Companies that bid on government contracts often go about it in a costly and inefficient way. As your company prepares for a bid, you can minimize wasted effort and maximize your chances for the contract award with this targeted, three-step approach:

  • Research the agency
  • Analyze your competition
  • Develop your bid strategy

Step One: Agency Intelligence

Find out as much as possible about the owner of the contract. Among the questions you should address:

  • Do you know anyone at the agency?
  • What types of projects has the agency undertaken in the past?
  • How does the agency view your company?
  • Who's responsible at the agency for approving procurement projects?
  • What acquisition procedures and practices does the agency follow? Are they innovative or conservative?
  • How are the evaluation criteria ranked (e.g., is price going to essentially determine who gets the award)?
  • Who'll be evaluating your proposal?
  • What agency-related documents do you have access to, such as organization charts, contact lists, past procurement history/relationships, policy guidelines, procedures, budgets, forecasts, etc.?
  • What's the scope of the work? For example, how many locations need to be supplied, and what are the requirements for equipment, technology, resources, and staffing?
  • What's the agency's budget for this contract? Is funding available?
  • When is the RFP going to be released? Is there a pre-bid conference or site visit? What's the schedule for the awarding of the contract and the project start date?
  • What are the terms of the contract?

After answering these questions, you may determine that the contract simply isn't worth pursuing. If you decide to proceed with the bid, your next step focuses on the competition.

Step Two: Competitive Intelligence

Determine how your company's strengths align with those of the competition, and find out as much as you can what your compe

titors will likely offer in their bid. Specifically, consider the following:

  • Who is currently doing work for the agency and who has completed agency projects in the past?
  • What's the track record of your potential competitors with projects similar to the one you're bidding on?
  • How does the agency view those competitors?
  • Have any of the competitors recently released a new product or service that might give them an advantage in the agency's evaluation?
  • Over the past year, what price quotes have competitors submitted for projects with similar scope and requirements?

Step Three: Bid Strategies

Just as it's vital to know the competition, you must know your own company's strengths and competitive advantages, as well as areas of weakness that you may need to address by teaming up with subcontractors on the bid. Some questions to consider:

  • What's your company's technical experience performing the same or similar work?
  • How do the company's strengths align with agency evaluation criteria? How will the agency benefit from your strengths?
  • How will the agency benefit from any teaming arrangements ? Will teaming improve your evaluation ranking?
  • How does your company's offering differentiate you from the competition?
  • Can you complete the project within budget? And what are the chances that the project won't be profitable?
  • Is there still an opportunity for your company to influence the specs of the RFP or solicitation?
  • How will you demonstrate that your offering would provide the best value to the agency?