WHO IS YOUR CUSTOMER? AN OVERSIGHT EVEN EXPERIENCED CONTRACTORS CAN MAKE
Which of these entities do you consider to be potential customers for your federal business? A. The Department of Commerce; B. The Department of Defense; C. Another Contractor; or D. All of the Above? If you answered anything other than “D”, your company is likely missing out on federal business opportunities. It’s not only new market entries that miss this question. Experienced businesses can also lose sight that their fellow contractors can often be an avenue to develop business, through a teaming agreement, joint venture, or prime-sub agreement. Your company has specialized contacts and knowledge of customer agencies that consistently do business with you. The same is true for other companies. Leveraging those relationships and knowledge can be a good way to expand a company’s federal profile. Working together with a partner can also mean that you get to bid on a project that you might not otherwise know about or have the bandwidth to do on your own. Just as with any other federal customer, though, its important to do your research before reaching out. Know what the company is looking for. Ask questions. Understand your value proposition and how you can help a potential partner. One key hook is to ask for a meeting to discuss a piece of business you’re tracking, but on which you could use their help. Another is to try to team up early on a longer-term opportunity by showing how your solutions can benefit an overall proposal and highlighting any relationships your company has at the target agency. Selling directly to federal agencies is only one way to business. Don’t forget that teaming with your fellow contractors is another, and one that can often make your business stronger over time.