How To Approach U.S. Federal Government Procurement
By Joe Jordan
March 28, 2023
Commercial opportunities are among the most exciting and important focus areas of government affairs, and the effort of selling products and services to the government – known formally as procurement – is both an enticing yet daunting revenue stream opportunity for most companies. Poligage is pleased to share these insights from Poligage Expert and Advisor Joe Jordan on how companies should think about, plan for, and engage effectively on procurement efforts with the U.S. federal government.
Are there any “benchmarks” that might help company know if they are a candidate to sell their products or services through a government channel?
In FY2022, the US Federal Government spent over $1 trillion on contractual services and supplies. It issued over 5.5 million contract actions to get those goods and services that agencies needed to fulfill their mission. So it is honestly hard to find a company who sells something that the Government doesn’t buy. No matter who you are, I bet it would be a wise use of time and possibly resources to ascertain what your Federal contracting opportunity might look like.
How should a company go about assessing their options for government procurement?
As you can imagine, while the overall U.S. Federal contracting spend is enormous, it can be hard to parse through those millions of contracts and trillions of dollars in spend to figure out what might be a realistic opportunity for your business. The award data is publicly available at usaspending.gov and live contracting opportunities are often listed in the System for Award Management, but many businesses have drowned in that sea of information. That is why it can be a huge time and cost savings to engage a sherpa to help you navigate the best route to the mountaintop.
What are the biggest mistakes you’ve made by companies entering the government procurement realm?
The two biggest mistakes that I see companies make in trying to pursue Federal opportunities are: one, trying to figure it out themselves, despite having limited or no experience navigating the Federal contracting ecosystem, and two, going to the other extreme and hiring “gold tooth bob” to “walk the halls of the Pentagon” and win them contracts. Both of these approaches almost universally fail and lead to significant frustrations and wasted time and money.
What is the typical timeline and cadence for a company getting involved in federal government procurement?
Companies can become registered to do business with the government in a matter of days typically, but it can take much longer than that to win your first contract award. Just like selling in the private sector, you will need to convince a potential buyer to choose your product or service. This takes time and effort, and while blue birds can certainly fly in, the process usually takes ~1 year before a company wins their first Federal contract.
You can download this interview here.
Request a free consultation with Joe Jordan here to discuss your organization’s efforts in U.S. federal government procurement.