On October 8th, The Pulse of GovCon and Eastern Foundry teamed up to facilitate an open and honest discussion on industry best practices and pitfalls when shaping in opportunity in government contracting.
In our mission to break the conventional rules of typical the GovCon meet-and-greet, The Shred event served as an interactive training workshop where participants collaborated to discuss and identify actionable and focused capture tactics and practices that uniquely support their organization’s challenges.
To facilitate and evaluate the workshop, The Shred utilized two (2) main tools: Slack and a short “Overall Feedback Form”. Slack allowed participants to interact and share their responses/feedback to the prompts in real-time during the event. The Slack channel was reviewed and shared in real-time to all in-person participants. The “Overall Feedback Form” was used to obtain feedback on the overall content, methodology, and arrangements of the workshop.
The Shred presented five (5) prompts which were meant to engage real discussion amongst the group.
How do you formally track customer communication/relationship management for opportunity identification?
What is your go-to, sure-fire question for a new potential customer that you know will melt their heart and breakdown walls? What is your Government pick up line?
Who is responsible in your organization for doing the research (i.e. reading budgets, GAO reports, etc.)?
What industry organization has actually assisted you in growing your business? (This is not a paid sponsor ad).
Use this opportunity to cold call within your team! Practice your 30 sec. elevator pitch or value statement.
Overall, the participants of the event found the workshop to be stimulating, interactive, and helpful. The Shred has captured and summarized the groups input below:
CRM tool Octant but not used well because of bad habits and lack of leadership follow-up
LinkedIn Premium + LinkedIn Recruiter has a “notes” feature that makes it easy to track interactions
Google Drive organized with specific subject lines
Microsoft Teams + Outlook tools
“What keeps you up at night?”
For the conversations you are having outside the business, leverage your associations to “warm” the conversation.
“Getting through the gate was worse than the traffic to get here!”
Industry (including capture folks) need to be aware that these opening lines are different when you are selling software/hardware vs. services. Upfront research is important irregardless, but when selling software/hardware – you open with the facts.
In face-to-face meetings, capture folks need to observe a new clients unique biases, perspectives, interests and hot buttons. What is on their desk? What memorabilia is in their office? How distracted are they? Use these observations to ask questions focusing on them to gain more insight as to how you will establish a rapport that will allow them to remove their barriers to what you are trying to say.
What is the objective and/or goal with each piece of material?
Budget documents = identify where the money is going.
GAO material = identify federal efficiciences or improvements.
Protest decisions = identify how Agencies evaluate proposals + competitive intelligence on vendors.
Who is responsible for this research?
In small businesses, you can only really tackle this when you (or your people) are not directly billable. In mid-tier and large businesses, this is normally a Business Analyst’s responsibility. A Business Analyst is key as they act as your “front-end sensors” to the market.
How much time do you spend on this?
Small business vendors = 1 -2 hours a week, once a week.
Mid-Tier = 10% of their weekly time.
What is the research that really matters prior to your Federal meeting?
Know the Agency’s organizational chart, know the acronyms before you walk in the door.
Word of advice, “if you are not heavily involved or on a committee – you are wasting money.”
Preferred organizations (again, not a advertisement): Association of Proposal Management Professional National Capital Area (APMP-NCA), AFCEA International, National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), International Stability Operations Association (ISOA), Intelligence National Security Alliance (INSA), MITRE Analytic Technology Industry Roundtable, Virginia Procurement Technical Assistance Program (VA PTAC), National Veteran Small Business Coalition (NVSBC), and #NatSecGirlSquad.
Government Contracting Is Evolving, It’s Time To Shred Old Practices.
GovCon is ever-fearful that their honest thoughts and opinions will cost them revenue & relationships. That’s where we come in. The Pulse of GovCon + Eastern Foundry has teamed up to give blunt analysis on the federal market, customers & what it takes to be successful. Actions speak louder than words, so let’s do more than scream into the void. We invite you to come together and learn from shared experiences with your friends, colleagues, competimates, and frenemies.