By: Judy Bradt, Summit Insight
Is the clock ticking on your GSA Schedule? You’re nowhere near that $25,000 sales goal, and you’re facing cancellation of your contract within the next couple of months? That doesn’t have to happen to you. Here’s how you can buy some time to make good on your goals.
First of all, GSA really doesn’t want to cancel your contract. They DO want to avoid an estimated $3,000 a year in contract administration costs for vendors who aren’t going to sell anything. But that’s not you! Your challenge is to make sure your contracting officer knows you’re serious about your obligations.
The Steps: Past, Present, and Future
You’ve already received a couple of warning letters. How have you responded? Not at all? Okay, it’s time to stop treating this like a threat. Yes, it’s a call for serious action: that is, a reply from you to your Contracting Officer. Ask for what you want: to keep your GSA Schedule and be given the time to meet your $25,000 sales goal. And explain why she should consider you a good risk.
If you want to get taken seriously, here’s what to include in your letter.
- Show that you’ve been making more than a good faith effort. Document your federal sales and business development activities since you got your GSA Schedule. List every outreach event, every federal trade show, OSDBU briefing you attended. Did you exhibit? Visit? Present? Which agencies did you call on while you were there? How many people did you talk to? Then, summarize your sales calls and marketing: number of email campaigns, to how many people; number of phone calls, office meetings.
- List your sales to federal agencies that you made WITHOUT using the GSA Schedule. Explain that this list shows you’re a serious federal vendor; it’s just that your buyers so far prefer not to use GSA Schedules
- List the proposals and quotes you’ve submitted, including the unsuccessful ones, on GSA Schedule Opportunities. Give the RFQ number from E-Buy if that’s available.
- List any pending GSA Awards – anything GSA Schedule opportunities you’ve bid on but haven’t yet heard the winner.
- Identify the stakeholder you have assigned as the lead person in your company responsible for the success of GSA Schedule sales, and who will be held accountable for results
- Present your plan for increasing the effectiveness of your in GSA Business Development, including bullet points to specify the activities of your Marketing Plan.
That last one is a biggie. Now that you’ve explain what you’ve done…what are you going to do differently? Keeping your GSA Schedule hinges on having a clear plan to take your results to a new level.
What Questions Will GSA Ask You When You’re Facing Cancellation?
Here are the questions that GSA recently asked one of my clients. Your contracting officer might ask you other things…but these questions shouldn’t be a surprise to you. How would you answer? Here are some things to think about when you’re answering.
- Have you submitted quotes in response to RFQs posted on eBuy, FedBizOpps, etc.?
Remember, this isn’t asking about RFQ, RFI, Sources Sought, or RFP; If you mention those, then discuss those separately.
- If so, how many?
Provide the NUMBER. Count RFQ, RFI, Sources Sought, RFP separately. Did you bid as a prime? Were you part of a Contractor Teaming Arrangement (CTA)? If you bid as a subcontractor, and not through a CTA, then even a win won’t count toward making your minimum $25,000 sales goal. Make the distinction between those that required your schedule and those that did not. And, for good measure, record the outcome.
- Are you currently in the middle of a competition, i.e., might soon receive a task/delivery order that brings the contract into sales compliance?
If so, provide details — e.g. “We are the incumbent on a project that is being recompeted as set aside for SDVOSB, and so are partnering with a SDVOSB through a tCTA in order to remain eligible for the work. As the customer has told us repeatedly that our past performance is outstanding, and encouraged us to participate in the recompete, we feel we have an excellent chance of winning. If we win, our share of the project would be over 130,000 — more than enough to bring our contract into sales compliance. Between now and June, we are also well positioned through CTA’s for three other opportunities of similar scale.
- Do you have a bid-and-proposal budget
The right answer is “yes.” So, provide a number. Consider also adding your budget for business development, and a description of the key activities you plan to undertake in the near future that are specifically intended to drive business through the GSA Schedule in question.
- Do you have a recently-awarded task/delivery order and/or unreported contract sales that will bring the contract into sales compliance?
If so, provide details
Some closing thoughts:
Have you been marketing to agencies that you realize don’t use your GSA Schedule as much as other vehicles? How are you shifting your marketing to reach out to prospects who DO use the GSA Schedule?
Are you seeing repeated requirements published as set asides for which you’re not eligible? If so, describe your teaming strategy, particularly your progress in securing CTA’s, to improve your position.
This is your chance to make your case. Make it a strong one.
Judy Brandt is the founder of Summit Insight and a long-time partner of Global Services. This post originally appeared on summitinsight.com and has been used here with permission.