30 Key Elements of a Federal Pipeline

Monday, March 15, 2021

Government Contracting isn’t for the faint of heart. Due to the slow nature of the federal procurement sales cycle, an organization striving to be successful in this industry can’t afford to only focus on one opportunity at a time. Instead, Government Contractors must create and maintain a targeted federal pipeline consisting of various potential opportunities and federal buyer relationships in order to successfully manage, shape, and pursue federal contracts that best fit their organization.

Taking the time to establish a federal pipeline of opportunities is critical to successful business development efforts as it represents an organization’s potential for future growth. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to build an actionable, current, and rewarding pipeline. 

Identifying Key Elements of Federal Pipeline

With the right level of detail, federal pipelines can provide decision-makers with an effective planning tool to chart future growth, monitor progress, evaluate re-compete risk, all while brainstorming new opportunities. But knowing where to start when building a federal pipeline can be difficult and overwhelming. Here are 30 key elements of a federal pipeline:

Must Haves (Beginner)

No matter the format, the notations in a federal pipeline should be easily understood by outside parties at their most basic level. The “must-haves” of a federal pipeline should cover the basic anatomy of a federal opportunity, allowing a business development professional to easily identify the “who, what, where, and when” of a contract.

  • Opportunity Name (Contract Name)
  • Status (Procurement Status)
  • Federal Entity (Federal Agency and Office)
  • Dates (Original Posted Date, Last Updated Date, Response Date, etc.)
  • Solicitation Number
  • Competition Type (Unrestricted, Restricted, Set-Aside Competition, etc.)
  • Classification (NAICS and Class Code)
  • Federal Points of Contact
  • Source and Link

Nice to Haves (Intermediate)

In order to graduate your federal opportunity pipeline from beginner-level to intermediate, you might consider adding in some “nice-to-haves”. These “nice-to-haves” consider past performance, existing capabilities, and the competitive landscape which can help improve projections and enhance the value of your pursuits.

  • Organizational Status (i.e., where is your organization in your gate review process?)
  • Bidding Type (Prime or Subcontractor)
  • Contract Type (Firm-Fixed-Price, Time and Materials, Cost-Plus, etc.)
  • Procurement Vehicle (i.e., GSA OASIS GWAC, DHS FirstSource II IDIQ, etc.)
  • Functional Area (i.e., what services, client portfolio, and/or solutions vertical does this fit into?)
  • Award Type (Single or Multiple Award)
  • Value (i.e., Estimated/Projected Contract Value [Ceiling] and Actual Contract Value)
  • Period of Performance (i.e., base and option years)
  • Incumbent Information (Vendor Name and Contract Number)

Value-Adds (Advance)

Once you establish your business development process and advance your federal opportunity pipeline – you’ll want to start adding in a few “value-adds”. These “value-adds” not only evolve your pipeline into a critical management and oversight tool but also helps streamline your strategic planning process.

  • P-Win (Pw) Percentage
  • Labor Categories
  • Number of Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs)
  • Rate(s)
  • Hour(s) Per Month
  • Monthly Revenue
  • Yearly Revenue
  • Weighted Monthly
  • Weighted Revenue
  • Description
  • Priority Level
  • Capture or Opportunity Manager

Creating a Federal Pipeline

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.

Need help building a pipeline? Contact us to learn more about our pipeline development services and our interactive pipeline tool, Part9.

More From The Pulse

The Cancellation Heard ‘Round the Beltway: A2SB

The Pulse explores how the cancellation of GSA's Alliant 2 Small Business (A2SB) shook an already fragile industry.

Preconceptions of PowerPoint Presentations

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been told there is only one way to put together a PowerPoint for a presentation. One golden standard “best practice” to ensure your audience is engaged while you’re speaking.

General Services Administration (GSA)

The General Services Administration (GSA) is everyone’s favorite love-to-hate “mission enabler,” charged with “delivering the best value in real estate, acquisition, and technology services to Government and the American people”. However, over the past 68 years, we have seen GSA’s area of responsibility morph into monstrous proportions.