Business Development

  • Using Freedom of Information Act to Obtain End User Information
    Whenever we read a paper or hear the cable news networks use the acronym FOIA it always seems to be about information the media is trying to uncover. As audience members and readers, all we know is that FOIA is used for reporters to get "public... read more
  • Small Businesses, Take Note...
    While 2005 is starting to 'ramp up' to be a successful year for savvy federal contractors and prime vendors, we all know that we need to continue to fill the pipeline through brand identity and face time in front of our potential federal buyers... read more
  • Pre-Show Preparations Lead to a Successful Trade Show
    As I discussed in a previous "On the Sales Firing Line" I explained that the GSA Expo 2005 is coming up. I have to say that in past years, the show was so big that a lot of the exhibitors were greatly ignored because they didn't create enough... read more
  • Jump into Your Customer's Shoes -- What Would You Do If You Encountered a Stranger in the Federal Building?
    Jump into Your Customer's Shoes -- What Would You Do If You Encountered a Stranger in the Federal Building?by Eileen KentConsider for a moment that you are an employee for the federal government. What would it be like to encounter someone who is... read more
  • GSA Expo
    The GSA Expo 2005 is coming up May 3-5, 2005 at the San Diego Convention center and anyone with a GSA schedule should at least try to make it a point to at least attend the show and meet up with your key contacts at breakfast, lunch, dinner or even... read more
  • Reality Check - Are You Embedded? Are You Sure?
    Sometimes you need to take a good look at your current and potential clients and ask yourself, "Am I really going to be the first person they will call when they need my product or service every time?"If your gut isn't sure of this answer, you... read more
  • Government Employees - Top Ten Reasons Why They Remain Loyal To You as Their Favorite Contractor
    Follow the Rules (The Written and Unwritten) Make It Easy (For me to do my job and to do business with you) Do a Fantastic Job (I'll buy from you over and over) Show You Understand "The Game" (Sometimes I can't choose you) Don't Protest when You Lose... read more
  • The Key To Successful Federal Sales
    The most difficult person to find in the federal government is your potential end user. If you do not have a directory of an agency, it is always difficult to get started. The first step toward uncovering your "end users" is to start with your... read more
  • Four Cold Calling Tactics
    Many readers of "On the Firing Line" have asked about my thoughts on whether it is possible, in the post-September 11th world, to make personal cold calls on federal buyers. While those of us in sales all agree that the relationship with the... read more
  • The Government Buys Everything
    It is now August and the federal government will be closing its accounting books in September. Your business contacts are just finding out now how much money they have to "use or lose." Contact your government contracting officers and end users to... read more
  • "On the Sales Firing Line" Columnist Explores the DHS Website and Headlines for DHS Opportunies
    The following are snippets or summaries of stories that sales executives should read to see if there are any areas in which your company can be "of assistance" to the Government. When you read these stories, don't read them as a citizen. Read... read more
  • Call Your Area Military Base and Get a Tour
    When I was sixteen years old, I remember driving to Selfridge Air Force Base outside of Detroit to go pick up some groceries for the family. As I slowed down to the booth to pull out my ID, the guard would take a step back and salute the CAR! You... read more
  • End User Spotlight: Facility Managers
    According to the International Facility Management Association, facility management "is a profession that encompasses multiple disciplines to ensure functionality of the built environment by integrating people, place, process and technology." In... read more
  • Firing Line Success Story
    Small 8(a) Security Personnel Agency Learns the Contracting Game and Wins $1.5 million in Business in Six Months Ana Telleria, President of Security Resources, a small, 8(a) security personnel agency, started to consider doing business with the... read more
  • GSA VETS GWAC To Open Opportunities For Service-Disabled Veteran Businesses
    Note from the Author, Eileen Kent: In past "On the Sales Firing Line" articles, revealed that veteran groups have been asking for more contracting dollars since DOD has awarded $514 million a year, or only 0.3%, to service-disabled... read more
  • Never Turn Down a Chance to Take the Tour
    Washington, DC - Winter, 2003 "Meet me at the Capitol South metro stop. That's the only way I'm going to be able to let you in. I'll be wearing a black coat." That's when I knew I had the appointment to visit the superintendent's office at... read more
  • Base Closings Open Opportunities for Contractors
    MAY, 2005: BASE CLOSINGS AND REALIGNMENTS ANNOUNCED According to recent stories, more than 18,000 Defense Department civilians will see their jobs eliminated or contracted out as part of the Pentagon's recommendations for closing and... read more
  • When Selling to the Government, Know Your Audience!
