Government Contract Data – Where To Search

Where to Conduct Market Research for Government Contract Data

Government Contract Data - Bid Matching SystemsHave you ever had a meeting with a prospect that didn’t go the way you had hoped? Or worse, you think the meeting went great, but then you never hear from the prospect again or they won’t take your calls? This is a very familiar scenario for government contractors and there are several reasons why this happens. One reason is not having  government contract data and market intelligence to properly communicate and position the value you provide. Most government contractors use a bid matching system.

Government contract data increases the chances of winning a contract. I’m amazed at how many companies “wing it” when it comes to prospect meetings. Many government contractors walk into meetings with a plan to deliver their capability statement; talk about their company, products, services; and ask “do you have any contracts we can have?”  This is a recipe for disappointment that makes you look and sound like every other contractor.

Winning government contracts requires more than FedBizOpps or even the most advanced bid-matching tools.

You want to differentiate yourself, your company, and the products or services you provide. It requires that you educate yourself, research the prospect and obtain the right government contract data in order to differentiate. Unlike the commercial market, there are a multitude of online government resources you can use to educate yourself on your prospect before you meet with them. How long will it take? It depends on the volume of information available for your North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes and the type of products / services that you sell.

Websites to Research Government Contract Data – FPDS and

The first tool I suggest you check out is FPDS. The Federal Procurement Data System is the most comprehensive free tool available to government contractors for determining who buys what you sell, how much they buy, and how often they buy it. You can break down buying history by NAICS, product service codes (PSC), place of performance, government agency, department, and hundreds of other data points. Government contract data helps you confirm who you should be targeting. You can also read an article for What is FPDS and 5 Ways it Can Help You Win Government Contracts.

However, FPDS is not a user-friendly tool. As a result, the government has another database for government contract data called This website is very user-friendly and easier to use than FPDS. In fact, just underwent a massive upgrade that increased the number of data fields from 180 to 250. The government contract data in is pulled from FPDS. FPDS is the master system for contract data. Because some contract data is not pulled into, we show our clients how to use both.


FedBizOpps, also known as FBO, is typically the next website I recommend. It’s very easy to search FBO to see if there are open solicitations for your products and services. Most companies think of FBO as solely a tool to find opportunities to bid on. However, FBO is also an excellent tool for market intelligence.  For example, instead of focusing on bidding all the opportunities you can find, start documenting the agencies and contracting officers that buy what you well. You may find the same contracting officer and phone number on several of them. That is someone you should target and identify the departments or organizations they serve.

While FBO is the largest bid-matching and contract management system, there are several others. If you have a GSA Schedule, you’ll have access to GSA eBuy. But specific agencies may also have their own contract management systems. It’s worth a quick search online to see if the prospect you are targeting has its own acquisition portal. This can be a like searching for state and local contracts. The city or state you live in has its own website for procurements.  For example, the intelligence community (CIA, NSA, NRO, NGA, DIA) utilize the Intelligence Community ARC; the US Navy may use NECO; and if you sell products, you definitely want to check if the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) buys what you sell. DLA procures billions of dollars in products through a system called the Defense Information Bid Board System or DIBBS. Each of these systems can provide extensive government contract data to help you position in the market.

Don’t simply look at these “bidding” or “bid matching” systems to find opportunities. You should also use them to research government contract data to help develop your sales strategy.

Government Small Business Offices

Every prospect you will EVER come into contact with is represented by a Small Business Office. Small business offices for each federal agency are called OSDBUs or Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization. For the Department of Defense, small business offices are called OSBPs or Office of Small Business Programs. It is very easy to find names and phone numbers for these offices. Search online by agency name and “small business office” or visit this website for a list of major agencies and small business liaisons.

Small business counselors should be able to tell you who buys what you sell. However, remember that small business offices are a microcosm of society. Some are really good and others provide little to no value. The fastest way to determine if they can help you is to ask them if they work closely with the contracting officers and program managers on solicitations before solicitations are released to the public.

