How to Be a Successful GSA Contractor

Part 2: Five Things You Need to Know

Your company invested significant resources to obtain your GSA Schedule, which is now officially referred to as a GSA Multiple Award (MAS) Contract. Now that you have your contract, are you equipped with the information and resources you need to make the most out of your investment?

In part one of How to Be a Successful GSA Contractor, we discussed how GSA Contract assessments can directly impact your sales. In part two of this series, we’ll focus on the benefits of staying informed and using this information to help increase sales through your GSA Contract.

5 Things All GSA Contractors Should Know

Use the checklist below as high-level outline of the information and resources you need to be successful. Make sure to set aside time annually to “update your file”— check for updates and changes that may require action or impact your sales process or collateral.

GSA Eligible Users

It is important to know who is authorized to buy through your GSA Contract. While any federal agency can purchase from your GSA MAS Contract, in some cases, state and local government can also utilize your contract. Learn more at GSA’s website here.

Benefits to Your Government Customers

While the GSA Schedule is the most widely used procurement vehicle, not all federal buyers are familiar with the contract. Be prepared to provide a quick overview of GSA Contract benefits from your customer’s perspective. GSA MAS Contracts are pre-competed, FAR compliant, and not subject to formalized FAR Part 15 procedures, allowing your buyer to save significant time in the procurement process. GSA MAS Contracts are also considered a Tier 2 – and in some cases, a Best-in-Class – Solution for Category Management spending.

GSA Ordering Process

The simplified ordering process is a key benefit of purchasing through the GSA MAS Contract. Take the time to understand how your buyer’s ordering procedures vary depending on the dollar value of the order and if a statement of work (SOW) is used. Visit GSA’s website for a quick overview here and read GSA’s MAS Desk Reference for a more in-depth explanation here.

New Initiatives at GSA

Stay up to date on changes and initiatives at GSA that may impact your contract. Any formal changes will be issued in the form of a solicitation refresh. GSA also provides an advanced notice of upcoming changes on Interact and will typically allow time for industry feedback on major initiatives.

Just this month, GSA introduced the Verified Products Portal that serves as an alternative to Letter of Supply requirements. Last month, GSA released a positive summary of the Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) pilot. While TDR involves additional reporting, it also allows contractors to avoid the Price Reductions Clause (PRC) and Commercial Sales Practices disclosure. A successful pilot increases the likelihood that TDR will be expanded to all SINs under the GSA MAS Contract. Stay tuned for updates. In the meantime, you can see if your SINs are currently TDR eligible here.

Learn more about some of the initiatives we’re watching this year and subscribe to our monthly email for updates.

Resources for Assessing the Market and Finding Opportunities

One of the advantages of selling to the federal government is the public availability of contract award data and procurement forecasts. Make sure you are well acquainted with the top government resources highlighted below. In addition to the free resources below, several private companies offer paid subscription options to help you better search, identify, and manage opportunities.

  • USASpending.gov is a user-friendly resource that provides great visual snapshots of contract award data. At USASpending.gov you can search for your NAICS Code, Product Service Code (PSC), or keywords to discover the top awarding agencies. You can also review agency profiles and search for your competitors to find their federal agency buyers.
  • SAM.gov is the website you register on to do business with the federal government. As of this week, it is now also the official source for federal business opportunities. Take the time explore the recently redesigned site and get accustomed to the new layout and search functionality.
  • Acquisition.gov includes links to agency procurement forecasts, business opportunities, and small business pages. While some agencies may just post a link to SAM.gov, other agencies maintain a searchable dashboard or post an excel sheet with upcoming opportunities. DHS has an advanced forecast that can be filtered by several criteria including contract vehicle, NAICS code, and small business program. The Department of Interior, Department of Labor, and GSA share a dashboard that includes similar search features.
  • GSA eBuy is online Request for Quote (RFQ) system that can only be accessed by GSA and VA Schedule Contract holders. Ensure someone on your team is tasked with monitoring eBuy and managing your quotes. Depending on the SINs you hold, you may have the option to select subgroups in eBuy to help your company standout. Check to see if your SINs allow for subgroups here.

Takeaways

If you have a comprehensive understanding of how your GSA Contract works, you can help guide your buyers and direct sales. Knowing what resources are available and how to navigate those resources allows you to identify opportunities and target agencies.

Finally, avoid being caught off guard by changes. Follow news that impacts the govcon industry and periodically refresh your understanding of GSA policies and procedures. As we mentioned above, SAM.gov is one of the primary websites for federal business opportunities and was recently redesigned. If you’ve been following the transformation, you’ve had time to acclimate to the new platform.

Could You Benefit from GSA Contract Training?

Our customized GSA Contract training provides best practices and tips for GSA MAS Contract sales, administration, and compliance. Contact us to discuss how our training can help your team effectively sell through and maintain your GSA MAS Contract.

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