How to decide which Federal agency to target for finding government work.

Trying to determine which agency in the Federal government to market your products or services to can be a daunting task. How do you determine which agency to market to?

Let’s take a look at sales in Wyoming:  Fourteen major federal departments or administrations spent a little over $311 million dollars in Wyoming in the 2016 fiscal year. They bought everything from gill netting to electric power, mules to equipment rental, fire incident support services to background investigation services.  From Afton to Yoder, services and/or products were used in 86 towns or locations across the state.

It’s important to note that the federal departments are made up of many agencies.  The top 10 contracting agencies in fiscal year 2016 who did the greatest dollar value of business in Wyoming, listed from highest to lowest, were: The Federal Highway Administration, Veterans Administration, National Park Service, Department of the Air Force, Department of the Army, Forest Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Defense Commissary Agency, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Employment and Training Administration.

However, for the purpose of targeted marketing, is not always accurate enough to know which agency.  For instance, the Department of the Army is made up of many entities, do you need to target the Army Corps of Engineers or the Wyoming Army National Guard?  Should you focus on your local Forest Service office or a regional Forest Service acquisition center?  Knowing which contracting office (or better yet – which person) makes the purchasing decisions is important and will save you time and money.

Courting agencies involves several steps. Start out by doing market research on government sales.  Online public access databases are available, such as the Federal Procurement Data System (www.fpds.gov) or www.USAspending.gov.  The Wyoming Procurement Technical Assistance Center is more than happy to do research for you – my contact information is below.

Once you have selected which agencies to target, develop a relationship with them by reaching out to them via email, phone, or at a matchmaking session at events where government contractors or departments exhibit. Set up a meeting to talk about your capabilities and what you can offer them.  Don’t be all things to them – put forward your most capable services or products and work at developing trust.  This will do much to lessen their notions of risk in doing business with you.

Before broaching the government, do an assessment of how ready you are to do so.  The government is risk averse – they normally do not want to take a chance on hiring a start-up company to do work – they prefer businesses that are doing well in the commercial market.  Questions such as work capacity, financial soundness and the ability to manage contract administration and accounting should be asked before a company enters the government marketplace.

The Wyoming PTAC can assist you in all areas of government procurement, federal, state and local.  Please contact us for assistance at (307) 772-7372 or amlewis@uwyo.edu.

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