Many printing/mailing companies rely on the GPO (Government Printing Office) as their sole source of government bidding work today when there are millions of government dollars being spent in their own local counties, cities and school districts. In the last 12 months, Onvia has captured over 6,400 print/mail bids from public sector agencies outside of the GPO (not including GSA work). Working with companies in this industry for over a decade, we have learned that there are four major ways progressive print/mail companies can claim their share of contracting dollars in addition to GPO opportunities.
1) GET IN EARLY AND BE PROACTIVE:
Even price-driven industries like the printing/mailing industry are impacted by good relationships. A good reputation and ongoing communication with current clients can be a great way to directly impact new business opportunities and drive referrals. Unfortunately, few businesses will substantially or sustainably grow from waiting by the phone for a referral. Winning companies in this market use Onvia’s Term Contract Center to get in early by identifying recurring print/mail contracts held by their competitors that are set to renew or expire in the next 12 months. There are over 650 print/mail contracts expiring in the next 6 months with 269 agencies outside of the GPO and GSA.
2) KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER:
It’s no secret that winning government work is difficult and time consuming, but is also incredibly rewarding. Smart vendors understand the importance of learning about the agencies they might do business with and being selective in choosing the work they wish to bid on. They prioritize the projects where they have the best chance of winning with the most sustainable margins. For example, did you know that 87 non-GPO/GSA agencies in the state of Texas issued over 250 print/mail awards in the last 12 months? Agency spending intelligence can help you to prioritize these agencies, identify the incumbents and understand what it takes to win these print/mail contracts.
3) SHOWCASE YOUR WORK TO BUILD AWARENESS:
The high cost of shipping for printed materials can be a restricting factor for many regional or national companies in the proposal process because many agencies will take the lowest-cost route and award a local vendor to save on shipping costs. For printing companies that don’t have a nationwide physical presence, brand and quality recognition is one of the most important factors when reaching for business in new geographies. Luckily for printing companies, it is easy to send a sample and showcase the type of work an agency can expect if they choose to partner with that vendor on their next print/mail contract. Agency intelligence can be very helpful in identifying marketing targets and building contact lists for direct mail and email campaigns.
4) KNOW YOUR COMPETITION:
Unless you are selling into a relatively small geography, it can be challenging to understand who you are competing with on your proposals. Being able to identify the top competitors in your market as well as their key agency relationships can help shape your sales, business development and marketing efforts. Researching published bid results and award notices from a given agency can be the most important factor in determining the fit or feasibility of a project. Bid results and award notices can reveal if that agency is more likely to choose the low cost provider, the local provider or the provider who can guarantee the best quality results. In the printing/mailing industry, creating differentiation is key and knowing the ins and outs of how your competitors go to market can help you be much more strategic.
Vendors willing to perform market research, buyer research and competitor research can have a huge advantage when it comes to competing and winning in the print/mail market. These three forms of key intelligence can allow you to influence your prospective buyer early by showcasing your capabilities and positioning yourself for success. Armed with intelligence and a winning product, you can open the door to millions of dollars in additional revenue in this challenging, yet rewarding government marketplace.