By researching government contract data, you can ask small business offices questions on whether or not they know the decision makers. You want to verify if they have any influence over the acquisition process. Small business counselors who work closely with the prospect in pre-acquisition are the ones that are going to know about opportunities before they are released to the public. They will go to bat for you if the prospect tries to make a solicitation full and open as opposed to a small business status you may hold. These include small business, minority or socially disadvantaged (8a), woman owned (WOSB), veteran owned (VOSB), service disabled veteran owned (SDVOSB), HUBZone, and several others.

Bid Matching, Contract Management, and Data Analytic Tools

When it comes to government contract data and data analytics, bid-matching systems, also known as contract management systems, are sold to government contractors more than any other sales support system.

Bid matching systems, also called contract management systems or federal contract analytics systems, show you all the contracts awarded in the past decade that you may want to compete on in addition to new opportunities you can bid on. These are the systems you use when you ask, “Where do I find government opportunities I can bid on?”

We have other articles on bid-matching systems but several key points. First, you can get bid-matching systems from your local PTAC. However, you don’t have access to the back-end. You only get emails with potential opportunities and you can’t update your search criteria on your own. To update, you have to coordinate with your PTAC counselor.

Most other bid matching systems you are able to login and modify your search criteria. There are more than 500 bid matching systems that you can pay for on a monthly or annual basis. They range from $25 a month to more than $12,000 a year. Like anything else, you get what you pay for and a solid solution is somewhere in the middle.

I’m often asked, “Why pay for a bid-matching system if they get their data from free government systems like FedBizOpps and DIBBS?” The answer is ease of use. Many of the intermediate to high-end bid matching systems are pulling data, two or three times a day, from between 20 and 100+ different government systems. Can you imagine going to all those sites, every day, trying to find what you need? Ease of use is a very good reason to use a bid matching tool.


The second reason is based on how bid matching companies make their money: The user interface and the algorithms they use to crunch the data. I gave a webinar last week on “Who buys what you sell? How much and how often?” I downloaded three years of data from FPDS for marketing and advertising procurements (marketing companies). There were 12,800 contract actions but more than 2.8 million fields of data. Remember, FPDS is only one of the 100+ systems that bid matching systems pull their data from. Can you imagine sifting through 20 million fields of data?

With the right algorithms and a system that is highly intuitive and user friendly, you’ll save countless hours every week. Each of those saved hours is money. That’s why companies serious about government sales have a bid matching system. A powerful contract analytics system that provides pin-point intelligence, where and when you need it, will accelerate the front-end of your business development process.

Yes. I have a recommendation. The most comprehensive, cost effective, and user-friendly bid matching system on the market that is really good at providing value is Repperio. We’ve already sent an alert to all of our clients and members recommending they take a look at Repperio.


Use all of this research to map out a strategy for meeting with government buyers. Map out the questions you want to ask, what questions you should be prepared to answer, your goals and objectives for the meeting, what materials to bring to the meeting, and strategize the possible scenarios.

Follow these simple tips and you will not only get better at conducting research prior to a meeting, you will get better at determining what is actionable intelligence and what is just “good to know.”

If you’re serious about winning government contracts, we also suggest you take a look at RSM Federal’s Federal Access program. Federal Access is a multi-award winning platform used by more than 1,000 government contractors. With hundreds of resources, it is the most comprehensive platform on the market with every template and step-by-step strategy a company needs to position for and win government contracts. With billions in contract awards, learn more about Federal Access.


Joshua Frank is the Founder and Managing Partner at RSM Federal, a federal consulting and business-acceleration strategy firm that provides companies with the templates, processes, and strategies for winning government contracts. For more information about RSM Federal, please visit

Small Business Certification Programs

Where to get certified 8a, woman owned, veteran, service disabled, or Hubzone for Small Business Certification Programs

Government Small Business CertificationsThe goal behind small business certification programs is to help level the playing field for small businesses.  The 8a, woman owned (WOSB), veteran owned (VOSB), service disabled veteran owned (SDVOSB), and Hubzone certifications allow small businesses to compete fairly against larger businesses with more resources. The key part of that statement is “compete fairly”. Many companies believe that a socio-economic status entitles them to automatically win contracts. That is just not true.

