Win Government Contracts – A Case Study

A Case Study On How To Win Government Contracts

How To Win Government ContractsIf you’re like most business owners that want to learn how to win government contracts or win small business contracts, you have probably already spoken to several non-profits in your local region who are funded to help small businesses win small business contracts.

You’ve also probably already attended a handful of conferences and expos, paid for a couple of webinars, or purchased a dozen government books on how to win government contracts.

Yet, a very large number of companies fail to crack the code on how to win government contracts and increase their sales.

Last year, RSM Federal started working with a company that wanted to learn how to win government contracts. If you’ve visited, you’ve seen hundreds of testimonials and this is from one of them. However, we don’t want to impact their competitive position in the market. So for the purpose of this article, we’ll simply call this company Axim Technologies. Axim is small business and SBA 8a Certified with eight employees.

Preparing to win small business contracts

When we first started working with Axim Technologies, they were focused on commercial sales. They had a basic understanding of how to sell to the government but with little success. They spent a year working with various small business specialists but did not win any contracts.

Another of our clients told them to call us. We started working together and during the first three months, we helped Axim Technologies with the following:

  1. Two-day onsite Master Series Government Workshop tailored specifically to their company and the services they provide. Many coaching and consulting firms provide workshops on how to win government contracts.
  2. Researched and identified which government agencies buy what they sell, how much they buy, and how often they buy it. An overview of these tools is outlined in the article Government contract data – where to search.
  3. Designed and built a government marketing, prospecting, and sales strategy
  4. Developed a relationship and communication strategy
  5. Facilitated website updates with a detailed government landing page
  6. Recommended a CRM review for pipeline management
  7. Provided all of the templates, tools, and step-by-step strategies via the Federal Access platform.

The Capability Statement

Anyone that has targeted the government for three months has heard, “You need a capability statement.” It’s simply a one page marketing slick. What’s unfortunate is that most small business specialists and consultants treat the capability statement as a critical sales tool. It’s not. It’s important but your focus is not the products or services you sell. It’s communicating the value your solutions provide to your clients.

You’ll notice that a capability statement is not specifically listed in the bullets above. Yes, we helped them with their capability statement but the capability statement is a byproduct of the other marketing and sales activities. RSM Federal runs a platform called Federal Access. It has a dozen templates for your capability statement. Don’t pay a consultant hundreds of dollars to do it for you.

All of the above activities included dozens of sub-activities but that’s not the focus of today’s article. What’s important are the results and how the integration of the above activities were designed to achieve success.

First we’ll outline the results and then we’ll discuss how the integration of these activities opened new doors and provided competitive advantage.

The results

  • Built a government sales strategy based on who buys their solutions, how often they buy, and how much they spend.
  • A government sales strategy that included a list of companies with prior government contracts for teaming.
  • The sales strategy included:
    • Target list for government agencies and government teaming partners;
    • How to communicate value, differentiation, and commercial and / or government past performance;
    • How to price and differentiate their proposals.
  • Developed a prospecting plan that focused on pre-acquisition (before RFPs or RFQs are released).
  • Developed new messaging to communicate expertise in the federal market and their industry that provided a solid perception of maturity, expertise, and trust.
  • In the first eight months they exceeded their annual quota by 43%.
    • Awarded two contracts with the Department of Veterans Affairs, their largest federal contracts to date.
    • Awarded a contract with the Department of Defense.
    • Joined a team that was awarded a $5 Billion government multiple award contract (MAC).

In little more than six months after initiating their sales strategies, how did Axim Technologies win these these large and small business contracts?

How to win government contracts

Axim Technologies did not simply go to their local small business specialist to learn “how to sell” to the government to win small business contracts. They stopped responding to every RFP or RFQ they saw on FedBizOpps and did not overly rely on the emails they received every morning from their bid-matching system.

These are the reasons why so many companies fail to successfully win small business contracts. Yet, this is exactly what most companies are told to do.

Most companies have great solutions. The problem is that they don’t understand the market, don’t have the necessary strategies, and are unable to “apply what they’ve learned.”

Unlike most companies, Axim Technologies focused on business strategies, not bid-matching systems or capability statements, to win government contracts.

If it were as simple as meeting with a small business specialist or searching Google, everyone would successfully win government contracts.

Successful companies immerse themselves in understanding the market and picking the right strategies to differentiate and communicate competitive advantage.

What Axim Technologies learned in the workshop was streamlined and built into their business development activities. Axim Technologies’ value and the strategies they utilized were integrated across their public-facing tools and platforms. This only took two months to implement.

Before Axim Technologies took these steps, the president of the company set a sales quota of $300,000 for government sales. It was RSM Federal’s responsibility to help them get there. Government sales was still a new concept.

In the first eight months, they won $430,000 in government contracts.

While other companies sell what they sell, the approach to how they differentiated and communicated their value was more important.

It’s more than simply creating a government capability statement, updating your website, having a government landing page, or writing proposals. Success is based on how you communicate the value that your products or services provide.

Contacted by Department of Veterans Affairs

Three months ago, the Department of Veterans Affairs reached out to Axim about two small business contracts. We strategized on how to position and win these opportunities.

