Are you completely confused about how to find leads?
Is your opportunity pipeline thin and outdated?
Is your boss on your back about identifying new opportunities?
Have you ever tried using GovWin and FPDS?
Knowing where to start when developing an opportunity pipeline can be difficult and overwhelming. With so many search tools boasting to be the best, how do you know which will provide the most up-to-date information and guide you to profitable opportunities?
This is a common issue in the world of government contracting, and there are many conflicting opinions on the best approach. In this article, we would like to equip you with some helpful tools that have allowed Whitespace to build actionable, up-to-date, and rewarding pipelines. After all, finding the correct tools is half the work!
Before using an opportunity database, it is important to have search parameters in mind. Do you want a Small-Business Set-Aside, or are you looking for a teaming opportunity to chase a Full and Open? Is there a certain primary NAICS Code or agency with which to work? Knowing your requirements is essential before running a search. Without parameters, you will be overwhelmed by a flood of often irrelevant results.
Once you have your search parameters, GovWin is a perfect place to start. There are several different search options on GovWin. For a quick search with a major keyword, use the search bar in the upper right portion of your screen. For more detailed searches, use the “Advanced Search” option next to the search bar. This tool allows you to input all your opportunity criteria and presents a list of opportunities meeting your specifications. Not finding what you need? Play with your search parameters. Perhaps you should look two years ahead instead of one. Or maybe your competition type is too narrow, and you need to open your parameters to include “Undecided” in addition to “SDVOSB.” Once you have found an opportunity you like, click on the blue hyperlinked opportunity title. This will take you to the opportunity page, where you can find additional details. On the left side of your screen, under “Mark This Opp,” give the opportunity a rating. Now the opportunity will be stored under “My Opportunities” for your reference.
Most of the data on GovWin comes from Federal Business Opportunities, or FedBizOpps. When speaking with a KO or Contracts Specialist, it is important to reference FedBizOpps rather than GovWin as the former is the interface used by agencies for posting updates. It is good practice to keep an eye on the FedBizOpps page of the solicitation of interest. Government customers are required to post their upcoming solicitations on FedBizOpps, so updates appear there before GovWin.
Another option is to go straight to the source. DoD and other federal agency websites post their acquisition forecasts online for contractors to view. In addition to general forecasts, these websites feature Industry Day Slides for specific opportunities (i.e. NOAA’s ProTech Weather Domain). If you do not immediately see a tab labeled “Forecast” or “Industry Day Briefing,” do not be alarmed. These tools can typically be found by using the website’s search function.
Now that you’ve found potential opportunities, it is time for some competitive intel. USA Spending (www.usaspending.gov) and Federal Procurement Data System, or FPDS (www.fpds.gov), are two wonderful resources. USA Spending consolidates acquisition data to tell you who has received money from which department. By searching by the funding agency of your potential opportunity and examining the transactions, you can determine who some of the top competitors are. Using this information, you can use FPDS to do a “deep dive” on your competition. Create an ad hoc report using the competitor’s Global DUNS to see obligated revenue from contracts. This will inform you of the company’s history with the customer, their revenue, and their performance locations. Armed with this knowledge and other information, you can decide whether to bid an opportunity or to reach out to one of the competitors for teaming.
Finding the correct opportunity for your company can be daunting, but there are several resources at your disposal. By knowing what is available and learning to correctly use these tools, you will be well on your way to a healthy opportunity pipeline.