However, you don’t win contracts because you’re certified

Yes there are set asides and simplified acquisitions that improve opportunities for smaller businesses. With the exception of 8(a), most statuses still require the ‘rule of two,’ requiring that contracting officers have a reasonable expectation that at least two or more companies (even disadvantaged companies) will submit an offer. There are situations where a sole source contract can and will be awarded when there is only one possible source or only one possible offer. But this is increasingly rare. When the government releases an opportunity only for small business, 8a, wosb, or veteran, it’s called a set-aside.

The challenge for small business is that not every agency or organization uses set-asides to their fullest potential AND you still have to communicate value. The value that your products and services provide is much more important than being certified, regardless of sole-source opportunities.

A socio-economic status without communicating value is worthless.

The hard truth about small business certification programs is that they don’t, on their own, win government contracts. You still have to provide a great product or service and you still need to understand how to differentiate your company from the competition. Small business specialists and consultants that tell you otherwise don’t understand the basics of federal acquisitions.

This article provides a short summary of the facts and eligibility requirements for the primary government small business certification programs. If you are interested in learning more about how to successfully use your certification, follow Joshua Frank on LinkedIn and review the dozens of documents, videos, and other resources in Federal Access.

Quick side note – whether or not you complete and submit certification packets on your own or you pay someone to do it for you… our recommendations are the same as for submitting a GSA Schedule application. Whenever possible, you should try to do it yourself first. You may also want to read Government Contractor Scams which discusses what you should and should not pay for.

Government Small Business Certification Programs

Here is a breakdown of the top 4 government small business certification programs and what you should know about them.

Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB) or EDWOSB (Economically Disadvantaged)


Key Facts:

  • You can no longer self certify. The 2015 NDAA revised a small portion of the Small Business Act. The language on self-certification has been deleted. As of the date of this article, the four third-party certifiers approved by the SBA are the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Congress, the National Women Business Owner’s Corporation, the US Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and the WBENC
  • See FAR 19.15 for more information on WOSB Program
  • NAICS codes are assigned to industries that are substantially underrepresented by WOSBs

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Must meet small business size standard for primary NAICS Code and contract
  • At least 51% of the business must be owned by women who are U.S. citizens
  • The woman must manage the day-to-day operations of the business as well as make long-term decisions for the business
  • The woman owner must hold the highest officer position in the company and work full-time in the business

Additional Requirements for EDWOSBs Only:

  • Personal net worth is less than $750K
  • Excludes: ownership in business and primary personal residence, income invested or use to pay taxes of the business, funds reinvested in IRA or other retirement accounts, transferred assets within two years if to or on behalf of a family member for select purposes
  • Adjusted gross income average over three years is $350K or less
  • Excluding income reinvested or used to pay taxes of the business
  • Fair market value of assets is $6 million or less
  • Excluding funds reinvested in IRA or other official retirement accounts

8a Small Business Development Program


Key Facts:

  • See FAR 19.8 for more information on the 8a program

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Social Disadvantage – Must be Hispanic American, Asian American, Black American, Native American, or a person who has experienced chronic discrimination against you on the basis of disability, gender, veteran status, race, culture or some other factor
  • Personal net worth must be under 250K
  • The 8a applicant must be the highest paid person in the company and your salary must be reasonable for your industry and a reasonable proportion of your company’s annual gross revenues.
  • The 8a applicant’s current market value of all of their assets must be under $4 million
  • Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) must be under 200K
  • Must be able to prove American citizenship with a birth certificate, passport, or other documentation
  • Must meet SBA small business size standards. This is based on your primary NAICS code
  • The applicant must have full control of the company, own 51% or more of the company, and be engaged full-time in the business
  • The applicant’s company must contract history with at least one contract completed in the past 12 months
  • Must have two or more completed tax returns that display the economic viability of your company
  • Applicants with felony convictions or on parole are not allowed to receive this certification
  • The applicant and all owners, directors, officers, etc., must be current on all federal financial obligations such as taxes, student loans, etc
  • Company financials must show a minimum of 3 months of working capital via cash in business accounts or a combination of cash, credit, and loan resources

Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone)


Key Facts:

  • See FAR 19.13 for more information on HUBZone

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Small business size standards apply for your primary NAICS Code
  • Primary difference between this certification and other small business certifications is that 35% or more of all of the company’s employees must reside in the HUBZone and the primary office for the business must be in the HUBZone
  • Certify that when performing HUBZone contracts, at least 35% of employees engaged in the contract live in the HUBZone
  • Must meet at least one of the following:
    • 51% or more owned by a U.S. citizen
    • Wholly owned, owned in part, owned by a joint venture or partnership by one or more Indian Tribal Governments
    • Owned by a small agricultural cooperative

Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB)


Key Facts:

  • Certification is through the CVE at Veterans Affairs
  • See FAR 19.14 for more information on SDVOSB

Eligibility Requirements:

  • The Service Disabled Veteran must have a service-connected disability that been determined by the Department of Veteran Affairs
  • Must meet the small business requirements for the NAICS code assigned to the solicitation
  • Must own 51% of the company, control the management of the company, and hold the highest officer position in the company


Michael LeJeune is a Partner at RSM Federal, a federal consulting and business-acceleration strategy firm that provides companies with the templates, processes, and strategies for winning government contracts. For more information about RSM Federal, please visit

Government Conferences – 7 Marketing Steps

7 Steps to Crafting the Perfect Call to Action (CTA) When Marketing at Government Conferences

Government Conferences and EventsTrade shows and government conferences are one of the costs that companies take into account in the annual marketing budget. This makes sense as conferences and events are one way companies solve the challenge of identifying how to find government contracts. It makes sense that you go into each event with a strong game plan for how your company will achieve the maximum Return on Investment (ROI). How many times have you heard the phrase “government conferences and trade shows are a waste of time and money” from one of your colleagues? Probably quite a bit. In fact, many companies are frustrated with government conferences because they don’t achieve the results they want.

The reason most companies don’t acheive the expected ROI from government conferences boils down to one simple problem that you can fix before your next event. It’s called a Call to Action or CTA. A call to action is simply a CLEAR ACTION that you would like prospects to take. Now before I get into the steps of creating a call to action, let me be clear about something. There is such a thing as a bad CTA. So if you think you have a CTA but you aren’t getting the results you want, you may need to review the CTA to see if it’s any good.

If we can get a decent response from a blind list, we know we’re going to get a good response from people that know us.

In our business, RSM Federal, we are always testing our CTA’s with sample lists to validate conversion rates. My sample lists typically consist of 2,500 blind emails. These are people that have never heard of us. The reason I do this is that I want an unbiased review of the CTA to see what the best and worst possible responses may look like.

So let’s talk about how to craft the perfect CTA for government conferences.

1. Start with a Goal in mind

When I use the word goal here, I’m not saying: “How many sales do you want” or “How to find government contracts” or “what is your overall goal for the government conference.” I’m simply saying: What action do you want people to take when they see your CTA? What you should be thinking is: How do I get qualified people into my system / pipeline / funnel? You DON’T want raw volume here. You want qualified prospects. And the best way to do this is to have a really juicy piece of irresistible content that you are giving away.

While our model is B2B and B2G, most of our work is supporting other companies. So once or twice a year, we give away something called the Government Contractor’s Success Kit (GCSK). The kit comes with some really cool templates, a graphics pack, and a bonus video.  The rest of the year we charge for it.

When we go to government conferences, we hand out business cards with instructions on how to download the kit on the back and we offer it at the end of our sessions, webinars, and keynotes. Our goal is to generate 100+ downloads of this kit at each conference.

