The Alexandria SBDC recently attended a Procurement Conference sponsored by Congressman Don Beyer. Among the several worthwhile presentations was a panel of representatives from large prime contractors with tips on how to be successful in securing subcontracts with them. Among the recommendations were:
- Start early. Almost all teaming and subcontracting activities are accomplished through active marketing well in advance of an opportunity being released for competition.
- Do research. Familiarize yourself with the products and services of the prime that you are targeting. Monitor their program awards, recompetes and new opportunities.
- Familiarize yourself with the prime’s target government client. Customer knowledge and intimacy is key. If you have strategic relationships with that agency, you will be more attractive to the prime, and more likely to be considered for an opportunity.
- Know your company, and have a great elevator speech. Be able to clearly articulate what you do and why your company is special.
- Differentiate yourself – show what value you can bring. Do you have technological or service advantages or innovations? Solid past performance is very important.
- Make sure that your SAM and D&B registrations are up-to-date and correct.
- Many large primes have their own registration sites. Make sure that your profile is up-to-date and carefully worked with important key words. Keep it concise.
- Be sure that your website is secure. Particularly for Primes in the Defense, Security or Intelligence arenas it is important for potential subs and partners to have a secure site, since they cannot view an unsecure site. The Alexandria SBDC will post a separate blog about this issue and how to make your site secure in the next few weeks.
- Several large primes said that they will only talk with companies that already offer Health Care for their employees.
- If the work requires security clearances, make sure that your employees have complete and correct clearances, and that they are represented correctly. Misrepresentations in this area can prevent your company from getting another chance forever.
- Any bait and switch or other activity will blacklist you with the primes for good.
- You will need to show that your company is financially solvent before the big primes will partner with you.
- Make sure that your subcontract agreement deals with the issue of “poaching” employees. This is an issue in both directions with primes and subs.
- Consistently strong ethical behavior is crucial. One of the areas mentioned in particular is making sure that all of your employees’ timecards are complete and correct. These are under careful scrutiny and can create issues with payment. Irregularities are considered a major fraud issue.
- They are looking for resource availability and HR stability
- Your reputation is everything – be known as a dependable and responsive team player.
- Follow-through and follow-up!