connecting with prime contractors and federal agencies.
- Network with other GSA contractors. Although some contractors may be your competitors, others can be your partner. Contractors often team up in Contractor Teaming Arrangements to complete solicitation requirements and tag-team the resources.
- Check GSA eBuy for opportunities. GSA eBuy lists relevant RFIs, RFPs, and RFQs related to your Special Item Numbers (SINs).
Marketing Your GSA Contract
Once you have completed market research and determined the opportunities available, you can begin marketing your company. This begins with your GSA pricelist, also known as your text file. It’s crucial to keep your text file clean, simple, and up to date so buyers can navigate it easily. To make your entity more visible, keep your GSA Advantage! catalog up to date and as comprehensive as possible with pictures and details. On both of these documents and elsewhere, be sure to use one of the “GSA Schedule” or “GSA Contract Holder” logos, along with your contract number in all marketing materials and brochures.
While we have mainly focused on important GSA websites, your company website is another great place to market your GSA Schedule. You can use the GSA logos with your contract number on your company homepage and attach a link from your company’s website to your GSA Advantage! and GSA eLibrary listings.
Becoming a Successful GSA Contractor
There are several opportunities for success within GSA as a small business, you just have to be proactive in finding them. Marketing your GSA schedule includes conducting market research, identifying target audiences, developing a strategic plan (such as match making events) and developing a marketing strategy using GSA and personal resources.
If you want to learn more about marketing your GSA contract and becoming a successful contractor, you can check out our other blogs on these topics:
- GSA Schedule Marketing 101
- How Government Contractors Can Stand Out from their Competition
- 5 Tips to Becoming a Successful GSA Contractor
If you have questions or need help managing your GSA contract, one of our consultants would be happy to help you.