    I have to write about this subject because I was in a sales pitch presentation today and I walked away from the presentation angry and frustrated. I wanted the product but the approach taken by the company to get my business was completely... read more
  • Report from the GSA Expo
    GSA Schedule holders, GSA employees, government buyers and end users descended upon San Antonio, TX for the GSA Expo. Their intent was to network, market, educate and learn about buying on behalf of the government or selling to the government... read more
  • New Women Owned-Small Business Posts $2.5 Million!
    United MedEvac Solutions, Inc., (UMS), was formed in April 2005 as a Women-Owned Small Business by Danielle "DeDe" Wilson (President) and Larry W. Case (Vice President) as a result of an immediate need for Ft. Hood's on base air medical coverage... read more
  • GSA Price Reductions Clause
    There's a lot to do in preparing a GSA Schedule proposal. And yet when you cut through all the legwork, the information gathering, the writing, the exhibit preparation, the document formatting, the seemingly endless questions that have to be... read more
  • "Getting On" the GSA Schedule
    So you're thinking about putting your company's products or services on the GSA Schedule? Maybe you find yourself being pushed and prodded by the "stick": more and more, your government customers are asking you when you'll be getting on the... read more
  • Selling IT: State and Local Buys off of GSA IT-70
    The state and local market for goods and services is very large, over twice the size of the federal market. Yet for companies with a track record of selling to the feds, the state and local market can be mysterious, often daunting. The rules vary,... read more
  • Selling IT Business Opportunities Under the E-Government Act of 2002
    The E-Government Act of 2002 (EGA) created a number of sales opportunities for IT services companies. The EGA authorized the following amounts for e-government projects. $45,000,000 for fiscal year 2003 $50,000,000 for fiscal year 2004... read more
  • Selling IT: Teaming to Win Government IT Sales
    Government buyers often look for "complete solutions" off of multiple award schedule contracts, such as the General Service Administration's Federal Supply Schedules (FSS). In shopping through FSS, buyers often hope to find complete solutions... read more
  • Selling IT: Buyer's Duty to Search Across Schedules
    In this installment of Selling IT to Government, we touch on an issue -- keywords -- that is of particular importance to federal multiple award schedule contractors. Yes, that's right -- keywords. A ScenarioImagine this: Let's say your company... read more
  • Selling Open Market Items
    In past installments we talked about how a contracting officer who wants to buy off the GSA Schedule will sometimes choose to issue requests for quotes (even though the FAR doesn't require it) when: She's not quite convinced yours is the best... read more
  • GSA Schedule BPAs
    A BPA is a simplified method of filling anticipated repetitive needs for supplies or services by establishing charge accounts with qualified vendors. A BPA reduces the need for conducting multiple individual procurements for the same types of... read more
  • Selling IT: Marketing IT to the Government
    In this article, we define marketing as activities to make the public, official buyers and end-users aware of your company and your products or services. Marketing includes distributing press releases, advertising, participating in conferences and... read more
  • Finding and Selling to End-Users in the Government
    In past installments, we talked about finding the "right" agencies, namely the ones that are interested in buying your company's products or services. We also talked about the importance of building an intelligence list to assist you in... read more
  • Selling IT: Agency Focus
    In the prior installment on selling IT to governments, we talked about business development, distinguishing "inside" from "outside." We said that the outside business developer works with agency officials to shape acquisition plans, define... read more
  • Selling IT: Business Development
    In our newsletters, we talk a lot about the importance of advanced knowledge -- knowing about an agency, its people, its nuances and, most importantly, its program goals. You have to understand the needs of your potential customer before you can... read more
  • Selling IT: Sales and Marketing Basics
    Company managers new to government sales often view governments as bureaucratic bodies from another world, imbued with strange and mysterious procurement rules, rules designed to confuse and even intimidate.Successful managers, though, adopt a... read more
  • Selling IT: Introduction to the Government IT Sector