So why is this the main CTA that we use? Because we have tested it against several other CTA’s and it performs the best. It has the highest conversion rate from a blind subscriber to downloading the kit and it’s an easy entry point into our system. For companies that want to learn how to find government contracts, this kit provides solid value. When used in combination with other CTA tripwires, it produces amazing results. I’ll explain more about tripwires below.

2. Make it easy, but not effortless

The one CTA that I hate at government conferences and events is the old drop your card in the bowl to win a TV or something. That CTA is effortless and it puts a lot of unqualified prospects in your database. This clutters up your database. Quick bit of marketing trivia: Did you know that a single unqualified lead in your database is estimated to cost as much as $1,000 over the course of time? Think about if for a second. If you market to them just like they are qualified, you may spend $500 alone on postage, direct mail pieces, time writing emails, and phone calls. Unqualified prospects suck precious minutes out of your day that you should be spent talking to qualified prospects.

So back to my point of simplifying your CTA’s at government conferences. There are a lot of ways to fill your pipeline, both government representatives and perspective teaming partners, to help you identify how to find government contracts. We love using a handout like a business card or postcard with a link on it. This also allows you to setup custom url’s so you can track where leads come from. You can also use QR codes, setup signup stations in your booth, or use social media, to name a few.

Filling out an application or watching a demo is not easy. Don’t do that. It’s irritating.

3. Remove the risk

Before you can remove risk, you have to understand what is risky to a cold prospect. Being asked to fill out 15 fields of information (that are all mandatory) is risky. Most people are willing to give you their name and email. That’s not nearly as risky as giving out a phone number and mailing address.

Marketing at government conferences is one activity to help you identify how to find government contracts – but you still have to remove the perceived risk. So when you are asking people to fill out a form, just ask for name and email. It’s proven that this method converts the highest and it’s also proven that qualified prospects won’t typically give you their phone number and / or mailing address without having a stronger relationship with you or your company.

4. Qualify the prospect.

The easiest way to do this is to create an offer for your CTA that matches the greatest needs of your ideal prospects AND lines up with a service that you want to provide them. Back to our Government Contractor’s Success Kit as one example of how to find government contracts, or in this specific case, how to identify and qualify government contractors. Our headline on our CTA is: Win More Government Contracts. Download the Government Contractor’s Success Kit Today. This headline talks about a need of our ideal prospects. To win more government contracts. AND it ties to our services, which helps our clients learn how to find government contracts and how to win them.

Now, this doesn’t eliminate the people who can’t afford our services, but it does focus-in on people who have winning more contracts as a top priority and that gets us a step closer to qualified. Our tripwires help qualify people even further. This CTA will only attract people who want to win more contracts and it will position us as a company who can help them. How does winning a free TV qualify people? It doesn’t. It just puts business cards in a bowl.

In fact, the next time you’re looking at how to find government contracts and you’re planning marketing at one or more government conferences, how about a white-paper or case study that specifically targets government program managers? When a government decision maker or champion stops by your booth, tell them that based on your past performance, you’ve come to understand the four or five most common challenges faced by other agencies, just like theirs. You’ve written a case study called “The five most common challenges. . . [in your field] faced by federal agencies and the 9 most common solutions to those challenges.”

“If you’ll give me your card, I’ll forward the study to you.”

You only execute this CTA when you’ve confirmed it’s a government representative and potential buyer. Sure, you have to design and develop this, but what an excellent call to action AND you’re not only educating a prospect, your creating the perception that you’re a subject matter expert (SME). This is just one example.

5. Make it scalable.

Scalable equals automation and technology. I try to only use systems where people are entering their information on their phone, tablet, or computer. It’s just not feasible for me to do this any other way. That is why I love sending people to a form on our website. This allows the prospect to enter in their own information (saving me time and money) and it increases the accuracy of the data. If you have your own people inputting data, you will almost certainly have errors and lost leads.

Making the collection of information scalable also allows you to use the CTA in multiple places, which is excellent for government conferences. For us, we get to use the same CTA at our booth, while we’re walking around the event, and while we are speaking from the stage. This creates multiple collection points and this accelerates our results for how to find government contracts and the contractors who want to win them.

