GSA Schedule contracts can be a huge asset to your organization. They have been described as a "license to hunt" with government agencies for up to 20 years (if renewals are executed). The question many contractors ask after winning their GSA Schedule status is “What do I do now?”. GSA contracts can be your license to hunt and open the doors to new opportunities for your organization, but you need to be ready to do the hunting once you earn the license. Here are three key ways to maximize the value of your GSA schedule contract in the federal, state and local government markets.
Include your GSA Schedule status on all sales collateral – even for agencies that may not be purchasing through the GSA.
GSA Schedule status is a major accomplishment for your company and indicates you were able to meet the rigorous requirements of the GSA including financial stability, past performance and company maturity. Your investment in the GSA Schedule application and approval process gives you a significant advantage in winning future bids. An excellent AMEX Open Whitepaper on GSA Schedules states “Many agencies prefer to work with vendors on the Schedule because it eliminates much of the hassle and paperwork that is typical of government procurement processes.”. Beyond just improving your company image by promoting your GSA status, cooperative purchasing rules allow state and local governments to purchase products directly through the GSA for several types of products and services. Don’t sell yourself short with your GSA Schedule status, make sure you are tracking state and local opportunities as well as federal, and actively advertising your GSA status in all of your agency sales collateral.
Actively market your GSA Schedule contract to federal, state and local agencies that buy in your space.
GSA status alone isn’t going to open the doors you need into your target agencies. Build target agency lists by looking at RFPs and award notifications to determine who is buying in your market. You can access fbo.gov for free for federal contracts or access individual local agency websites for free for state and local contracting opportunities. For government vendors with a multi-state or national focus, Onvia is the leader in publishing state and local bid opportunities from over 89,000 government entities across the country. The key to effective government marketing is identifying the decision makers within your target agencies and collecting their contact information so you can target them directly with your sales collateral that references your GSA status. Building those direct relationships and using your GSA status to raise the profile of your organization will keep your company top-of-mind when that agency needs advice from vendors for their next RFI or RFP.
Leverage your GSA Schedule status to build partnerships with new prime contractors.
Similar to the benefits your GSA status offers you as a prime contractor – GSA Schedule contract holders can use their status to attract new subcontracting and teaming opportunities with other prime contractors. How does your GSA status help create teaming opportunities with other prime contractors? Prime contractors on large contracts are looking to minimize risk and streamline execution – teaming up with GSA-approved subcontractors and partners means they can spend less time on due diligence in vetting new subcontractors and working with GSA-approved subcontractors improves their own image by showing they work with other trusted vendors in the government market.
As Michelle Hermelee stated in a recent Onvia webinar on GSA contracts – earning your GSA Schedule status gives you a “license to hunt” in the government market, but you need to be willing to put in the extra effort to maximize the value of your new status. By standardizing your sales collateral with your new GSA status, leveraging your GSA status with state and local agencies and using your GSA status to build new teaming relationships with prime contractors, you can unlock new opportunities and maximize the value of your GSA Schedule contract.