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Government Express eNews:

Actionable Information for Companies Targeting Federal Government Business

Volume 1, #4, June, 2007

This monthly newsletter is sent free to companies doing business with the Federal government. Sign up for your free subscription at www.GovernmentExpress.com and if you like this newsletter, please pass it along to your colleagues. To unsubscribe, see directions below. Government Express eNews back issues will be posted at www.GovernmentExpress.com .

June 2007 Contents…

 

ITEMS and LINKS

ITEM: New CD Programs Novices and Pros in the Government market
Government Market Press has announced the pending release of  two new programs by early June, 2007: The Ultimate Government Sales Program, a 4-CD, three and one-half hour interview with government sales executive Max Peterson, and The Ultimate Government Business Development Program a 3-CD, three hour interview with business development professional Bob Davis. Max Peterson is a 20 year veteran of selling technology to the government as a front line sales person, team leader and senior sales executive. Until last summer Max was the VP of Federal sales for CDW-G, and he was recently hired by Dell as VP of Civilian sales. Bob Davis is a 30 year veteran of selling to the government and one of the true students of the business development process. Until December of 2006, Bob was at CACI in a senior business development role. He recently accepted a senior position at Accenture.

More information for these programs is available at http://www.governmentexpress.com/govmarketpress.html  If you decide to order, type “GovEx” into the “Order Code” box for an automatic $50 discount.

ITEM: The latest issue of Washington Technology has the top 100 Federal contractors – excellent issue with several good articles. Go to www.WashingtonTechnology.com

 

ORGANIZATION PROFILE: The Coalition for Government Procurement

The Coalition for Government Procurement (CGP) is the number one association representing companies that sell commercial services and products to the federal government primarily through multiple award schedule (MAS) contracts and GWACs. The Coalition provides valuable information on issues affecting the government market and it constantly advocates common sense in government procurement policy.

Representing the interests of all Federal Supply Schedule contractors, both those whose contracts are administered by GSA and those whose contracts are administered by the Veterans Administration, the Coalition is an effective voice in shaping procurement policy.

The Coalition is the only organization specifically representing the well being of GSA contractors, regardless of the industry or size of their company. The diversity of the members is the very reason why the Coalition is an effective advocate. The Coalition represents GSA Schedule vendor interests on Capitol Hill where procurement policy originates as well as before OMB, GSA, DOD, OFPP and the VA, where procurement policy is written into regulations and implemented.

The actions of the Coalition have a compelling impact on companies benefiting from schedules contract sales, whether they hold the contract themselves or benefit from schedule sales of their products or services by others. The Federal Supply Schedules program has become the pre-eminent procurement vehicle for the purchase of a wide array of commercial products and services by the federal government. Schedules contract sales now exceed $36 billion and are expected to continue to grow as government requirements are increasingly channeled through the schedules program. The Coalition has made significant progress to foster that growth and make the processes to do business with the federal government easier for contractors.

Go to www.thecgp.org for more information.
 

USING THE WEB TO RESEARCH YOUR COMPETITION

Research is a key component when entering any market. How and where you do it in the vast government market seems daunting to most, but it isn’t that difficult if you have a few good tools. Here are a few of my favorite web tools.

Google has an excellent government search tool. This will help you find a ton of information that can help you make a decision about whether or not you should enter the U.S. government market. If your decision is yes, the Google tool remains an ally in that it can help you find competition, prospective buying activities, and more.

The GSA Schedules are the most popular contracts ($35 billion in FY 2006) for selling to the federal government. More than 40 percent of all purchases occur through these contracts, but GSA schedules only represent 15 percent of the total amount the government spends annually. When you are trying to determine who is selling what in your category, the GSA schedules are a great barometer.

So where do you begin? First, here is the Google link:

http://www.google.com/ig/usgov

In order to determine which GSA schedule your products are on, type "schedules e-library" in the Google search line (and leave it in quotes). The first result, the GSA “Schedules e-Library,” is where you want to go.

Clicking on this link will take you to an introductory page, where you need to click the “VISIT THIS WEBSITE NOW” link, visible on the upper right.

Now you’re at the e-Library. Look for your product or service category in the “Category Guide”. If you do not see the product or service you sell, then use the search function. Use a generic term for what you sell, then leave the search criteria as “all the words” (there are three choices). In order to walk you through the process, let’s look for “dispute resolution” services and see what we find.

Type the words "dispute resolution" in quotes in the search line, and leave the search criteria as “all the words.” As the government often uses different phrasing than common business practice does, the search will work better for you this way than clicking on “exact phrase.” Now click the “Search” button and await your results.

In our example, “dispute resolution” shows up in two GSA categories. The “source” number on the left is the code for the GSA schedule, and for this, we get “738 X” and “00CORP.” Inside the schedules, there are subsets of categories (SINs, or Special Item Numbers).

Click on the appropriate SIN number, and you’ll go to a page that lists all contract holders that sell this service. So for 738 X, SIN 595 13, you’ll see eight companies that sell this dispute resolution services. Schedule 738 X looks to be exclusively for dispute resolution, as opposed to the 00CORP Schedule, which lists dispute resolution as one of many services. For our purposes, we’ll limit our research to Schedule 738 X.