    Governments at all levels are becoming citizen-centric in delivering services, e.g., developing Internet portals that provide single points of entry for citizens and businesses. Governments are recognizing the need for systems planning and... read more
  • GSA eOffer
    The General Services Administration ("GSA") recently launched eOffer, an online tool developed for use in the GSA schedules programs. GSA's goal in making eOffer available to the public was to simplify the process of submitting a GSA schedule offer... read more
  • Entry into the Federal Market
    Our readers frequently inquire about the difficulties associated with entering the federal sales market. Due to the increasing frequency of such inquiries, we will once again examine market entry roadblocks and what a small business can do to... read more
  • Comparing the Commercial and Federal Markets
    The commercial and federal markets are more similar than some would think. In both the federal and commercial sectors, people buy products and services. Many tend to think of the government as a faceless behemoth. On the contrary, your company must... read more
  • Best Value Analysis: A Salespersons Dream
    In seeking price quotes from vendors, federal buyers are now encouraged to think beyond price and conduct a "best value analysis." Experienced federal sales people consider this new way of doing business revolutionary and the key to effective... read more
  • Anticipating the Federal Buying Cycles
    Good salespeople study the federal buying cycles and can, based on past experience, predict those periods during the year when their sales will be strong. During the slower cycles, the successful sales person works hard to pursue leads that may... read more
  • Government Security Clearances
    Companies hoping to do business with the federal government encounter the following exasperating problem - your company can't get critical security clearances for its personnel until it has a contract requiring clearances and your business can't... read more
  • GSA Schedules and Sales Costs
    We have previously discussed that a business may have to invest $25,000 to $75,000 (in terms of sales costs) to obtain a GSA Schedule. When discussing the matter with our GSA Schedules seminar attendees, many are surprised to l earn that the... read more
  • Yet Another Contracting Vehicle
    In a previous installment, we discussed the wide range of contracting vehicles used to close federal sales. We define the term in its broadest sense; a contract vehicle is a method under which a company may pursue and close a sale. Examples of... read more
  • Preparing GSA Schedule Proposals
    Our speakers are frequently asked in our GSA Schedule seminars questions such as "Why is preparing the GSA Schedule offer so difficult? Our company has been working on our offer for more than six months and we are still not even close to having it... read more
  • Government Contract Vehicles
    A "contract vehicle" is a broad term meaning different things to different people. We define the term in its broadest sense -it is a method under which a company may pursue and close a sale. For the sake of this discussion, contract vehicles... read more
  • Proposal Writing: A Summary
    Previous installments presented information on the proposal writing process. This installment summarizes the key points made in these installments. Winning proposals are sales driven and emanate from relationship-based sales. Management should... read more
  • Proposal Writing Guidelines and Tools
    Proposal writing is hard, tedious work as it requires intense concentration over an extended period of time. Due to the difficulty of the task before them, provide your writing team with sufficient manpower and tools to make their job easier. In... read more
  • Proposal Organization and Management
    In a previous installment of this proposal writing series, we strongly suggested you should only write those proposals you believe your company can win. This advice may seem trite, but that's exactly what you must do. Select carefully and write... read more
  • Proposal Writing Guidelines and the Review Process
    The very best proposals are those written in a single voice. However, this goal is difficult to reach if multiple proposal writers are involved on the project. The best way to create a proposal in a single voice is to provide writers with (i)... read more
  • Proposal Evaluation: How Final Decisions Are Made
    Defense wins in the National Football League and it wins in government proposal writing. You must write proposals with a goal of avoiding elimination while at the same time writing a customer-centric proposal. Understanding how agencies evaluate... read more
  • Writing Winning Proposals
    In order to win federal contracts, your company will have to write proposals in response to those Requests for Proposals (RFP's) in which it has an interest. The proposal-writing process is laborious, tiring, and expensive. Proposals are what some... read more