By Global Services on March 31, 2021
The General Services Administration (GSA) routinely promotes the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Program’s entire suite of products and services to local, state, and federal agencies, but they never promote particular contractors. Each MAS contractor is responsible for their own marketing activities and Business Development (BD) strategies, and implementing these successfully is crucial to success in the MAS program.
Earlier this month, GSA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization’s (OSDBU) Syretta Dyson hosted a webinar explaining how small businesses-such as Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) can market their MAS Schedule to the government. Below, we outline the key takeaways that your WOSB can implement to craft an efficient and effective marketing plan.
Follow the Data
Knowing how and where to market your products and services on Schedule is key for the success of your business. Prior to getting on Schedule, you may have already identified your target agency customers. You may have already worked with them. To kickstart a marketing strategy for your Schedule, use data from the following websites:
- Gov. This site will demonstrate the spending power of your target agency. What budget do they have? How much of it do they spend on the products and services you offer?
- eLibrary. All rewarded MAS contractors and contract details (GSA Advantage Catalogs and MAS Price Lists) can be found on this site. Use this site to assess your competition.
- Acquisition Gateway. This site contains a robust, interactive forecast tool that lets you find opportunities coming down the pipeline. You can filter by agency, NAICs code, and place of performance to locate the right contracts for your business.
- Sam.Gov. On this site you can locate Small Business Goaling Reports on the Data Bank. Is your target agency meeting their WOSB contracting goals? Do they frequently use the MAS Schedule?
Build Your Schedule Marketing Strategy
Now that you’ve completed the market research, use everything you’ve learned to formulate your plan.
- Market Assessment. The data you’ve uncovered above has revealed what the market holds for your products and services in federal procurement. This final assessment should show a firm and clear understanding of what drives your target agency’s needs (policy, procedures, or new initiatives).
- Target Markets. Use your research data to narrow your target market to a manageable size. If your findings reveal they are heavy users of the MAS in their procurement activities, make a note of it.
- Competitive Analysis. You now know who your key competitors are. Make a note of your advantages and what differentiates you. Or, set your sights on potential teaming opportunities. If a Large Business dominates the market, you may decide to focus on subcontracting opportunities there. Large Business contractors have target goals for subcontracting to specific types of small business, like WOSBs, and may be eager to find a partner like you that can help them meet their goals.
- Regulatory Restrictions. These could affect your ability to sell. Make sure you note any certifications you may need, such as Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). Also ensure that you are compliant with Section 889 of the FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which places restrictions on the use of certain telecommunications equipment, and plan a scrub of your products if necessary.
- SWOT Analysis. Perform a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis with a deep understanding of the opportunities you’ve uncovered, threats you can address immediately, and differentiating factors between you and your target agency’s incumbent.
- Long- and Short-Term Strategy. You now have your market and agency focus. What can you do short-term to put your company in front of others? What can you do long-term to achieve your goals?
Walk the Walk
Now that you’ve finalized your marketing plan, it’s time to get to work!
- Showcase Your Offerings. Make sure your contract data is up to date on GSA sites (eLibrary and GSA Advantage!). Your Pricelist and/or GSA Advantage! Catalog should display the full array of your services and/or products on Schedule. Make sure your company website is user friendly and display your status as a WOSB and MAS holder (WOSB logo, GSA Schedule logo, MAS contract #, etc.). All marketing materials should feature these logos as well, so potential customers and teaming partners know your status up front. (Note: When using GSA logos, make sure you do so only in ways that are consistent with GSA’s logo usage policy).
- Attend Industry Days. Industry Days are the perfect place to network with the key agency players. This is a suitable time to connect with a CO and hand off your company’s Capabilities Statement. Additionally, and equally important, this is an opportunity to connect with other MAS contractors in the room for potential teaming opportunities. Many MAS contractors will seek other MAS contractors to team, as your products and services on Schedule are already pre-vetted.
- Attend Matchmaking Events. At these events, you can build advantageous relationships with other companies. You may only have 10-15 minutes to chat, so make your time count! If you are speaking to a prime contractor at your key agency, make sure you enter the event with a clear understanding of their company to ask the critical questions.
- Respond to RFIs. COs really want you to respond to their Requests for Information (RFIs) or Sources Sought notices on beta.sam.gov, as they’re the CO’s way of conducting research prior to the final RFP. For example, if enough SBs—or, say, enough WOSBs—demonstrate that they’re capable of performing the work, the RFP may be released as a set-aside, meaning only members of that category will be allowed to bid. That’s clearly to your advantage, since it means you won’t be competing against large businesses for the work. Use this opportunity to showcase your capabilities and past performance experience!
Reach Out for Schedule Support
Remember, you are not alone. There are a multitude of resources available to help you through your MAS journey.
- Reach out to a GSA Customer Service Director (CSD). Located across the country, CSDs market GWACs and the MAS Program to federal agencies. You can find a variety of useful seminars to attend, or even reach out to a CSD to connect them with a specific federal agency to promote the MAS program.
- Reach out to your local Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs). PTAC personnel offer free or low cost services to aid your company in the GovCon realm, from workshops and matchmaking events to one-on-one counseling.
- Reach out to other WOSBs. The WOSB community is as supportive as it is vast. You may find a mentor or potential teaming partner by immersing yourself in WOSB-focused events hosted by organizations like Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) or Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).
If you need assistance staying compliant with your MAS Schedule or would like a referral for your BD needs, please reach out to our team at Global Services!