At the end of the day, a federal pipeline should consist of opportunities – whether they are for specific contracts, “conceptual” prospects, or avenues for federal government relationships. Here are some hints on how to build a pipeline that works for you.
Determine the “front of funnel”.
Before you start identifying opportunities, it is important to have search parameters in mind. Guidelines can be easily established through determining your “front of funnel” which is just a fancy way of saying – what is the most important element of your identified opportunity?
- Does it meet your established time frame?
- Does it meet your minimum contract value threshold?
- Is it being supported by your target Customer Federal Agency?
- Is it within your organization’s NAICS or PSC?
Whatever question you aim to answer first, that is your “front of funnel”. Identify it and make sure you stick with it.
Design your pipeline organization around a usable format.
Different organizations do different things so don’t just take someone’s template. Customize your federal pipeline. Make it your own! As we mentioned before, a federal pipeline should be shared and understood by a wider audience than its author (you!) both for internal and external purposes. Make sure your federal pipeline remains accessible and can be easily interpreted – down to the order your information appears.
Match your company’s capabilities to the opportunities to ensure they are realistic.
Not only should you ensure that your federal pipeline tracks opportunities that are right for your organization, but you need to also make sure it expresses a coherent strategy After you get past your “front of funnel” make sure you analyze if the opportunity target matches your organization’s:
- Functional Areas or Capabilities
- Past Performance (Agency or Scope)
- Future Goals
Populate the pipeline through online research (and include the web links).
It takes a tremendous amount of work and discipline to consistently dig through the numerous federal sources to find, identify, and qualify good opportunities for your organization. Once you find that hidden treasure, make sure you provide a roadmap back to it by including the web link in your federal pipeline.
Maintain your pipeline.
Federal pipelines are living, breathing things imperative to meet your organization’s goals, objectives, and metrics every fiscal year. It’s not enough to just create your pipeline – you also have to tailor, implement, and maintain it. Create a standardized process for inputting and updating information by setting your “front of funnel”, defining the stages for your Business-to-Government (B2G) sales cycle, and executing regular pipeline reviews.