Another thing you want to do is integrate your marketing system with your CTA. For example, have the signup form on your website automatically add the lead to your email list (Constant Contact, MailChimp, Infusionsoft, or whatever email system you are using.) If you have an autoresponder, have the new lead assigned to the autoresponder so they get your ‘drip’ marketing.

Another reason I like having people input their own data is that it requires a little bit of effort. I want someone to go through a few hoops to get to me. Not large hoops because we know name and email is the best approach. Having prospects enter their own data shows they have interest. If you make it too easy to reach you. . . you will be bombarded with unqualified leads.

6. Add in some Tripwires

This is probably my favorite step in the process that helps us at government conferences. Tripwires are a simple and great way to engage your prospects at multiple levels and to further qualify them. The concept is very simple. Think about what you have to offer your prospects for free or even low cost and gently sprinkle that into the process of signing up for the original CTA.

Tripwires are used extensively for marketing across all industries. As soon as a prospect says, “Yes, I want that,” after entering their data, you put another CTA in front of them. You ALREADY have their contact information! Now you can place even more value in front of them.

If you sell or want to sell to the federal government, perhaps your first CTA is a case study and the second CTA is you’re willingness to have your project manager go to their office and discuss a contract with another agency that solves challenges very similar to the ones they be facing at their agency. This is just one example.

7. Measure it

Last but not least, you have to measure your CTA’s to find out what works best. I try to test 6 to 10 at a time. Obviously, this many works best online with your website or other landing pages. For government conferences, you probably only want two or three. Once I have a winner, I will often play with the headline, message body, and even the unsubscribe notice to see what converts best. Marketing is all about math and knowing your numbers.

What performs the best and what generates sales? A high conversion rate of “subscribers” may not be the right CTA for your company if it doesn’t generate revenue. In fact, you will sometimes find that a CTA with a lower upfront conversion rate may generate more sales.

For example, you will have a high conversion rate for giving out a free TV, but the odds are slim that it will generate sales for your company unless you sell TV accessories. That is why it’s so important to measure everything at every step. In our business, I not only measure the initial conversion rate, I measure the conversion rate from step to step and the overall conversion rate from lead to sale. This helps RSM Federal make marketing decisions based on data and facts instead of gut feelings.

Bonus Tip: Be Prepared to Be Patient

I get asked a lot how I became so good at marketing. My answer is simple. I try a lot of stuff and make note of what works and what doesn’t. I stop doing what doesn’t work and I ramp up what does work. It’s not a complicated formula, but the average person / business owner wants to craft the perfect CTA on the first round, “in a vacuum,” and pray that it works. That is NOT a good formula for success. If you want long-term success, create half a dozen CTA’s. Create multiple headlines for them, and test the crap out of them. That’s the formula for crafting the perfect CTA.

Need help crafting the perfect CTA for your company? Talk to us.


Michael LeJeune is a Partner and the Federal Access (FA) Program Manager at RSM Federal, a federal consulting and business-acceleration strategy firm that provides companies with the templates, processes, and strategies for winning government contracts. For more information about RSM Federal, please visit

Government Contract Awards – Where To Find Them

Government Contract Awards – Where To Find Government Contract Data

USASpending and FPDS

Government Contract Awards - Where To Find ThemOne of the great things about selling to the government is that it is fairly easy to research government contract awards and who buys what you sell. My favorite two tools for researching government contract awards are and the Federal Procurement Data System or FPDS. data primarily comes from FPDS. USASpending is MUCH easier to use than FPDS. However, FPDS has more fields of data for highly detailed searches.

You can search these tools by NAICS code (product or service you sell), agency, department, place of performance, keywords, and just over 320 other fields of data. However, none of these tools will provide what you need if you don’t know how to use Microsoft Excel and pivot tables.

The Federal Access Platform, RSM Federal’s flagship platform, includes hundreds of resources, templates, and step-by-step sales strategies. (It’s NOT a bid-matching system.) We don’t normally provide access to these resources outside of paid membership but over the last couple years, more than a dozen Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) and several of our partners said this was one of their greatest challenges in helping their clients. They asked that we make this video public.

