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Let's say you're a government contractor with a few awarded contracts under your belt. You've taken the time to build relationships with key decision-makers at government agencies, you've honed your proposal-writing skills, and you're confident that you can be the lowest bidder for the next RFP.

This doesn't mean it's time to rest on your laurels. The government marketplace is extremely competitive, and in addition to continuing to seek new contracting opportunities, you should ask yourself: Are you getting the most out of your existing contract opportunities?

While conducting your government research, you may have used bid-results lists to investigate contracts you bid on but didn't win, or past contracts with an agency you're considering for future bids. Bid-results lists are a great way to gain insight into your competition, as well as to track agency relationships with specific vendors as part of your go or no-go bid decision. But have you looked at the bid results for contracts you were awarded?

A client of mine works in sales at an industrial supplier. Through solid relationships with wholesalers and labor-saving technology, his company was able to be the low bidder on a number of large government projects. The profit margins on these projects were fairly slim, but because the company was consistently awarded government contracts, both my client and his superiors at the company were pleased with their efforts in the public sector — that is, until he took a look at the bid results for some of the contracts they'd been awarded. They were the lowest bidder, all right — by almost $20 a unit! Imagine his chagrin when he realized that his company could have continued to price its goods competitively while making a much larger profit. By not bothering to research what its  competitors were bidding, the company was leaving money on the table every time it came away from a bid negotiation. Its ultra-slim profit margins also left it next to no wiggle room should a competitor try to undersell it.

The lesson here is that while being the lowest responsible bidder on a project will often result in your being awarded the government contract, it's not always necessary to bid as low as you possibly can. Your bid results research will be a huge asset to competitive pricing.

Chances are that no matter how successful your company is at present, the first proposal you submitted didn't win the contract. However, with time and effort you were able to win more contracts. Unfortunately, the same will most likely be true of your competitors, and if you've ever unseated an incumbent contractor, you know that being complacent is a mistake. Keeping track of bid results lists is a great way to keep an eye out for new players entering the field; this will give you an opportunity to review your proposal strategy and check in with your agency contacts to make sure they're satisfied with your performance before the contract comes up for re-bid.

The easiest way to monitor bid results lists is to access competitive intelligence from a business intelligence company. Researching project history, you can see the lifecycle of a project from pre-RFP solicitations through the RFP and bid results, and you can find out which company was awarded the contract and for how much. With this business intelligence, you can maintain a competitive advantage and continue to win government contracts.