7 Common Mistakes Unsuccessful Contractors Make and How to Avoid Them

If you took the time to compare your government sales strategy to your commercial sales strategy, what would you find? For most contractors we’ve worked with, they’ve found that their government sales strategy ranges from weak at best, to non-existent.

Seriously, how can you expect to grow a successful government practice without a well-developed plan of attack? Here is an alarming statistic: nearly half of all GSA Schedule Contract holders will have their GSA Schedules terminated. Why, you ask? This simple answer is that they are either not prepared to enter the government marketplace or they lack the commitment to invest in growing their practice.

We’ve put together a list of the 7 most common mistakes unsuccessful government contractors make when pursuing the government marketplace.

7. No Government messaging on the website: Smart contractors know they must speak to their government customers. You’ve invested a lot into your company’s website to attract commercial prospects, so take the time to add content that speaks to government prospects. Government employees are just like you and me… they turn to the web to find what they are looking for.

6. Failing to market to potential teaming companies:Developing strong teaming relationships can be the key to getting that “first sale”. In fact, many organizations solely focus on developing their network of teaming partners and solidifying subcontracting relationship the first several years in the government marketplace. In government contracting, one plus one often equals three.

5. Zero case studies or whitepapers:Presenting your organization as a subject matter expert (SME) in real life scenarios adds great value to your federal brand recognition. These should be easily accessible from the government section you just created on your website. Tangible pieces of content will allow the government to review how you have implemented your solution in other organizations. Having them accessible will also help with your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ranking, helping your company rank higher when searched for on Google.

4. Absent from LinkedIn:While the government does use a variety of social media sites, one of the main outlet for government marketing is LinkedIn. You’d be surprised how easy it can be to connect and network with government prospects.

3. Marketing to the wrong audience:Many companies rely on bid boards or bid repacking services that fail to provide key points of contact to get in front of. Marketing to the contracting officers (COs) also does little good as their primary function is to manage the procurement process – after your target prospects have already determined their need. COs are the wrong audience! Marketing to the COs is a waste of time since the COs do not determine who to buy from, just how to buy. You need to market to the people who will actually want/ need what you provide.

2. Not knowing the competition:The data is out there people. Government contractors are often surprised they’ve lost a piece of business to an origination they’ve never heard of. This should almost never happen in government contracting. There are several free government websites that catalogue contractors, existing/ expiring contracts and forecasted opportunities. Take the time to get to know them.  Start with SAM.gov, FPDS.gov, FBO.gov and SSQ.GSA.gov.  You’ll be surprised how much you can piece together in a day or 2.

Drumroll please!  If you haven’t guessed by now, numbers 7-2 all a part of a well-developed government sales and marketing strategy.

1. Lack of a Strategic Sales and Marketing Plan: This is problem Number 1. Know before you go! Take the time to identify your target market and what will be required to successfully sell your products and services to them. This is the most perplexing mistake because the government does a pretty good job of telling the public what they are looking for and how much they have to spend. If this rings true for your organization, you better get on it… ASAP.

Marketing and selling to the government is a difficult task for any government contractor, but it is exponentially more difficult without a plan! Take 2 days, educate yourself and create a plan… it’s that simple!

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May 10, 2019

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Mastering the Federal, State and Local Government marketplace is no easy task. Because of this, we gathered the leading Government Contracting industry experts and created a FREE (no strings attached) community designed to train, educate and empower beginners and experts alike.