Although the incumbent had performed outstanding work, the acquisition strategy did not allow the incumbent to compete for the follow-on contracts.

We called the incumbent (who was less than thrilled to hear from us). However, we developed a strategy that proved to be successful and mutually beneficial. When Axim Technologies negotiated with the incumbent, they provided a win-win solution.

Axim Technologies was willing to give-up revenue that most companies would never consider. However, it guaranteed an exclusive teaming agreement. The competition lost access to the incumbent.  Axim won both small business contracts.

In this case, it’s less about what you sell and more about how you position with the government and with your teaming partners.

How did the government contracting officer know to call Axim Technologies? Axim had been talking to the government for the past three months as part of their sales strategy.

Contacted by a NASA SEWP Prime Contractor

In 2018 an incumbent NASA SEWP contractor, one of only 45 primes (there are now 143) on the contract, reached out to Axim. SEWP was being recompeted. There was a requirement in the RFP that was new and the prime needed to add a new subcontractor to the team.

Why did they contact Axim Technologies? Because Axim’s website communicated a mature understanding of the federal market. That was the start. That same day, a conference call was scheduled and the very first question Axim asked was “Are you formally asking us to be a sub-contractor on SEWP?” They said yes.

Within 24 hours, the two companies signed a teaming agreement for one of the largest GWACs in the government market. Their website and how it differentiated Axim’s value was critical.

The ability to communicate in government terms was critical. When they asked Axim if they had the capability to do the work, the answer was more than yes. . . it was “of course. It’s very similar to work we did for a commercial client last month.

It’s more than simply what you sell. It’s how you position. You need to communicate actual and perceived maturity as an organization. The team that Axim joined won the contract and is now competing on task orders.

Why did the prime contractor look at Axim’s website? They were doing due diligence on potential teaming partners because Axim had already reached out to them. It was part of their teaming strategy. That’s how you win government contracts.

Educate Yourself Beyond The ‘Basics’

There are many companies that understand the basics of winning small business contracts, attend a few government events and webinars, and still “don’t know what they don’t know. . .

It’s less about what you sell and more about how you position with the government and your teaming partners.

The most important thing you can do to learn how to win government contracts is to educate yourself. You need to go beyond the basic “how to do business with the government.”

The basics of selling to the government are provided by hundreds of organizations, many of which are free services. They all provide solid value. Selling to the government and giving yourself a higher than average chance for success requires more than a basic understanding.

An Insiders Guide To Winning Government Contracts

If you really want to understand how to approach government sales, Joshua Frank wrote the Amazon #1 Bestselling book “An Insider’s Guide to Winning Government Contracts – Real World Strategies, Lessons, and Recommendations. Reviewed by small and large business owners, government contracting officers, and small business specialists, you will learn how to bridge business strategy with business development strategy. Available on Amazon.

Education is a common business paradigm regardless of market or industry. It requires immersion and utilization of proven techniques and strategies. These include prospecting and sales, marketing, teaming, proposal development, and back-office operations.

If you want to see all the templates and sales strategies that Axim tailored for their business, you want to take a look at Federal Access.

It starts with the owner. It comes down to business acumen. If you become a student of government sales, you’re likelihood of learning how to win government contracts will be much higher. When you wonder how companies win government contracts. . . now you know. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to talk to us.


We can help you win more business

If you’re not sure what direction to go
– or –
you know exactly what you need, let’s talk.


Talk To Us


Joshua Frank is the Founder and Managing Partner of RSM Federal, a government coaching and business-acceleration strategy firm that represents small and large businesses in accelerating the education and processes necessary to win government contracts. For more information and videos about RSM Federal, please visit

SBA Small Business Goals

SBA Small Business Goals

SBA Small Business Goals

Which agencies focus on hitting Small Business Goals?

SBA Small Business Goals
Most companies look at the current year or previous year and ask themselves, “Which agencies use my socio-economic status?” RSM Federal recommends that you look at this from a multi-year perspective; to see trends in the market for the respective agencies. These tables contain the major agencies as tracked by SBA.

But important point – just because an agency didn’t meet their percentage, doesn’t mean they have failed to support small business. For example, in 2017, DoD hit 22.5% of it’s overall small business goal. It’s red because the goal is 23%. Yes, they missed their target by .5% but that’s still more than $50 Billion that went to small businesses!

Clearly DoD works with small business. So don’t simply take the results from the SBA Small Business Goals and make a decision. Use this information in combination with the agency’s propensity (for what you sell – who buys, how much to do they buy, and how often do they buy it) before identifying which agencies should be on your annual target list.

To pull and consolidate this data into a usable format takes a true masochist (or someone with passion and patience 🙂

Small Business Goals

sba small business goals 2007 to current


Woman Owned Small Business Goals

sba wosb goals 2007 to current


8(a) Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Goals

sba 8a minority goals 2007 to current


The Government Sales Manual

Book on Government Sales - How To Sell To The Government


Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business Goals

sba sdvosb goals 2007 to current


Veteran Owned Small Business Goals

sba vosb goals 2007 to current


HUBZone Small Business Goals

sba hubzone goals 2007 to current


We can help you win more business

If you’re not sure what direction to go
– or –
you know exactly what you need, let’s talk.


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