Successful government vendors know that having up-to-date knowledge to react swiftly to new bids and RFPs is absolutely necessary for winning government contracts, whether at the federal, state, local or education levels.
But many times being reactive is not enough. Vendors find the most success using advanced commerce intelligence to win in the in business-to-government (B2G) marketplace. They act proactively, taking advantage of research and data related to future agency spending plans, past contract award history and the latest procurement trends.
Below are four key areas of information that companies wanting to grow their government business should target.
Past Procurement Information – Contract Awards and Bid Results
Vendors that bid on projects in the public sector can gain valuable insight by determining who won the bid after the fact, or which other companies submitted bids. By getting more information about the competition, they can strategically craft future proposals to have the greatest chances of success.
Onvia’s comprehensive database of government contracts contains more than 400,000 awards published each year at the federal, state and local levels. These cover a vast range of contract types, from multi-million-dollar construction projects to small awards for food services – even including e-rate awards, increasingly common from education agencies.
Additionally, Onvia publishes more than 60,000 bid results each year, complete with bid tabulation documents and line items. This provides the most possible insight into past contracts issued, and provides clients with better intelligence to make forward-looking decisions. And thanks to Onvia’s partnerships with government agencies, many of these contract awards and bid results aren’t available anywhere else.
We actually get the competitive information after the fact, see if we’re competitive in that space or that region, and we can change our strategic pricing initiatives from there.Lisa Castanon, Manager, Government Contracts for Lawson Products
Future Procurement Information – Identifying Opportunity as Early as Possible
Vendors need to be looking forward as well as backward to get the full picture of their opportunity in the B2G marketplace. This means identifying areas for upcoming government spending - even years in advance.
Tracking presolicitations, usually released one to two weeks before the bid, is a good start. So is identifying areas where the government is issuing grant money – if grants are earmarked for a specific purpose, contracts related to that purpose will be coming down the road. But agency spending plans and spending forecasts provide the furthest – and clearest – line of sight into future spend.
Onvia collects capital improvement plans and budgets from thousands of agencies, parses the relevant pages to eliminate noise, and compiles them in one easy-to-search location. Here's an example of a spending forecast parsed from the Fiscal Year 2017 Capital Improvement Plan from the City of Lewiston in Maine:
Onvia clients are taking advantage of this to quickly identify the right projects to pursue in the future and proactively build business relationships with targeted agencies, years before they even put out a particular bid or RFP.
Government Agency Information – Demographics and Purchasing Trends
Knowing your audience is always an important key in business. How useful would it be for vendors to have in-depth intelligence on the government agencies they are aiming to sell to?
Onvia’s B2G Intelligence System does exactly that. Clients can identify and search for agencies that match their geographic location, size and budget, or that fit one of many other attribute categories, as shown below:
Additionally, clients can use Onvia’s full suite of tools to view the procurement history of agencies and their forecasted spending, to determine which agencies buy what products, when they spend their money and who they’re more likely to buy from. And they can access contact lists for government buyers and decision makers to identify important contacts.
B2G Market Information – Current Hotspots and Best Practices
Government procurement is a vast and ever-changing marketplace. Keeping on top of the latest procurement trends is vital for businesses that want to stay ahead of the curve.
Vendors that want to get the best understanding of their market should arm themselves with the most recent, insightful information available, like Onvia’s research into the B2G marketplace. Many useful tools are available, like the trends shaping contracting in the federal, state, local and educational markets, the most recent hotspots in government purchasing, and the detailed analytics and procurement snapshots pulled from Onvia’s comprehensive database. There’s no shortage of insight out there that can help your company separate itself from the pack.