After you click on the SIN (595 13), you can click on each of the vendors to get the GSA Contract number of that vendor as well as their address, phone number and web address. You’ll also often get a company contact name. The results also list all the GSA schedules awarded to this vendor, so you may find other categories that pique your interest. I always click through to the vendor’s website to see if they’re highlighting the fact that they have a government contract. This will indicate the evel of sophistication of the vendor. The less ‘government friendly” the site is, the less likely it is that they are a  serious competitor.

So now that you know who your competitors are, what’s next?

One of the most useful tools I’ve found on any government website is the Schedule Sales Query tool on the General Services Administration website. [http://ssq.gsa.gov] This tool allows you to determine how much money passes through each GSA schedule (or SIN) and provides the total dollar amount by vendor.

First, in the left-hand navigation, click “Create Report.” This will take you to a non-mandatory registration page. Click “Proceed” without filling in your information. This takes you to the “Report Generation” page.

If you know what company you want information on, you can check item 6 (“Total for All Quarters by Contractor for Fiscal Year”) and click “Generate Report.” This will take you to a screen that allows you to select a fiscal year. Choose the fiscal year you want and double-click on it. This will give you total dollars for each vendor, but it doesn’t break it down by which schedule they made the money on.

If you want to see how much money passed through a specific SIN--and how much each contractor made in that SIN--go back to Step 2, the “Report Generation” page and select item 11. This will take you to a page that allows you to select a fiscal year. (I usually start with the last complete fiscal year, as companies report at different times, so running the current year can be a little misleading.) For this example, choose 2005.

Next, go to the SIN# line, scroll down to “595 13,” then click “Proceed to Step 3.”

Quickly review your selection criteria as presented on the “Report Information” screen, and if it’s correct, click “Proceed to the Final Step.” If it’s not correct, return to the previous page and correct your selection.

Once you’ve clicked “Proceed to the Final Step” and a “File Download” box appears on your screen, click “Open.” The report results will then come up. Here we see that unlike the Schedule e-Library page, there are 36 vendors listed. Twenty of these vendors made $0, nine made less than $10,000, three made more than $10,000 but less than $100,000, and four vendors made more than $100,000. Only one made more than $1,000,000.

To see what the SIN total was, return to the “Report Generation” screen (in step two of this process) and select item 3. Click through to your fiscal year and run the report.

Our search for SIN 595 13 shows sales by quarter of $321,005, $233,685, $278,333 and $461,036 respectively for fiscal year 2005. You’ll find that the last quarter of a federal fiscal year is almost always larger that any of the other previous quarters, because it’s the “spend it or lose it” quarter. Since the total for this SIN is $1,294,059, it appears that one company—the one that made more than $1,000,000 in 2005, truly dominates the category.

From this information, we have a good idea of the competitive landscape.

Spend enough time hunting around, and you’ll see just how vast the GSA Schedule offerings are. On a quarter-by-quarter basis, there are more than 10,400 listings of SINs and more than 2,600 product classifications represented on all GSA schedules. And with that many sales possibilities, there’s always room for one more company hungry to do business with Uncle Sam.

EVENTS WORTH ATTENDING

There are hundreds of events each week around the country for companies that want to do business with the Federal government. Many of these are excellent, many are not. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list,, but does include events I am comfortable  endorsing. Just because an event is not listed below does not imply it is not worth attending..

June 6, 2007: VMWare SYMPOSIA 2007 Ronald Reagan Center (Washington, DC), (also in Chicago May 31, Atlanta, June 12, Toronto, June 14, Dallas June 19) http://info.vmware.com/content/Sym?&Src=web_homepage

June 11-15, FBI Global Initiative Conference (on Nuclear Terrorism), Miami http://www.fbcinc.com/event.aspx?eventid=Q6UJ9A00DB3X

June 19, Government Marketing Forum, 5:30 PM- 8 PM, Tower Club, Vienna VA www.FBCINC.com/gmf

June 21, 2007, Government Women at the Helm, 6 - 830 PM  McLean Hilton, McLean, VA. Speakers: Linda Cureton, Chief Information Officer, NASA Goddard; Deidre Lee, Director, Office of Management, FEMA; Lisa Schlosser, Chief Information Officer, HUD; Kathleen Turco, Chief Financial Officer, GSA;  Moderator: Anne Altman, Managing Director, US Federal, IBM Corporation (invited) www.womenintechnology.org

June 25-28, 2007, National Veteran Small Business Conference & Expo, Las Vegas www.Nationalveteransconference.com

June 26-28, Department of Energy 8th Annual Small Business Conference, Washington Hilton, www.smallbusiness-outreach.doe.gov

July 24-26, 2007 FedFleet – The 7th National Motor Vehicle and Aviation Exposition and Workshops, Orlando, FL www.FedFleet.org

 
Nov 6, 2007 – The Sixth Annual Amtower Summit on Selling Products to the Government, BWI Airport Hilton. Save the date – details to follow at www.FederalDirect.net/2007summit.html

Government Express eNews  is published by Amtower & Company, and is written for companies targeting the government marketplace. The opinions expressed are those of respective authors unless otherwise noted. Contact us at Amtower & Company, PO Box 314, Highland, MD 20777-0314,, or through the www.GovernmentExpress.com .  This material is copyrighted and may not be duplicated, reprinted or otherwise replicated without written permission of the publisher.  Email subscriptions are free by request: sign up at www.GovernmentExpress.com .

 

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