Laying the groundwork for FY Q4
Laying the groundwork for FY Q4https://bidexecsfranchising.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/IMAGES-FOR-BLOG-1-1024x576.jpg 1024 576 bidexecs https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/9e5f9da0e2b1bf38aee78e070eae31de?s=96&d=mm&r=g
Contributor: Reena Bhatia, CEO, ProposalHelper | Last updated in July 2021
The New Year starts in October every year for government contractors, yet most business owners don’t get started on their business strategy till late December. Like every New Year resolution, the results never fail to disappoint. Even though we’re well into the current financial year, it’s never too late to begin preparing for Q4.
Here are 5 tips on why your company should start working towards FY Q4 (yes, the leftover money in government budgets) as soon as possible.
1. Plan ahead: Earn Sole Source dollars at the start of the fiscal year
The fourth quarter of the government fiscal year is from July to September every year. Although it comes in like clockwork, companies only seem to come to us in September for hacks on how to get some of those ‘Sole Source’ dollars! If you belong to any of the categories that allow the government to justify a Sole Source award to your company, you should start working on the relationship within the first few quarters itself. Remember — a leftover budget is rarely accidental. More often than not, the government knows what it wants to buy and from whom, especially when it comes to spending year-end funds. So when it comes to Sole Source dollars, relationships are quintessential and, like all good things, they take time.
2. Start talking to your customer about Q4 today
Help your customer plan for Q4 as much as you do. The best way to get directed awards is with your own clients. While working on a project, make a list of improvements you can make that are outside the current scope of work. Be clear to demonstrate value — “Why do you think the 3 to 5 things you are suggesting will improve the outcome of the current project?” “Why can you not do it within the existing scope and budget?” Articulate your unsolicited proposal and schedule a time with your client to present the value-added recommendations with a clear budget. Sometimes, one meeting may not be enough, so design a roadmap that will keep this topic fresh in your client’s mind. When Q4 comes around, and your client finds money burning an extra hole in their wallets, they have a legitimate and justifiable reason to give adequate money to your company.
3. Sources Sought responses are not a waste of time, so respond with tact!
We often notice that companies skip the ‘Sources Sought’ stage and respond to the RFP instead. We’ve all heard the age-old adage that someone has influenced the RFP with their Sources Sought responses. The truth of the matter is that most companies respond to Sources Sought notices with a very vanilla response. They don’t take the time to give the agency and the client what they want — advice, ideas, and suggestions. Sources Sought notices do not have evaluation criteria; they won’t be disqualified simply because you didn’t follow the instructions! If you can demonstrate to the client that you took the time to read what they’ve put together and critique their work tactfully, you will be remembered! You may not be able to inject an influencing feature into the final RFP, but taking time to appreciate and contribute to the client’s efforts will be. BidExecs highly recommends responding to the Sources Sought notices, as this is the first step in building a long-term relationship. And once you respond, don’t hold back.
4. Remember the ‘Rule of Eight’
It is common knowledge, and well-researched, that it takes eight meetings before someone remembers you. It is essential to come up with what BidExecs calls ‘true targets’ — recompete programs that you want to capture from the incumbent and strategically work on. Building a list of your true targets requires business intelligence, competitive knowledge, an understanding of agency behavior, in-depth research on end-user needs, and analyses of buying patterns. Working with the BidExecs team will allow you to focus on building relationships, while our team invests in augmenting yours to gain the knowledge and information you need to get noticed. Once you have your true targets, determine eight ways to reach the same audience — invited or uninvited.
5. Follow through on your efforts
Sole Source contracts are not rare, but they are definitely getting harder to capture. Decision-makers within agencies are cautious of the perceived improprieties and are incredibly diligent while considering their Sole Source awards. Once you are awarded a contract, you must be ready to perform and follow through on your capture to ensure that the contract is not relying on leftover money each year. You also have to continue doing everything suggested in this article after you get your contract. And if you don’t bag that Sole Source in Q4, remember that you have invested time, effort, and money to build the client relationship. If you feel positive about continuing it, then your outcome may change to a different contract than the one you were targeting. Your efforts will be rewarded regardless.