Archives for June 16

Jun 13, 2016

The General Services Administration first brought up the concept of having an “unpriced” schedule a year or so ago.

The idea is to evaluate vendors for their capabilities, past performance and overall skillsets, and not on their prices. And then let the price competition happen at the task order level.

This concept would be a huge change in the federal market where price has always been a factor in the evaluations of bids.

But the recent success of governmentwide multiple award contracts such as OASIS, and the acceptance of a similar approach for the recent $11.5 billion Human Capital and Training Solutions (HCaTS) procurement and the soon-to-be released solicitation for Alliant 2, there is a growing recognition that this may be the future of federal contracting for multiple award, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity vehicles. Reference Article.

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Jun 17, 2016

Ahhhh, the request for proposal(RFP) — for many, giving birth to an elephant is a more appealing option than responding to an RFP.

And yet, while most despise answering an RFP, many professionals rely on them as a meaningful source for new business.

If you’re one of these people, I encourage you to start developing thought leadership as a means to endear yourself to the all-powerful, all-knowing purchasing agent.

To know you is to love you

Purchasing agents (PAs), who were once heavily reliant on and influenced by salespeople, now do a majority of their due diligence via the internet. This has effectively taken the salesperson out of the equation and leveled the playing field.

In fact, a recent Corporate Executive Board study found that nearly 60 percent of the purchasing decision is now completed before the agent ever has a conversation with a supplier.

Here’s what this means:

  1. The ability to educate PAs and earn credibility during their due diligence process is vital to winning their business
  2. Most purchasing agents have formed their opinion about each vendor and have already determined their favorites prior to receiving their RFP
  3. If the PA team learns about your company for the first time while reading your response to their RFP, you’ve already lost

For most companies, PAs are asked to source a wide variety of products and services and thus, they tend to have a limited understanding of them. Today, it might be an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Tomorrow, it could be a supply chain management firm to handle the design and development of a new distribution center in Idaho.

When coupled with the complexity of all the decision-making criteria and the large number of people involved, PAs need to get educated quickly, and their go-to educational resource is the Internet. It is during the due diligence stage that the PAs are at their most receptive and impressionable.

Not coincidentally, this will be your best opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and secure your place on their “favorites” list. Read Full Article

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