January 18, 2011 at 9:44 pm #120832
I am looking for some expert advice. We have two schedules and have not been able to utilize these with government agencies. We are creeping up on the deadline to "Lose-Them" or "Use-Them".
Any advice is greatly appreciated!
January 18, 2011 at 11:07 pm #120850
Hi Lori, I don't know if this is expert advice, but it has been highly successful for our organization. After obtaining a GSA schedule 70 our sales team made a list of all past and current Clients eligible to purchase from GSA contract holders.
Then we subscribed to an email-marketing engine. Sending an email message from your company domain name to many email recipients might get your company domain name blacklisted. Maybe I’ll blog about mass email and newsletter perils this week so that I can cover this topic in more depth. We created a customized email message to announce that “…we have created a faster way for you to buy the products and services that you need”. We provided a link to a page on our website dedicated to GSA sales, and emailed everyone on the list.
Two days later we followed up with a quick telephone call to answer any questions the Client may have, and ask for appointments to talk about how they could take advantage of all of the benefits of buying through GSA.
Next, we made it a routine practice to have our sales team remind our current and prospective clients about your GSA schedule and Seaport-e contract. The bulk of our GSA contracts have come from repeat buyers.
We are registered with some of the Buyer/Vendor sites like GSA e-Buy (https://www.ebuy.gsa.gov/advantage/ebuy/start_page.do) Fed Biz (https://www.fbo.gov/), Fed Bid (http://www.fedbid.com/), and others to find GSA contract opportunities to bid on, and we submit a lot of proposals.
Most importantly, when you win a GSA or any Government contract ensure that you provide an excellent product or service, with world-class service and support. With any luck they will contract with your company again in the future. This simple plan has worked very well for us but it does require constant attention.
Good luck and I hope this helps
January 19, 2011 at 2:25 pm #120848
Antoinette- Please send me the post when you write about the email marketing engine. I would like to find out what you used. This is very helpful advice. I appreciate the feedback. We have have recently created a blog through wordpress that we have submitted to some of our contacts. I have been researching on ffata.org to find who is buying under our NAICS codes and have been marketing to these buyers as well. I look forward to reading your blog.
January 19, 2011 at 5:08 pm #120846
All too often companies pursue the GSA Sched is hopes that it is the holy grail and will lead to abundant gov sales, when in fact it is simply a marketing tool that some gov buyers may use -- and others do not. Additionally, it takes a long time investment to obtain the Sched and it also comes with a sales quota as well as a "GSA Tax" (IFF Fee).
Before even pursuing a Sched, you should understand your market base, how they buy and if they use the Sched or not. You may not need one! Market your products/services to the client and ask if having a Sched would expedite the sales process or increase your chances of winning the bid. The GSA Sched does have the benefit of limiting the playing field and showing that your firm has established price ceilings, is compliant and has past performance in the product/service are you are proposing.
If you have followed this path, then upon recieving your GSA Contract #, you should continue to speak to the prospects who suggested the GSA Sched is how they would buy from you. If this is not the case, then contact someone like Anna Urman of http://www.TacticalInsight.com to conduct some market research for your firm to find out what agencies are buying your offering/s, who the buyers are (names, emails, phone #) and where your competitors have won business. This will give you a road-map .... which you will need, because deciding to "sell to the government" is like deciding to sell to China - it is HUGE and you need a plan/strategy.
Additionally, http://www.TheASBC.com run by Guy and Maggie Timberlake offers great opps for networking and also attending sessions with government officials. I'd also sugest subscribing to many of the gov related publications (ie. http://www.GovExec.com) to stay abreast of policy and legislation affecting your industry, attend PTAC and SCORE meetings hosted by the government and focused on helping/educating gov contractors. Lastly, please see the B2G TIPS section of my website for more suggestions on marketing to the gov. http://www.JenniferSchaus.com
Thanks & good luck,
Jennifer Schaus & Associates
B2G Consultant & GSA Scheds
January 19, 2011 at 5:29 pm #120844
Hi Jennifer- Thank you for the info. We have crossed the same paths. I am a member of the asbc and I also have met Anna at the Prince William County Chamber. I started with my company in September of last year and they had already had the GSA for almost two years at that point. I have been to a few PTAC & SCORE events, but probably should have picked better events. I have signed up for your event in Feb. and look forward to meeting you in person. I will also contact Anna, I have her card but was not aware she would be a good contact for GSA help. I have heard her speak at a breakfast at the Marine Corp Museum, but, the topic was directed to woman owned business. I appreciate the insight and reading more on your website. See you in Feb. Thank you.
January 19, 2011 at 5:42 pm #120842
That sounds like a good start Lori, keep at it. I'll let you know when the email marketing article is posted.
January 20, 2011 at 8:05 pm #120840
January 21, 2011 at 10:22 pm #120836
David- I sent you a friend request. I would definitely like to hear your recommendations. Thank you for your insight. I am open to any information. Maybe we could follow up on Monday! Have a great weekend.
January 26, 2011 at 3:43 pm #120834
The company I work for has been very successful with our GSA contracts. I am a sales rep that deals only with federal and state funded customers nationwide. I was wondering what types of products/services are on your current contract. Feel free to send me an email, I'd be happy to help if I can. [email protected]
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