For federal government contractors, 2020 could be a year with many unpredictable turns. Despite federal agencies receiving high-levels of funding over the last few years, the upcoming 2020 election, government mandates, and administration turn-over could all have unique impacts on agency RFPs and contract awards.
To ensure your company is prepared for any crazy turns that might arise throughout the year and to capitalize on opportunities as they arise, here are some steps your company can take to start 2020.
Review Your Federal Pipeline and Strategy
The end of the year and the start of a new year is an important time to review the status and health of your government opportunity pipeline as well as examine your strategy for pursuing contracts and analyze your capabilities.
Your company should have created its target accounts and opportunities list when the new federal budget and final spending bills were approved. However, the end of the year gives you a chance to take a step back and review everything.
This is time to answer some important questions:
- Have RFPs been issued? If not, do you know anticipated release dates? If you do not know when RFPs may be released, do you need addition agency intel and capture management support?
- Have you added or are you near to adding new capabilities that could impact your competitiveness on existing opportunities?
- What is the competitive landscape and how has it changed?
- Are there technical requirements (or could there be future technical requirements or certifications) that could impact your ability to win a contract and successfully deliver?
- What phase of capture management are you at? Do you have active marketing campaigns running around each account or opportunity? And if not, what is your overall plan of development and engagement?
These and other questions are important ones to have answered now, so you are ready for when activity starts to pick-up in a few weeks.
We also recommend that you examine your capabilities and make sure they still map to what you know or suspect a federal agency may need. If other agencies have issued similar RFPs or sought to address similar problems, reviewing the requirements of past contracts and the capabilities of award winners could help you better identify your strengths and weaknesses.
Make Sure You Are Trained To Use SAM
While some may not be sad to see FedBizOpps retired, we all know there have been challenges with the roll-out of the new SAM.gov website portal and Contract Opportunities (FBO). Never the less, you and your team need to be aware of how to maximize the search functionality and be self-sufficient in searching for opportunities in the federal government.
One of the best ways to do this is to leverage free online training through webinars. GDI Consulting has run two events on SAM.gov, and they are available for viewing at no cost. We recommend you start with the introduction and then view the advanced training session.
The two events are:
2nd (Advanced) Training Webinar on Beta.SAM Website
If you prefer a more personalized training and consultation, please let us know and we can book a time to train your team at your office.
Set Up Alerts on Key Agencies
The Trump administration has managed its cabinet secretaries and agency leadership positions differently than past administrations. There have been no less than 28 acting Cabinet secretaries, and currently, there are five. What’s more, turnover in key positions has been higher than the norm.
What does this mean for government contractors in 2020?
Unfortunately, with the 2020 election on the horizon, we could see more turnover in key positions and more shifts in agency leadership. This means that priorities and how they get implemented could change. Uncertainty also can lead to a different pace around RFPs and awards.
In this environment, there is not much a government contractor can do other than being prepared. Therefore, we recommend you set-up alerts (Google Alerts for example) that notify you of news items surrounding key agency heads and decision-makers, as well as existing opportunities. This will help you stay aware of rumors and trends.
Should a situation arise where there is a shift in agency leadership, it is not wrong to ask a contracting officer or decision-maker how that shift will impact their plans or an RFP. However, do not be surprised if people do not know the answer right away. Adopting an empathetic and pro-active approach to your relationship with the government and all the people you interact with will be a net positive for your business.
Be Aware of Upcoming Mandates and Requirements
The government has been steadily modernizing its operations. From FedRAMP to 21st Century IDEA to cybersecurity, government agencies are developing new mandates or requirements for contractors to follow, or they being asked to follow them by the administration or Congress.
One change that has been talked about for the last few months is the Pentagon’s forthcoming Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification, or CMMC. Though this only impacts defense contractors, CMMC will require all contractors doing business with the Defense Department to have their internal cybersecurity team and technology assessed and certified by fall 2020. This is to help ensure the defense industry as a whole is not an easy target for malicious actors like hackers.
Certification will mean more work and costs for contractors. If you are a defense contractor, this could impact your ability to continue to pursue opportunities in this space or force you to make changes to your supply chain.
However, this trend is something all government contractors should watch because a cybersecurity certification could find its way to civilian agencies in the near future.
With technology evolving rapidly, the likelihood of government requirements that scrutinize vendors and their products more carefully is on the rise. Monitoring how companies navigate the new CMMC as well as how companies are coping with FedRAMP and other requirements could help your planning and reduce the expense associated with short deadlines.
Enhance Your Federal Capture Team
No government contractor can succeed without an array of solutions and information. However, the key differentiator is your team. The start of a new year is a perfect time to not only assess your pipeline and your process but also to see how you can enhance your team.
At GDI Consulting, we help companies by taking steps, such as:
- Assessing the competitive marketplace in greater detail
- Qualifying new business opportunities earlier in the BD life cycle
- Providing agency insight with a better understanding of customer requirements and objectives
Our focus is to improve a company’s capture management and proposal development process from initial strategy and capture plan development, all the way to positioning with the customer and into the final proposal development phase. We do this through training or specific services, such as our full capture and proposal management. The end result is to help achieve more success.
When you consider the ultra-competitive landscape that exists within federal government contracting, you need the right expertise and support system to help succeed. Taking a step to enhance your capture team could be a significant difference-maker in 2020.
Take Action for a More Successful 2020
Though the upcoming year could be filled with abrupt changes and disruptions, the key for federal government contractors is to take the actions that will minimize your risk and better position you for success.
Reviewing your pipeline and capture strategy, getting the right training on the Contract Opportunities (FBO), setting up alerts, anticipating changes and enhancing your team are five key steps that should ensure your business is ready for all the challenges and opportunities on the horizon.