Are you a Small Business contractor trying to promote your company in the Federal marketplace? Building relationships with government Contracting officials is the key. In Federal acquisition, there are various procurement officials with varying responsibilities. They include Program Manager (PM), Project Manager (PjM), Contracting Officer (CO), and Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR). This blog briefly explains the eight best ways for Small Business Contractors to communicate effectively with them.
Reaching Out to Contracting Officers
To improve your chances of success in the world of government contracting, you need to open lines of communication with these government procurement officials. Here are some ways to reach out to them and best practices to be followed:
1. Find the Right Contact Information, Connect One on One
Look up contact information of Contracting Officers (COs) of your business’ target agencies/departments that typically require products and services similar to the ones you offer. Introduce your company briefly. A well-crafted message can go a long way toward securing future business opportunities. The best way to pursue this is through emails and follow-up emails while being aware of correct communication etiquette.
2. Share Your Capabilities
- Reach out to the COs and share your company’s capabilities and past performance in the form of a brief capability statement. It helps you get noticed and perhaps be identified as a potential bidder/awardee in some cases.
- Identify your set-asides like Historically-Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone), Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB), Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), or Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB). List your appropriate National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP) or North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes.
3. Keep it Simple
When emailing a Contracting Officer, the plain text should be used. Keep it succinct and to the point. Remember, no matter your communication medium, you should always have a goal in mind.
4. Ask Questions
- Ask questions about upcoming industry days and meet-and-greet events that you can attend to learn more about the government’s needs.
- If you are interested in a solicitation, ask relevant questions through emails or a phone call on their official contact numbers to communicate your interest, queries, careful understanding of the solicitation, and knowledge of the goods/services requested. Contracting Officers are required by law to respond to the emails you send. They must also disclose that response to everyone who bids on that solicitation.
- Do not ask unclear questions that give Contracting Officials the impression that you have not read the solicitation carefully. It Indicates that you will be difficult to communicate with.
- It is also important to know what not to ask. Consider whether your question could lead to an answer that compromises your competitive advantage.
- Additionally, keep them updated about your website, positioning yourself competitive for future market research.
5. Follow All Protocols
It’s very important to follow the basic communication etiquette of not making any unfair advantage moves, such as inviting the COs for lunch or bypassing fair and equal competition boundaries.
6. Attend Debriefs
Whether you win or lose the bid, you may seek a post-award debriefing; however, you may also request a pre-award debriefing within three days after being notified of your company’s removal from the competition. Knowledge gathered from a debrief can assist your team in re-evaluating how to submit a bid to the agency in question. It can also serve as an opportunity to explain yourself to Contracting officials and share insights.
7. Attend Industry Days
- Networking at events is an ideal opportunity to build a reputation, promote your firm, meet important industry decision-makers, and thoroughly grasp what the government requires. Industry day can range from a few hours to three days, providing a chance to meet with Department/Agency officials in a one-on-one session to ask questions and provide comments.
- Before attending an Industry Day, ensure you have all the relevant documentation as a government contractor, including Federal contractor registration and marketing materials.
8. Be Regular, But Not Excessive
- You should always contact your potential Contracting Officers once a quarter. In this manner, you can retain a presence and establish some familiarity. Be aware but not overbearing.
- Second, if you’re currently working on a contract and blowing up the Contracting Officer’s phone and email, it gives an impression that you have no understanding of what you are doing. Contracting Officers often have a lot on their plate – they are involved in multiple contracts simultaneously. If you call them or mail them too often, you can come across as bothersome.
An effective communication strategy helps you appear on the Federal government radar. Our team at iQuasar is well-acquainted with the Federal contracting market and is proactively helping Small Businesses maximize their engagement and visibility in the government marketplace. Our team of experts will manage the entire process by helping you reach out to the right people. Please feel free to get in touch with us, and we can set up a call to discuss your company’s specific needs.