How to Win a Government Bid
Anytime someone thinks of government sales, they are drawn to the bidding process. It is exciting to see government agencies posting opportunities that they are in need of your products or services.
You might be asking yourself, “How do I WIN the bid or RFP??!!”.
The best advice is to avoid the bidding process to increase your chances of success by targeting the other 80% of government spending through building relationships. Sometimes this is not an option and advise you to help influence the bid before it is released. This might sound crazy but agencies need help with creating a scope of work, especially if it is something that they have never purchased. Agencies will rely on vendors to help provide direction on what they should be asking for in terms of their needs. Influencing is a term that can be misinterpreted as we are NOT suggesting to do anything unethical but rather help guide the purchaser for the requirements needed to get the job done right! This can work in your benefit if you have a unique offering that will help eliminate your competition.
A common mistake is having someone respond to every bid, especially if you cannot complete 100% of the work. This is a waste of time for your business and the agency. Make sure you are selective in what bids you pursue as this will help increase your bid-to-win ratio. Partnering with a sub or prime contractor can be a way for you to compete but do this before you respond, making it easier for the government agency to identify you are suited for the job.
Here are a few tips to increase your chances of winning a bid or rfp:
Coordinate with a proposal writer. Having someone on your team that knows your business inside and out, has a great attention to detail, and skilled at collaboration between departments will help tremendously.
Save standard verbiage. Most of the time you will have standard verbiage that explains the value of your company and how you can help government agencies. This can be used for every bid/rfp to cut down the time of creating something from scratch.
Include validation items. Share testimonials, previous government customers, and/or work you have done to take away the “risk” factor of an agency working with a new company. Check out Tip #1 in our marketing tips.
Develop a creative angle. Find a way to make your company standout from the competition. What makes your company unique? Are you a local vendor? Are you woman-owned? Do you have 24/7 support? Think about an agency reviewing 10 proposals, what would make your company shine above the rest.
Pricing. Government agencies are looking for the best value which means it does not come down to the cheapest price. Cost definitely plays a part but it is not the end all, be all factor for choosing a vendor. Choose a competitive price that works for your business. Companies sometimes will sell their products or services at cost to get their foot in the door, playing the long game for work in the future. It is totally up to you what you charge, just have a formula for what % of profit will be happy with to make quoting easier.
Last but not least, make sure your proposal is submitted on time! If you are a minute late, the bid will not be considered and all of your hard work will have gone to waste. Some government agencies request vendors to send hard copies of their proposals and others might have a portal to submit bids electronically. It is up to the agencies discretion of how they operate.