Monday, April 27, 2009

Preparing To Make A Prime Pitch

Ready, Aim, Team!

Now that you're back from the OSDBU conference and are sorting through those cards and are your follow-up plans going?

Do you remember in school how your parents always harped on you to do your homework so you would get A's on your exams? That was practice for real life as a vendor.

It's time to get ready for those teaming meetings -- so start by:
  • targeting best-fit projects for you in the government agency
  • narrowing your focus to the most likely primes/partners
  • tailoring your pitch -- that is, your capability statement -- around that.
That's where those Five People You Need To Meet come in.
Expect that it's going to take time -- so get started. Get to know the program managers and end users of your product or service. Research their missions, challenges, incumbent vendors, and what buyers do – or don’t – like about the products and services they’re using now. Once they trust you, you learn who the decision-makers are, who influences them (Think tanks? Consultants? Trade press?), what their budgets might be, and what the spending plans are – how much money will be spent, and when.

Your status as a woman-owned, 8(a) or other small business is a minor advantage to a Prime contractor, so you might get their attention when you make that initial appointment. Once the meeting starts, how can you make it count? Here's what the primes say:
  • Focus on Reality - What do you expect from a prime contractor, and what are you bringing to the table?

  • Research Your Prospective Partner - Bring in the potential business — what new leads and client relationships can you bring to the Prime? Why should you be given attention?

  • Register and Followup - Online registration is necessary but not sufficient on its own to gain a partnership with a large Prime. Did you call back and continue the connection until you actually found a project you both agreed you wanted to work on?

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