This is a short video on basic FPDS searches, downloading data from FPDS, and step-by-step how to create and edit pivot tables. If you prefer to use USASpending, the same concepts apply and you have to know how to create pivot tables.

For advanced techniques and strategies, including advanced pivot tables and exactly what fields to search, learn more about the Federal Access Program.



Now that you’ve researched past government contract awards and you’ve crunched the government contract data, you now know who buys what you sell, how much they buy, and how often they buy it.  You can then start searching FedBizOpps (FBO) or whichever bid-matching or contract management system you use.
You’re now searching specifically for current acquisitions with the the agencies / organizations that you found in FPDS (or USASpending). You are not necessarily looking to bid on an opportunity at this stage. You are looking for intelligence on the organizations you want to sell to. and FPDS help you identify who buys what you sell, how much they buy, and how often they buy it.

What types of solicitations are your target agencies releasing? What is the average value of their solicitations? How many solicitations do they have open at a given time? What else can you learn from reviewing the opportunities in FBO? Hint: Multiple solicitations for products / services you sell means they are serious about buying those. So pay close attention to those organizations.

Calls You Should Make

Once you’ve researched government contract awards zero in on an organization you want to work with, I suggest calling the Small Business Office (OSBP /OSDBU). Every organization has an office whose job is to help YOU learn how to sell to that particular organization. In some cases, this office influences acquisitions for that organization. But remember, small business offices are a microcosm of society. Some are very good at what they do and others are not. You’ll know when you start talking to one.

For example, if a small business office is aware of an SDVOSB that can do the work they will tell the contracting officer that the solicitation should be SDVOSB instead of full and open. But this only happens if they know about your company. Here is a list of the several small business offices and their contact information. Be aware that the government is consistently changing their websites. If the link does not work, simply Google the agency you want to target with the phrase “small business office.”

The Procurement Center Representatives (PCR) and Area Directors for your geographic region can be a source of great information. PCR’s can answer specific contracting questions in their area and help you make connections to other PCR’s.

You will also want to call the contracting officers specific to the organization you want to do business with. One of the easiest ways to get this contact information is to ask the agency’s small business office or do a quick search on FBO for that organization. Solicitations on FBO will have at least one if not multiple contracting officers listed at the bottom of each solicitation.

Questions You Should Ask

This list of questions applies to discussions with the small business offices, PCR’s, and contracting officers. While this list isn’t exhaustive, it should give you a good start and help guide your discussions.

NOTE: Don’t expect everyone you call to be willing to answer all or any of these questions. It may help to just ask a few, thank the person, and then call back with additional questions.

Here’s a little trick that I’ve found to getting help from just about any government representative. When you call, say the following: “Hi there, I’m [your name] with [your company]. I was wondering if you could help me with something? [Pause – they will say yes] I’m new to government contracting. We’ve done a bit of research and it looks like your organization buys what we sell, but I have no clue where to start. Can you help me with a couple questions?” They will most likely say yes and start providing the information you need to be more competitive.

Here are several questions you can start with:

  • How does your agency procure the products / services I sell?
  • Do all acquisitions get posted to FBO?
  • For what I sell, does your agency use federal supply schedules (GSA Schedules)? If so, to what extent?
  • Do you have an approved vendor list? If so, how do I get on it?
  • Do you utilize simplified acquisitions? (Simplified Acquisition Procedures are under FAR Part 13 – up to $250,000)
  • Are there any important conferences or industry days that we should plan on attending?
  • What projects or procurements do you have on your radar for the next 6-12 months?
  • What contract vehicles do you use most often?
  • If you were me, who else should I be talking to?


Michael LeJeune is a Partner and Federal Access Program Manager at RSM Federal, a federal consulting and business-acceleration strategy firm that helps businesses in accelerating the education and processes necessary to winning government contracts. For more information, videos, and contact information, please visit